If you find yourself lugging heavy boxes around, and realise you’re struggling, you might think “man, I need to hit the gym”. It’s a logical conclusion. Working out over a period of time will make you stronger and better equipped to lug heavy boxes. Makes sense.
Arguably the same is true with your mind. That’s why brain-training exercises are so popular. You either use it or lose it.
Many writers appreciate writing exercises for the same reason. Often I find it helps, if I’m stuck on a particular writing puzzle, to walk away from writing all together. I’ve read that walking is a physical exercise that operates at the same pace as thinking. So if, say, I’ve got an awkward plot-point to work through, a nice walk away from the computer through the countryside means I come back to it later and – bang – the ideas are flowing, even if I haven’t been mulling the problems over. Actually, not thinking about my problems helps me solve them. Does that work for you?
Regardless, there’s a school or thought that says just like how cardio-vascular training improves your general fitness, writing exercises improve your ability to write your own projects. Do them regularly, and you won’t run into as many story problems, or if you do run into them, you’ll be better at solving them.
I don’t know if that’s really true or not, and I’ll be honest, I don’t do writing exercises – or “prompts” – at all. But if it’s something you think might help you, there are lots of sites that offer you interesting, challenging and fun creative writing exercises. These ones from writers digest look particularly good.
Why not give them a go? Creative writing prompts. Little exercises to get the creative juices flowing, and who knows, maybe springboard you into a whole new project!