Visual Writing Exercises

Creative writing exercises are very important in developing our creativity and improving our writing. There are many forms creative writing exercise can take and visual writing exercises are just one.

Visual writing exercises present descriptive sentences or paragraphs which prompt our minds to construct mental images. Description allows us to ‘see’ what it not actually present.

The images we will see are unique to us as individuals and we will not all be stimulated by the same images. What provokes my imagination may not provoke yours. We are all unique and as such we interpret situations very differently.

The situations described in the following exercises are descriptive, open and ambiguous. The incidents could start your story, or they could form the ending of your story.

In fact, it doesn’t matter where you place the situation in your story – the only thing that matters is that the situation you choose triggers your imagination and gets you writing!

Before you begin, think about the sentence you are using. Then build a picture in your mind’s eye and add as much visual detail as you can.

horses on a hill as an example of visual creative writing exercises TEN VISUAL WRITING EXERCISES

The horses stood on the hill and looked down before turning and galloping towards the forest.

The orange glow behind the town would have been a beautiful sunset if you didn’t know it was a fire – threatening to destroy everything for miles around.

She saw the open window and climbed in. She already knew from the sign that this dark place with its leaking roof had once been a supermarket.

The single camel rode across the sand covered hills carrying its reluctant passenger towards the village.

She threw her hand up towards her head. She felt wet. Something had hit her. The wetness had spread through her hair.  She caught sight of herself in the car mirror. Her blonde hair was red – that’s all she remembered.

He had walked this path many times. He knew the boggy wetness underfoot, the moss-covered stones to one side, the ivy clad trees to the other. The only thing different was the sounds. Machines were moving, getting closer.

The sea was silent. More still and more blue than they had seen it for a long time.  The clouds above were white mixed with grey but parting now to show patches of blue. Was it the calm before the next grey and relentless storm?

Everything she wore was white. She had even managed to get white earrings. She wasn’t getting married. Everybody knew that. To dress completely in white meant something but what.

It was a tunnel made of glass. Inside showed green but nothing grew here, he knew that. He walked closer and saw movement but what?

Looking through the window at the side of her house she saw a man climbing a ladder. She watched him for a moment hoping he was a window cleaner but she knew by his expression and empty hands he was no cleaner. His face was too smooth and too sure. He had purpose and she guessed that purpose was to stop her. She locked the window and opened the safe.


I hope you will try these exercises. Find yourself a quiet place and take the first one. Visualise the sentence in your mind. Set a clock for ten minutes and start writing your response immediately. Don’t stop to think – that will allow your mental editor to interrupt your flow – keep going until the ten minutes is up

If you do one of these exercises every day for at least five days a week. You will find that within two weeks you will have laid the foundations for a great writing habit and will soon be experiencing the joy of creative flow.

You will also have learned a huge amount about writing. You might have even found the way into that book you always wanted to write.

Best of luck!


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