“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”
– C. J. Cherryh

100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises

Want to become a better writer? Perhaps you want to write novels, or maybe you just want to get better grades in your essay writing assignments, or maybe you’d like to start a popular blog.

If you want to write better, you need practice. But what does a writing practice actually look like? In this post, I’m going to give you everything you need to kick off your writing practice and become a better writer faster.

100 Top Writing Practice Lessons and Exercises

How Do You Practice Writing?

This was the question I had when I first started The Write Practice in 2011. I knew how to practice a sport and how to practice playing an instrument. But for some reason, even after studying it in college, I wasn’t sure how to practice writing.

I set out to create the best writing practice I could. The Write Practice is the result.

I found that the best writing practice has three aspects:

Deliberate. Writing whatever you feel like may be cathartic, but it’s not an effective way to become a better writer. You’ll get better faster by instead practicing a specific technique or aspect of the writing process each time you sit down to write.

This is why we have a new lesson about the writing process each day on The Write Practice, followed by a practice prompt at the end so you can put what you learned to use immediately.

Timed. It’s no secret writers struggle with focus. There are just too many interesting distractions—Facebook, email, Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed (just kidding about that last one, sort of)—and writing is just too hard sometimes.

Setting a timer, even for just fifteen minutes, is an easy and effective way to stay focused on what’s important.

This is why in our writing practice prompt at the end of each post we have a time limit, usually with a link to an online egg timer, so you can focus on deliberate practice without getting distracted.

Feedback. Getting feedback is one of the requirements to deliberately practice writing or any other craft. Feedback can look like listening to the reactions of your readers or asking for constructive criticism from editors and other writers.

This is why we ask you to post your writing practice in the comments section after each lesson, so that you can get feedback from other writers in The Write Practice community. It’s also why we set up the Becoming Writer community, to provide critique groups for writers to get feedback on their finished writing pieces.

How to practice writing

Our 100+ Best Writing Practice Exercises and Lessons

Now that you know how we practice writing at The Write Practice, here are our best writing practice exercises and lessons:

All-Time, Top 10 Writing Lessons and Exercises

These ten posts are our most viewed articles to boost your writing practice:

1. How To Use Neither, Nor, Or, and Nor Correctly. Even good writers struggle figuring out when to use neither/nor and either/or. In this, the most popular post on The Write Practice, our copy-queen Liz Bureman settles the confusion once and for all. Click to continue to the writing exercise

2. Do You Use Quotation Marks or Italics for Song and Album Titles? The wrong punctuation can make any writer look silly. If you’ve ever been confused about whether to use quotes or italics for song titles and album titles, this post will clear things up. Click to continue to the writing exercise

3. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories. How does Pixar manage to create such great stories, year after year? And how do you write a good story? In this post, I distill everything I’ve learned about how to write a good story into ten tips. Click to continue to the writing exercise

4. How To Use an Ellipsis… Correctly. Judging by my Facebook feed, most people are using ellipses incorrectly, or at least overusing them. Here’s how to use those trio of periods correctly in your writing. Click to continue to the writing exercise

5. 35 Questions To Ask Your Characters From Marcel Proust. To get to know my characters better, I use a list of questions known as the Proust Questionnaire, made famous by French author, Marcel Proust. Click to continue to the writing exercise

6. How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel-Writing Life. Creating a scene list changed my novel-writing life, and doing the same will change yours too. Includes examples of the scene lists from famous authors. Click to continue to the writing exercise

7. Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma. Most people I’ve met have no idea what the Oxford comma is, but it’s probably something that you have used frequently in your writing. Click to continue to the writing exercise

8. How to Conduct an Interview Like a Journalist. The interview is the most-used tool in a journalist’s bag. But that doesn’t mean novelists, bloggers, and even students can’t and don’t interview people. Here’s how to conduct a great interview. Click to continue to the writing exercise

9. Why You Should Try Writing in Second Person. You’ve probably used first person and third person point-of-view already. But what about second person? This post explains three reasons why you should try writing from this point-of-view. Click to continue to the writing exercise

10. The Secret to Show, Don’t Tell. You’ve heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don’t Tell.” Every writing blog ever has talked about it, and for good reason. Showing, for some reason, is really difficult. Click to continue to the writing exercise

12 Exercises and Lessons To Become a Better Writer

How do you become a better writer? These posts share our best advice:

