Ten Minute Writing Exercises

Hawthorne treesIt is never easy to face the blank page and writing exercises are a great way to get you past that and into your writing stride. We don’t always have as much time as we would like so ten minute writing exercises are a fast, efficient way to stimulate your creativity. If you truly want to write more productively and are willing to work towards this, then you are in the right place.

I personally love writing and I hope I can inspire you to feel the same. Writing takes practice, lots and lots of practice. Exercises are a great way to  practice and developing a regular writing exercise routine is the most useful thing you can do to improve your writing and increase your creativity.


To start with the best thing to do is to make a commitment to carry out some writing exercises each week. Decide for yourself which days and what times suit you best.

Remember the golden hour – some people writer better at dawn and others late at night. Experiment and see what time suits you. The following exercises are short although you can make them longer if you like.


There are ten exercises below and each one comprises a simple set of three questions. Each one should be answered as quickly as you can. Don’t stop and think just start writing and keep going.

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – only ideas. It is up to you to decide whether the ideas appeal to you enough to make you want to develop them further. I suggest trying them all and see what happens. At this stage it is best to view your writing as an experiment and you should enjoy it.

Exercises can be crucial in helping writers develop and improve their work. No writer will improve by sitting thinking about it, or waiting for the muse to arrive.

I strongly advise doing some writing exercises regularly and you will find plenty of fun, stimulating and challenging exercises in my new book, Practical Creative Writing Exercises.

Practical Creative Exercises written for writers who want to become more focused, become more versatile and improve their writing.

The exercises in this book will enable you to become really immersed in your writing – to let time go and experience the joys of creative writing flow.

If you are looking for exciting new ideas, want to experience the joy of losing yourself in creativity, or just want to be inspired, then this is the book for you. In the meantime be sure and try the free exercises below and remember – don’t waste too much time thinking – just go ahead and write.



1. Who is coming round the corner?

2. What is their secret?

3. What are they carrying?


1. Why did Peter lose his temper with Joanna

2. Where did he go after he stormed out?

3. What happened to him when he got there?


1. Who has found something at the back of the wardrobe?

2. What have they found?

3. What will they do next?


1. Who cheated John?

2. What did they cheat him at?

3. Will John do something?


1. What building can you see Rose leaving?

2. What is she wearing?

3. Where is she going?


1. Why is Ian finding it difficult to steer the car?

2. Where is he going?

3. Who is there?


1. Where did the accident happen?

2. Who was hurt?

3. Who helped?


1. The view is blocked by?

2. Whose view is blocked?

3. If the view wasn’t blocked what would they see?


1. Who closes the window?

2. Why?

3. How old are they?


1. Who is Jenny?

2. How tall is she?

3. Why is she alone?

Best of luck


P.S. I love encouraging people to write and all the exercises and information on this site is provided free of charge.

All I ask is that if you found this useful or helpful, that you like, share or comment.  I love hearing from you and I always reply.


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50 Responses to Ten Minute Writing Exercises

  1. jenny tighe April 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. i ultimately would like to write a romance novel. This has helped me greatly pay attention to detail, what was she wearing? iin the back of the wardrobe. etc. Thank you so much. It is greatly appreciated, and when I finally finish my novel, I will send you a copy.

    • Grace April 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      Hi Jenny,
      I am so glad you liked it. Best of luck with your romance novel – keep writing!

  2. Layaly May 7, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Hey Grace,

    The exercise it was great because… it kind open the way for me to do scenes that in themselves hint to feelings or states of mind, without necessarily have to speak explicitly about them in words. And the flow was great, and the answers so diverse. The questions made me realize that in me there is so much i can write about and so much that i know… Many thanks for that!

    • Grace May 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Hi Layaly
      I am so glad the exercise helped you and it is especially good to hear it helped with ‘flow!’ Thanks for commenting and best of luck with your writing.

  3. Kathleen August 19, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Hi Grace,

    I’m just getting back into writing and these exercises are a great way to write without any attachment to the outcome. I love the freedom of the exercise. Just to write for ten minutes and see what happens.

    I have been going through the exercises with a writing buddy. We decide which one we both want to tackle and then time ourselves. It’s great to read the results to each other and see how the same questions can inspire wildly differing stories.

    We are having a blast!


    • Grace August 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      Hi Kathleen,
      I am so glad you are enjoying the exercises – it’s fun to do them with a friend too. Keep it up. I am looking forward to hearing from you again to let me know how you are getting on.
      Best wishes, Grace.

  4. John August 25, 2014 at 1:46 am #

    Hey, I’m really grateful for these exercises. They help so much, I really find ideas flowing to me when I start one.

    • Grace August 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      Glad to hear it. Best of luck with your work.

  5. Antonio Grillo November 19, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    An original post. I’ll keep it as a favorite

    • Grace November 19, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks for your comment hope you find it useful.

