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Jump Starts

Need a kick in the butt to get your butt in the chair to write? Try some real-good writing exercises or words of wisdom worth swallowing.


Here are two good places to look. And just because one is for fiction and the other for poetry doesn't mean you can't use both for both. I do.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. Do them individually or mix and match.

The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. Organized by topics to help you troubleshoot.


If you've read around this site, you know I'm a no-rules kind of writer and teacher of writing. So use these resources for fodder for your own non-rules.

Rules of Thumb: 73 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations, edited by Michael Martone and Susan Neville. A no rules sort of rule book with illustrations.

Paris Review Interviews. The best in the land, now online.

I'll leave you with this, from the Thumb book above:

"Look up words in the dictionary. Look up etymologies. And one more thing: Care about every comma and semicolon...A comma or lack of it can be so eloquent."
-- from "A Writing Habit" by Lydia Davis

Copyright © 2003–2009 Angela Jane Fountas. All rights reserved.
Contact: info[at]writehabit[dot]org