10 Minute Writing Exercise

There are times as a writer when I go to sit down to work on a current WIP (work in progress), that I find myself having a hard time getting a start on my words. One thing that I personally find extremely helpful is the ten minute writing exercise. Basically it’s when you set a timer for ten minutes and type out your subconscious in a stream. No worries of breaks, grammar, or anything. You just focus on writing out whatever crosses your mind for a whole ten minutes. Even if what crosses your mind is a random statement of “this is really dumb, but I’m going to do it anyways to see what happens”. There is no worry of grammar, line breaks, or anything. It’s just pushing your creative self to get into a flow of writing (or typing) out words.

Personally I find this to be really helpful when I just have that moment when the words won’t flow through me like I want them to. I also like to take a little spin on this sometimes and find a random creative writing prompt to use verses just letting the words fall from my subconscious. I find using a prompt can ignite that inner creative writer in me. So for the sake of this post I went on google and found an interesting prompt.

“You’re a detective on your city’s police force. A dead body has been left on your station’s steps. The body looks exactly like you.”

What I do is examine the prompt for a moment and let it sink in a little; before I set my timer and let the words rip. So with this particular prompt, here’s what I got typed out in ten minutes time.

“You’re not going to believe this.” One of the young officers at the station approached me with wide eyes. He looked like he had seen a ghost. “Not believe what?” I questioned. I may have snapped the question. It was already a rough day trying to close a case that just didn’t seem to have all it’s answers. And now here I was face to face with this young officer who was wide eyed like a dear caught in the headlights. He cleared his throat and shook his head. “On the steps…outside…” his words were slow and rather than question him I looked the direction of our entrance. A lot of officers were suddenly running and huddling around. I felt a certain stir on the inside and made my way to see what the commotion was about. “A body!” I heard one of them yell to another as they approached the steps. “Holy crap it looks just like-“ another began, but the words cut off as soon as they saw me in the doorway. “What’s going on?” I asked. Many of them turned to look at me, all with that deer in the headlights kind of stare. Pale faces and heads that shook in disbelief. “What’s going on?” I repeated myself which was annoying. I hated repeating myself and most of these idiots knew that. Instead of waiting for an answer again I moved past the crowd and saw for myself. Right there before my very own eyes was me, lying dead on the steps of the station. I gasped and held my breath as I could feel my heart begin to race. I shook my head and surely must have shared a similar expression to my colleagues. “What the hell is this?!” I demanded from them, but nobody answered. Crime scene investigators were already arriving and a crowd of people, locals, began to gather around to see why all these officers were suddenly out of the station. I could only hope that nobody could see the body of me. the dead body that looked just like me. My eyes blinked as I looked to it. to her, laying there. I didn’t want to accept what I was seeing. Clearly it’s been a long day and my mind was playing tricks on me. Or so I wanted to believe, but as I looked around me and saw the faces of the others I knew they were seeing what I was. After all they kept looking back and forth between her and me. Comparing everything no doubt. Everything right down to a T. It was insanity. “Is this is a joke?” I asked out loud to no answer which infuriated me. “Is this a damn joke?!” I questioned louder, firmer, with as much authority in my voice as I could muster. I wasn’t one for jokes, especially not the ‘hey here’s a dead body that looks just like you’ variety. “You’ve got to be kidding me here people. Get this out of here!” I began to raise my voice when I felt the hand of my partner on my shoulder. “Let’s get you out of here.” he stated as calmly as he could. I could tell he was pretty shook too, because as I turned to look at him he too had that ghostly sighting expression on his face as he tried not to glance back to the dead body that looked just like me. “Who is that? Why do they look like me?” I questioned him. Before he could open his mouth though I found myself pushing him away and bounding back into the station. I felt nauseated. I was going to be sick, real sick, and real fast. I ran through the station to the nearest bathroom. Threw open the door and aimed right for a stall making it just in time. This is a damn nightmare. I thought to myself. I can’t be dead. I’m not dead. I’m right here. My stomach twisted and knotted and I reached a hand to flush down the first round. Staying in the stall I leaned against the wall of it closing my eyes. My head was spinning, this couldn’t be real.

Word counts can vary during this exercise, as this time around I got an even 700 words in ten minutes time. I assure you though there have been plenty of times I’ve gotten out less or more. It’s really not about the word count itself as it’s just allowing me the free falling of words from my subconscious in response to the writing prompt I opted to go with. There are grammar mistakes, a type-o or two, and I’m sure plenty that could use editing/tightening up. However the point of the exercise is to get the creative juices flowing and now I definitely feel ready to get back to work on my WIP.

I’m not saying this is going to work for everyone, but this is a writing tip that I feel confident in giving as it always seems to work really well for me as a writer.

What’s something that you use to get your creative flow in check? Have you ever done a version of this ten minute exercise? Let me know in the comments below.

Jane Ridgewood

8 thoughts on “10 Minute Writing Exercise

  1. Hey! This is a great way to get over writer’s block. Sometimes, when I just can’t find a topic to write on, I go to my bookshelf, take a random book, open a page, randomly and read the first complete sentence. It doesn’t always work for me but one of the writing exercises I opt for.
    Wow! You wrote an impressive short story in just 10 minutes. Thanks for sharing this tip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😀 That’s the thing I love about this exercise, it really gets the creative juices flowing! Also, I actually have been considering possibly using what I got from my example to expand on and write a short story.


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