  6. Der Derprinski November 21, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    I have the most outlandish answers… I think. But I know that I made myself laugh with at least three of these. But these are brilliant ways to get ideas flowing to ignite my writing lamp so I can see into the depths of my imagination to further my prowess. Thank you.

    • Grace November 25, 2014 at 1:07 am #

      So glad it helped and so glad you got to laugh as well!

      All the best

  7. Lucía M November 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    I wanted to share my lines♥ Just ’cause.. (pardon me if there’s mistakes, I’m not native English xD)

    1. Who is coming round the corner?
    There’s this girl coming around the corner, she feels lonely and misunderstood. It’s been a while since she last fell in love and it’s been really hard getting over that douchebag. She’s just there, coming and going, like there isn’t much to do, like her soul got lost a few moons ago…
    2. What is their secret?
    Her secret is, not knowing how much power she hides within herself, little by little listening to a marvelous advisers our girl started learning, taking action on this feeling crappy situation, and deep down a fire has started…and it can’t be stopped.
    3. What are they carrying?
    She carries hope; she carries music, a dancing soul and a book…a book that involves some magic for those who can see beyond words. Full with illusion she walks, waiting for that moment when she finally gets the strength to break the shell and let her beauty light up the city.

    • Grace November 25, 2014 at 1:16 am #

      Hi Lucia,
      So glad you have been inspired to write.
      Best of luck with it.

  8. Tamila November 28, 2014 at 3:07 am #

    This gives me a great opportunity to work on my writing again. Thanks so much.

    • Grace November 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      Great to hear it, Tamila – good luck with it.

  9. jason k December 9, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Great site you have here. I am a teacher and a writer too. Your advice are sound and grounded and I love your exercises. Take Care! BTW I’m from Malaysia.

    • Grace December 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Great to hear from you, Jason. I am so glad you like the exercises. All the way from Malaysia too! Isn’t it great the way the Internet allows us to connect with so many people from all over the world.
      Best wishes

  10. linda January 26, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    This will be extremely helpful for the writing challenges in our online community. Thank you.
    I can see potential for real stimulation with these by various means. Possibly an on-going write around, where one adds to the storyline of the first, then the next participant adds to that etc…
    Many to choose from.

    • Grace February 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

      Hi Linda,
      An on-going write around sounds fun – let me know how it goes.
      Best wishes,

  11. Louise February 17, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    Hi Grace
    I’m using some of your exercises for my Writers’ Circle tonight so hopefully they will generate some good writing. It’s sometimes difficult to come up with prompts the will inspire the group.
    Thanks for making these available.
    Louise 🙂

    • Grace February 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi Louise, Thanks for letting me know. Good luck to you and your writing group.

  12. Sean March 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Thank you. I sponsor a writing group in a prison. The guys who have been attending up to now are very good writers and are interested only in reading what they have written and receiving criticism. But some of them are leaving the facility and many of the new members are not confident writers. Suddenly I am in need of material for people who are not already half-way through a novel. These exercises look to be really useful.

    • Grace March 17, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

      I Sean, I am so glad you got in touch. Your work sound fascinating and I am glad to hear so many of your students are busy writing. You must be an inspiring teacher. If you let me know your email I will send you a free copy of my book ‘Practical Creative Writing Exercises’ and I would be more than happy for you to use it with your students.
      Keep in touch.

  13. Jenny March 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    Although it’s so simple I found this really helpful, I just needed a little push to get me writing some short scenarios. I particularly found the first several thought provoking. Thanks so much 🙂

    • Grace March 20, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

      So glad to have helped Jenny – the best of luck with your work and thanks for commenting.

  14. M March 22, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    I loved this. Thank you so much for suggesting these. I definitely think that half the battle with writing is getting into a constructive, routine – like you said.
    So I really appreciate the assistance!

    • Grace March 23, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Meagan, thanks for your comments – it is really encouraging to me when I hear from readers. Routine is so important.
      Best of luck with your writing.

  15. Hazell March 27, 2015 at 8:11 am #

    Asnwered few sets of questions and at the end of it all I realised I could string all the various answers into one story brought together with more plot points. Thanks for this! Very helpful!

    • Grace April 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

      Hi Hazell, thanks for commenting. I am very happy this helped you and I am interested to hear about the way you could string the various answers into one story – sounds very creative.
      Keep going and let me know how the story turns out.

  16. Emiyl May 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Thank you for providing this! i like the three-part format, and was just enough time to sneak a little writing into my lunch break.

    • Grace May 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

      You are welcome and glad you could grab some extra writing time too.
      All the best

  17. Sean July 27, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    Tonight I am taking these to the prison writing group I facilitate. the group is different every time, and these are often popular with new people who are not comfortable writing.

    • Grace July 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

      That’s great, Sean. I hope it went well with your group.
      Take Care

  18. Sam the Librarian October 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm #


    Your exercises are very helpful!
    We plan to use them along with other writing exercises during the National Novel Writing Month events we are hosting at our library (we’re giving credit to you of course).