  1. Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words
  2. What I Mean When I Say I Am A Writer
  3. How to Become a Writer: 3 Simple Steps
  4. 72% of Writers Struggle With THIS
  5. 7 Lies About Becoming a Writer That You Probably Believe
  6. 10 Questions to Find Your Unique Writing Voice
  7. The Best Writing Book I’ve Ever Read
  8. The Best Way to Become a Better Writer
  9. The Creative Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Tools You Can’t Write Without
  10. Should You Write More or Write Better: Quantity vs Quality
  11. How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step
  12. 11 Writing Tips That Will Change Your Life

6 Lessons and Exercises from Great Writers

If you want to be a writer, learn from the great writers who have gone before you:

  1. 23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway About Writing
  2. 29 Quotes that Explain How to Become a Better Writer
  3. 10 Lessons Dr. Seuss Can Teach Writers
  4. 10 Writing Tips from Ursula Le Guin
  5. Once Upon a Time: Pixar Prompt
  6. All the Pretty Words: Writing In the Style of Cormac McCarthy

12 Genre and Format Specific Writing Lessons and Exercises

Here are our best writing lessons for specific types of writing, including essays, screenplays, memoir, short stories, children’s books, and humor writing:

  1. Writing an Essay? Here Are 10 Effective Tips
  2. How To Write a Screenplay: The 5 Step Process
  3. 3 Rules to Write World-Changing Memoir
  4. How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish
  5. How to Write a Memoir Short Story
  6. What Makes a Good Children’s Book?
  7. Four Commandments to Writing Funny
  8. How to Write a Story a Week: A Day-by-Day Guide
  9. 4 Reasons to Write Short Stories
  10. 5 Key Elements for Successful Short Stories
  11. 4 Tips to Write a Novel That Will Be Adapted Into a Movie
  12. Humor Writing for People Who Aren’t Funny

14 Characterization Lessons and Exercises

Good characters are the foundation of good fiction. Here are our best lessons to create better characters:

  1. Harry Potter and the Three Types of Heroes
  2. Writing Villains: 9 Evil Examples of the Villain Archetype
  3. How NOT to Introduce a New Character
  4. The Strongest Form of Characterization
  5. The Most Important Character Archetype
  6. How Do You Build A Strong Character In Your Writing?
  7. 5 Types of Anti-Heroes
  8. How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations
  9. 8 Tips for Naming Characters
  10. The Protagonist: How to Center Your Story
  11. Heroes vs. Anti-Heroes: Which Is Right For Your Story?
  12. The Weakest Form of Characterization
  13. How to Write With an Accent
  14. How To Create a Character Sketch Using Scrivener

15 Grammar Lessons and Exercises

I talk to so many writers, some of whom are published authors, who struggle with grammar. Here are our best writing lessons on grammar:

  1. Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?
  2. Contractions List: When To Use and When To Avoid
  3. Good vs. Well
  4. Connotation vs. Denotation
  5. Per Se vs. Per Say
  6. When You SHOULD Use Passive Voice
  7. When Do You Use “Quotation Marks”
  8. Polysyndeton and Asyndeton: Definition and Examples
  9. The Case Against Twilight
  10. Affect Versus Effect
  11. Stop Saying “Literally”
  12. What Is a Comma Splice? And Why Do Editors Hate Them?
  13. Intra vs. Inter: Why No One Plays Intermural Sports
  14. Alright and Alot: Words That Are Not Words
  15. The Poor, Misunderstood Semicolon

4 Journalism Lessons and Exercises

Want to be a journalist? Or even use techniques from journalism to improve your novel, essay, or screenplay? Here are our best writing lessons on journalism:

  1. Six Ways to Ask Better Questions In Interviews
  2. How Should You Interview Someone? Over Email? In Person?
  3. What If They Don’t Want to Talk to You?
  4. Eleven Habits of a Highly Effective Interviewers

16 Plot and Story Lessons and Exercises

Want to write a good story? Our top plot and story lessons will help:

  1. Tragedy
  2. Comedy
  3. The Quest
  4. 7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel
  5. The Secret to Creating Conflict
  6. 4 Tips to Avoid Having Your Short Story Rejected by a Literary Magazine
  7. 7 Steps to Creating Suspense
  8. 5 Elements of Storytelling
  9. 3 Important Rules for Writing Endings
  10. A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure
  11. Overcoming the Monster
  12. How to Satisfy Your Reader With a Great Ending
  13. Pow! Boom! Ka-Pow! 5 Tips to Write Fight Scenes
  14. The Dramatic Question and Suspense in Fiction
  15. How to Write a Memorable Beginning and Ending
  16. How to Write the Perfect First Page

