Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Are Unique - Here Is a Writing Exercise to Prove It

Picture of man and girl with words You are unique
You Are Unique Image
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

"You Are Unique - Here Is a Writing Exercise to Prove It" by Joan Y. Edwards

You Are Unique. Your experiences make you different from others. You have different likes and dislikes.
If you have a snack bag filled with multi-colored M&Ms, each of you might choose the same color to eat, once or twice, but probably not with the entire snack bag of candy. If you made a design with the M&Ms before you ate them, your designs would be different. Why? You have different likes and dislikes. (Personal aside: You can personalize M&Ms for special occasions:

Below are 15 words to use in this writing exercise. Even though each of you uses the same 15 words, the stories you write will be different. Your life experiences and interests decide what you write. Start a new story, add to an old story, or write freely as it comes to you, but try to use all 15 words in your passage.
Although the words are the same, the passages may differ in the following:
  • Genre
  • Characters
  • Dialogue
  • Conflicts
  • Senses
  • Emotion
  • Time
  • Place
  • Weather
There are verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I used to help me choose these words.

Find exercises to stimulate your brain and put life into your writing in a book called, Writing Open the Mind by Andy Couturier: Using random words stirs up wondrous experiences and helps you create passages filled with life.

This is a great exercise for writing groups that meet either online or in person. We did this exercise in our Savvy Wordsmiths Writing Group meeting in Fort Mill, SC. No one used the same characters or situations. If you and another person have the same idea for a book, it will not turn out the same. Why? It will be different because each person is different. Enjoy being you. You are unique and a blessing to our world. Write and enjoy it.

Try this exercise. Ask a friend to try it, too. Compare your stories. I’ll bet they will be unique.
Directions for this writing exercise:
  1. Get out a sheet of paper (or open a new file on your computer)
  2. Print out this blog post.
  3. Take one minute to read, study, and think about the 15 words.
  4. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
  5. Write for 15 minutes making an effort to use all 15 words in your passage.
  6. Read your passage aloud at the end of your 15 minutes.
Enjoy yourself. You are a Master Writer. You have a gift. Go for it.
15 Words for This Writing Exercise
  1. spirited
  2. evaluate
  3. post office
  4. indulge
  5. newscaster
  6. muscle
  7. barrel
  8. incredulous
  9. slippery
  10. advertise
  11. annex
  12. sapling
  13. unveil
  14. tongue
  15. photograph
Now compare what you wrote with the passage I wrote at our writing group in the comments area. Please do the exercise before you read my comment passage.

If you're willing to share your passage, copy and paste it into the comment area. It will be fun to read the variety of passages.

If you want to do this type of exercise again, you can choose 15 words at random from newspapers, magazines, wordsearch puzzles, or crossword puzzles, or your favorite books. Enjoy being you.

Happy Writing!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards


  1. Here’s what I wrote using as many of the 15 words as I could during 15 minutes.

    Exercise passage written by Joan Y. Edwards Copyright 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

    Tim, the newscaster, went to mail his car payment at the post office. He thought it was unusual, but the sign on the barrel said, “Deposit your mail here for free delivery.”

    He wasn’t a young sapling, but he knew that kind of deal was incredulous. He’d never seen the post office advertise that way before. He had to evaluate the situation before he would put his hard-earned money for a payment into a barrel.

    On the barrel was a photgraph of a postman with a big protruding muscle on his arm.

    Tim noticed a lock on the barrel that said, “Made in China.” That made him decide it definitely wasn’t a legitimate mailbox.

    Feeling quite spirited, he indulged himself and dropped his letter in the regular blue mailbox. He never did unveil the reason for the barrel.

    I hope you had fun doing this exercise.

    Celebrate your uniqueness.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  2. Joan,
    I won't accept the exercise challenge, but I did enjoy brainstorming where this could lead. It is pretty impressive that each person creates something different even when given the same assignment. Thanks for another great writing exercise.

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you leaving a comment. You're welcome for the exercise. I'm glad you enjoyed brainstorming where this exercise could lead. You are right. It's pretty impressive that each person creates something different, even when given the same assignment.

      Celebrate you!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  3. Joan, I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise when you posted it on your blog. Here's what I wrote (again):

    Joan's writing exercise.

    So, okay, I wasn't paying attention. I was in math class, the last class of the day, and Mrs. Hansen was nattering on and on about Truth, propositions, and stuff. Driven by boredom, I indulged in a whim and stuck out my tongue at Freddy Maxwell.

    "Susan LeBlanc." Mrs. H turned and glared at me, incredulous. "Since you appear to need something to occupy your mind, please come up to the board and evaluate the second propositi on."

    My more spirited self took over my mouth. "I'd rather not."

    "Detention for you today." Mrs. H, to her credit, didn't call me young lady.

    "But Mrs. H, I'm supposed to meet Dad at the post office." Dad is a newscaster at the local TV station. He's had his photograph in the paper and everything.

    "You won't be there."

    I hesitated. Dad asked me not to advertise the subject of his latest investigation. "He wants to take some photographs, you know, for a story."

    "How unfortunate you didn't consider that when you decided to act up in class."

    While I was figuring out what to say, the bell rang for the end of school. I started to bolt, but Mrs. H, whose arms must be as long as the big branch of the oak sapling in our front yard, annexed me before I could leave the room.

    I unveiled my last weapon. "He wants a couple of shots of you, too, Mrs. H."

    "Umph." That got her. She's sweet on Dad. He likes her, too.

    "Couldn't you at least pretend to pay attention in class, Susan?" she asked as we left the building. "You act as if you were raised in a barrel. It sets a bad example."

    "Maybe when you and Dad get married, you can home-school me. Then I wouldn't have to be bored."

    She grunted, and I skipped ahead. Life was good. School was over, at least until tomorrow, and Dad planned to take me and Mrs. H out to dinner.

    And one of the things that surprised me was how easy I found it to write this -- my main character sprang into my mind, along with the math class, the teacher, and my character's smart mouth. I may have to add her to the long list of things clamoring to be written.

    1. Dear Margaret,
      Thanks for reading this blog post. I appreciate you for sharing what you wrote using as many of the 15 words as you could.
      You have a great way with dialogue. The character, Susan, certainly knows how to persuade people. She knows a lot about human nature.
      It sounds like this character could zoom into a young adult novel.
      It would be a hit. Humor and ways to talk yourself out of a predicament!

      Celebrate you!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  4. Joan, what a great writing exercise. I'm saving this to do once I'm done packing and moving. I'm running out of time, so can't do it now. :)

    And, I'll be sharing the link!

  5. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for reading this blog post and for posting a comment! I appreciate it very much. I'm glad you think this is a great writing exercise. It was definitely fun to do and witness others enjoying it, too.
    Good luck with your packing and moving. That is a book adventure or magazine article in itself.
    Thanks for sharing a link.

    Celebrate you and all you do to help others.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  6. Great writing exercises, Joan. Good to use by yourself or as you say, in your critique groups. Doing those terrible old push-ups with our brain is something we Must make time for. Great reminder. Now to see how many of those words I can use.