    • Grace October 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi Sam, great to hear from you. It’s always lovely for me to hear from people so far away. I hope your National Novel Writing Event goes well. If any of your participants have any queries, or questions I will happy to help.
      Best wishes

  19. Elizabeth Rosenthal October 8, 2015 at 12:29 am #

    I completed first three of the exercises and I would like to share them. Well, here they are.

    1. A man in a dark coat is coming around the corner with a young woman. The woman seems to be terrified as she is dragged along by the tall man. She struggles even harder until finally he smacks her cheek and she falls unconsciousness. He is going to sell her to vampires and she will become a slave. In his left pocket he carries a wad of hundred dollar bills just to be safe. Most vampires could be bought.

    2. Peter couldn’t stand Joanna anymore. She was always clinging on to him and begging for jewelry and money. Finally, he snapped. On a Tuesday afternoon , Peter snarled in frustration and anger at Joanna. He told her off and said he was done. After the confrontation, Peter went to his favorite local coffee shop, muttering angry words along the way. After he had sat down, he ordered a cappuccino and took deep breaths. Calming himself down was no easy task, Joanna had really ticked him off. Suddenly the door swung open, and there stood his old high school lover, Amelia James. Soon, all his anger was forgotten as he started devising a plan to rekindle an old love.

    3. Sandra Baker quickly snatched up the little jewelry box that sat in the back of her aunt’s closet. She walked out of the close nonchalantly, and headed back towards her room. Soon after, she plopped down on her bed and excitedly examined the ancient looking box. Slowly she lifted the lid up. She winced as a loud crack came from the rusty lock that held the lid in place. Inside lay a emerald so beautiful that Sandra stared at it in awe for several minutes. Entranced, she lifted the gold chain holding the emerald and set it gently upon her neck. No one will take it. No one, Sandra thought in anger and desperation.

  20. Natalia October 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    This is a great exercise! Thank you! 🙂

    • Grace October 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

      Thanks Natalia – I am so glad you liked it.

  21. Mavis I. Carlyle December 15, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    Hey, I just waned to say that as a young high school student, I’m trying to develop my writing skills and perfect them, and your exercises have proved so fascinating and helpful. Allowing me to write with no outcome has opened realms of stories and potential plots. Thank you so much!

    • Grace December 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      Hi Mavis
      Thanks for letting me know that my exercises have helped. I hope you keep going.

  22. Jeremy December 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    Hey Grace!
    Awesome tips that I will employ from now on.
    I hate blank page syndrome 🙂
    Thank you.

    • Grace December 28, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

      Great – nice to hear from you Jeremy and hope you never get stuck in front of a blank page again!

  23. Ashley Lemire June 2, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    This was a lot of fun!! Here’s mine!

    A tall man with a dark fedora pulled over his eyes and a dingy beige coat. He knows who murdered the wife of a prominent business man. In his long arms he carries a package wrapped with old newspaper.

    Peter was enraged with Joanna because she still wasn’t able to properly set the dinner table. After he stormed out he headed down to the pub. When he opened the door Jimmy Toller, the bartender shook his head and poured him his usual.

    Dorthy Fontain pulled the stack of hundred dollar bills that were burried in the back of her lover’s wardrobe. Quietly she looked around to be sure no one could see and stuffed them down the front of her gown.

    That wily bastard Fred had been known for conning people out of their money. John clenched his fist angrily as he pushed his cash across the poker table. John knew he wasn’t able to prove that Fred was a lying, cheating scoundrel. He crossed his arms and seethed in his chair.

    Rose was exiting the old dilapidated mansion on Sugar St. Her ruby red gown was caked with mud at the hem. She straightened her elbow length gloves and headed for the bar.
    Ian’s left hand was red with blood and throbbing. His right arm sat useless on his lap as he tried to steer with his broken hand. He was headed for the railroad tracks to meet up with his connection, Johnny.

    Sugar St. was dark and brooding, Sandy lay on the cobblestone, she could still see stars and her knee was throbbing with pain. The car had come out of now where. Suddenly a woman in red was standing over her. “Hey there honey. Looks like you could use a hand.” Rose said.
    A passenger train blocked Ian’s view as he exited the car. He was hoping to see the empty train station with old johnny standing out in front. But from this vantage all he saw was a wall of cold steel.

    A pair of old hands belonging to Ben Warren slammed shut the window. The rumble of a car engine had woken him in his light sleep. A man of 84 years couldn’t be bothered with the noise the young people of this town made.

    Jenny is the wife of an up and coming business man. Standing at 5’9″ she was a sight on the old gin mill stage. But tonight she sat in the empty bar room remembering when she was more than a house wife.

    • Grace June 3, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Ashley
      Thanks so much for posting. Wow! You certainly let your imagination loose and what a lot of characters and action. Hope you keep going – it looks like you have made a great start.
      Best of luck


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