Stretching Writer Muscles

Sometimes I just give myself a weird assignment. I write something outside my usual frame of reference, try a new genre, shift the perspective or simply try something that shakes things up.

I call it stretching my writer muscles. And, just like muscles that grow stiff from lack of use or fail to grow because you’re doing the same workout every day, these exercises are just for the experience and not necessarily geared toward creating something worth sharing.

Last week I was feeling a little stuck in the mud. The novel I spent the better part of last year working on is in the “vault” awaiting a redraft with a fresh perspective. The new novel-in-progress stalled as I neared the “time to give this to someone objective to read” page count (page 50). I was noodling around with various ideas and then I had a dream about a robot.

Yes, I’ve been known to have dreams that fall into fiction genres. This was the first science fiction dream in a long, long time and I didn’t know what to do with the robot working in a futuristic factory. So I made a point of pondering the robot’s plight and…. Lo and Behold… I got a story out of it. Is it good? Not sure —yet. I’ll let it rest for a little while and if it pings a little on the story Richter scale, I’ll post it. If not…. no problem —I was just stretching my muscles.


(It’s called “Model T-5” and it’s on the Timeless Tales Page! I decided to see what other people (and robots) think…)


  1. -grin- Writing posts for my blog keeps me from growing too stale. I do know what you mean though. Current WIP was a direct result of my need to write about people for a change. Must admit I never imagined it would turn into this, whatever this ends up being.

    • Candy Korman

      Since I loved your people in Vintage Egg, I’m very pleased that the work-in-progress is people-centric! Writing about a robot was my diversion and I hope it’ll help fuel my very heavily peopled new one!

      Switching out genres & points-of-view is very helpful to me. I don’t think I’m poetic enough to pull it off, but iambic pentameter would be a HUGE storytelling leap for me. I did something like that as a kid, but… um… now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I should try haikus strung together. That might make me crazy, but since I’m already half mad lately, it might be fun!

  2. Shaking things up in one’s usual comfort zone for writing tends to work wonders. I know this, but yet don’t apply it nearly as often as I should. Once I get things settled in the changes my life is going through, I need to try some writing exercises. I’m sure that will give me the motivation to start working on the novel once again.

    • Candy Korman

      Sounds like a good plan. It’s also good to remember that sometimes life takes the lead and fiction sits on the back burner for a while.

      I’d love to know what kind of exercises you’ll cook up for yourself.