A while back I started setting myself short writing challenges. By doing so, I hoped to inject some fun into my blog whilst also providing ideas for anyone whose writing might be stagnating.
Creative writing should be just that: creative.
Doing something a little bit different can shake things up and help break you out of any rut you may find yourself in.
Experimenting and playing with language by imposing constraints and limitations means you have to take time to think imaginatively in order to find a solution. Find ways to focus your thinking and force yourself to pay attention to your craft. Give yourself time to play with written forms and you’ll soon see the benefits.
Here’s an example.
In this post I have set myself the alphabet writing challenge. Just in case you hadn’t noticed thus far, having started this post with the letter ‘a’, I have continued every subsequent sentence with the proceeding letter of the alphabet. Knitting it all together is where the creative wordplay comes into its own.
Let’s consider the uses for an exercise like the alphabet writing challenge.
Most would agree that, on the face of it, this is little more than a contrived piece of writing that serves no obvious purpose.
Nevertheless, by restricting the way you start your sentences in order to structure your writing, however contrived it may seem, demands creative thinking and considerable attention to detail.
Originally I set out to write twenty-six paragraphs, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, but I didn’t think this would amount to much of a challenge. Perhaps I was a bit hasty in changing my parameters down to twenty-six sentences, but there you go.
Quick as you like, my change of approach made writing this post infinitely more challenging – a problem with an ambitious outcome bound by a significant constraint.
Really, when compared to the other challenges I’ve set myself in the past, this one has required the most thought and creativity. Some letters of the alphabet do not naturally lend themselves to a starting berth in a sentence.
This is when you need to get really creative.
Up until this point it hasn’t been too bad. Varying sentence structures has been essential. When you get to the end of the alphabet though, it gets pretty tough.
Xylographs are engravings on wood, apparently.
Yes, that last sentence was extremely contrived, but this approach to writing is a great way to expand your vocabulary, and it’s a necessary evil if you are to stick to the form (just don’t do it too often, otherwise you risk entering the realms of nonsense).
26 sentences, each beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet. Not as easy as I first thought. But an enjoyable lexical challenge nonetheless.
Give it a go.