Creative Writing Activities and Games

Here's a collection of creative writing activities that can be used in a classroom or by a writing group. These activities are suitable for a wide range of ages, from middle school to adult.

1) Free-writing:

Free-writing is good as a warm-up exercise and as a strategy for overcoming fear or writer's block. Set a short time limit in advance (10 minutes maximum) and have students write continuously during this time. The goal during this time is not to write well, but to keep the pen moving and not to stop until the time is up.

Students should be assured ahead of time that the free-writing is for their benefit only and will not be collected or shared with the group. If they are at a loss for what to write, then they can write "I don't know what to write" over and over until something else occurs to them.

You might choose to put music on in the background during the free-writing session. Some variations might be free-writing around a particular topic or prompt. You could distribute photographs cut out of magazines before the free-writing session so that students can use them for inspiration.

2) Group stories:

Every student writes the first line of a story, then passes the paper to the student on his/her left. For five minutes, each student continues working on the story that he/she has received, then passes it to the left again when the time is up. The process can continue for several more rounds, depending on the amount of class time available. At the end, students read out loud the group stories produced. The same exercise can be used to write group poems, allotting shorter intervals of time before the poem is passed.

3) Found poetry treasure hunt:

After introducing students to the concept of found poetry (see http://www.creative-writing-now.com/found-poetry.html), bring to class a stack of newspapers and magazines. Let students scour them for material and use them to create found poems.

4) Class blog:

It's easy to set up a class blog where students can have the experience of publishing their creative writing. Blogger.com and Wordpress.com both allow you to set up blogs for free.

Decide if you want to allow or disable blog comments. If you permit commenting, it's very important to review the comments submitted and ensure a positive tone. Wordpress also offers the option of password-protecting the blog so that you can keep outsiders from accessing it.

5) Criticism-free sharing:

Group critiques can discourage beginners and young writers; a criticism-free sharing session is an excellent alternative. Students read their writing out loud to the class, which is instructed NOT to respond with criticism. Instead, the class is asked afterward to name some of the most memorable or interesting parts of the piece that was shared. The students who have shared their work feel "listened to" and motivated and get some feedback on which aspects of their writing have impact.

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