6 Lessons and Exercises to Beat Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is real, and it can completely derail your writing. Here are six lessons to get writing again:

  1. How To Write Whether You Feel Like it Or Not
  2. This Fun Creative Writing Exercise Will Change Your Life
  3. When You Should Be Writing But Can’t…
  4. What to do When Your Word Count is Too Low
  5. 7 Tricks to Write More with Less Willpower
  6. When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities

7 Literary Technique Lessons and Exercises

These writing and storytelling techniques will teach you a few tricks of the trade you may not have discovered before:

  1. 3 Tips to “Show, Don’t Tell” Emotions and Moods
  2. 3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative
  3. 16 Observations About Real Dialogue
  4. Intertextuality As A Literary Device
  5. Why You Should Use Symbolism In Your Writing
  6. 6 Ways to Evoke Emotion in Poetry and Prose
  7. 3 Tips To Write Modern Allegorical Novels
  8. Symbol vs. Motif: What’s the Difference

3 Inspirational Writing Lessons and Exercises

Need some inspiration? Here are three of our most inspiring posts:

  1. Why We Write: Four Reasons
  2. You Must Remember Every Scar
  3. 17 Reasons to Write Something NOW

3 Publishing Blogging Lessons and Exercises

If you want to get published, these three lessons will help:

  1. The Secret to Writing On Your Blog Every Day
  2. How to Publish Your Book and Sell Your First 1,000 Copies
  3. How to Get Published in Literary Magazines

11 Writing Prompts

Need inspiration or just a kick in the pants to write. Try one of our top writing prompts:

  1. Grandfathers [writing prompt]
  2. Out of Place [writing prompt]
  3. Sleepless [writing prompt]
  4. Longing [writing prompt]
  5. Write About Yourself [writing prompt]
  6. 3 Reasons You Should Write Ghost Stories
  7. Road Trip [writing prompt]
  8. Morning [writing prompt]
  9. The Beach [writing prompt]
  10. Fall [writing prompt]
  11. How to Use Six-Word Stories As Writing Prompts

Is It Time To Begin Your Writing Practice?

It’s clear that if you want to become a writer, you need to practice writing. We’ve created a proven process to practice your writing at The Write Practice, but even if you don’t join our community, I hope you’ll start practicing in some way today.

Personally, I waited far too long to start practicing and it set my writing back years.

How about you? Do you think practicing writing is important? Let me know in the comments section.

PRACTICE

Choose one of the writing practice posts above. Then, read the lesson and participate in the writing exercise, posting your work in the comments section of that post. And if you post, please give feedback to your fellow writers who also posted their practices.

Have fun and happy practicing!

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • Kristen

    You have THE BEST content for writing on this blog!!

    • Thank you, Kristen. This made my morning. 🙂

  • Love it!

  • George McNeese

    I can’t remember when I started following this website. I have to look in my notebooks because that’s where I did these practices. I didn’t have access to a computer when I did them, so I wrote them out, setting the time limit. But even when I do get to a computer, I have my reservations about putting my practices on the page. even though it’s practice, I want them to be the best, almost perfect. But I know it won’t be. I’ve gotten feedback before that says so. It still gets to me that I didn’t put something together that not everyone liked. I need to get over it. After all, that is what these practices are about: to learn and improve on our craft.

    • I don’t know either, George, but it’s been several years. Perfectionism is something so many of us face, and it’s made worse when you don’t have a critique community as warm and encouraging as ours is. I hope you and everyone here are always willing to try something new, even if it comes out a little messed up, because you know we’ll support you and try to make you better.

  • Elizabeth Varadan

    What a great share! Thanks so much!

    • You’re so welcome, Elizabeth. Thank you for commenting.

  • Patience

    when I ran writing classes I wrote. when I am “a member of writing classes” the teacher/leader/facilitator is NOT MY AUDIENCE and so I don’t write as well/as much. I don’t get the feedback I need from fellow students because most of them have never run their own writing projects/workshops. So many people expect you to write their story for them. I’ve actually got quite a few stories of me own. I have finally decided I like owning them. 😉

    • It sounds like you need a new critique group, Patience! Hope you can find a place where you get the feedback you need.

  • Wow! Terrific round-up of resources. 🙂

  • Practice is necessary, period. It doesn’t matter what you want to learn. If you want to improve, practice is vital.

    It’s odd. I’ve known and applied that principle for years on a variety of things. Painting. Drawing. Blogging. Gardening. Laundry.

    But never writing.

    Like you, I had the notion that just writing every day was all it took to improve. Why not the same level of dedication to writing?

    Perhaps it’s time to change that!

    • I can relate, Carrie. It’s easy to confuse the craft of writing with journaling, thinking that you can just write whatever you feel like and you’ll get better, write something worth reading. The truth is that writing interesting things to read is a skill, but the good news is that you can get better at it with practice. Thanks for practicing with us! 🙂

  • I love these suggestions , and have set Writing Practice as my homepage so the first 15 minutes of my day is spent writing, whether its a practice or exercise here or another that is sprinkled through out this site, Thank you for all you do everyone here at The Write Practice

    • marlita

      This is great Debra. I want to write the first 15 minutes of my day too!

      • Do it!

      • I agree with Joe, Do it. Could be your to do list… ( that could lead to something else story wse later)

    • I love that, Debra. Such a good way to start your day.

  • Hyacinth Fidelis Joaquin

    The best! Thank you so much for this.

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  • nobody geek

    I simply LOVE all the tips and suggestions given on this blog. They are super helpful!

    • THANK you. We love sharing them with you. 🙂

  • Hi! You forgot the link to How to Write a Story a Week: A Day-by-Day Guide.

    Thanks a lot for your work! This post is amazing.

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  • Harsh Rathour

    Wow!! There are so many exercises…. I just love it..! I am gonna really enjoy it..!

    • Awesome! Thank you for reading and practicing with us. 🙂

  • Macau Mum

    I only read halfway , My tootie is jumping all over me, and typing this is a struggle when a 3yr old wants his Toy Story movie on Youtube in this computer. Thank you for this article, will come back later to finish reading.

  • Beth

    Can’t wait to get stuck in with this! 🙂

  • LaCresha Lawson

    Very helpful! Thank you!

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  • strictlynoelephant

    I’ve just bookmarked this page. Thanks for this wonderful list.

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  • fireandparchment

    This is awesome! So many helpful tips. I will be coming back to this often. Thanks for posting this!

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  • Jessica M

    Wow, so many goodies! Thank you for always providing such amazing content!!

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  • Jacqueline Nicole

    I have enjoyed all these articles. Thank you for the help an inspiration to get my writing on its way. My creativity is boosting with confidence. Tootle loo.

  • Emmanuel Ajayi Adigun

    Amazing contents for beginners like me Joe. I am highly inspired by your commitment. Thank you.

  • LaCresha Lawson

    Hey, thanks!

  • Sondra

    Although I have only read half of thisc article, the practice exercises are excellent. Some of them are exactly what a beginning writer like myself needs. I am committing to at least try ALL of them.
    Thanks Joe!!

  • Kbee E. Betancourt

    very helpful! thank you..

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  • Amazing articles! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • The Black Hearth

    My god this article made me love this site . You know it’s kinda hard for a beginner writer, who don’t know where to start and fixing goals, even samll ones give us a direction . A place to go , an aim for our creativity so thanks you , this community and this site. Love you all . At your pens ! 😉

  • carmelle

    Wow. This is great. I find all your posts informative, but this one is the best for me to use as a guide to get my self starting to write….Thank you.

  • aurora1920

    I’m an old lady who wants to publish one more book before I die — have published several, all non-fiction, and done two under contract to a major publisher (reference books).
    So help me, the BIGGEST problem I have all along, is keeping track of the damned paper work and research that goes into a book!!! Yet I never ever see articles on something as simple as “How to file” — Oh I know, there’s wonderful software these days so probably I will never find a way to get paper organized — everybody will use software and do it on the computer. I’m too old for that — just one look at the learning curve for software, even putting the damned stuff into computer files is even MORE frustrating than paper!!
    Oh well, somehow I managed in the past to get books published, I may be able to do it one more time.

  • Hamzah Ramadan

    you enjoy writing more than anything else and you do indeed care to help others write. I love writing but translation from Arabic into English and English into Arabic is taking all of my time from the early hours of the morning till the evening. I will soon get all of your books in order to read them as soon as possible. One thing I am sure of. You know what you are doing very well. Hamzah

  • Dusan

    Excellent! Many useful tips. Many thanks!