Lit Candle

Lit Candle

I love this exercise. I was first introduced to this great meditative writing practice during an online course run by Ann Linquist. She asked us to light a candle and write one paragraph describing it, avoiding generic terms such as “dancing flame”. I found it a great descriptive exercise to hone my skills and to think outside of the box. It also had the added benefit of calming and focusing my thoughts, and providing a meditation like experience when staring into the lit candle.

The point is to show your readers what thoughts and feelings the burning candle evokes, not tell them. It is a tool to help you tap into your emotions when writing which helps to create a connection with your reader. This is the power of words aIMG_8680nd description. This is what will make your novel and writing stand out and leaves a long lasting impression on your readers.

Below is my very first attempt at this exercise. It is rough, however I have a strong attachment to it and have never been able to throw it away.

“Lighted memories.”

My candle was a gift from Secret Santa at work one year. It is in a thick glass holder, that could do someone serious damage if wielded as a weapon. It smells of Banksia and Bergamot. I stare into the flame for a while, and I start panicking as no ideas would come to me. So I take a deep breath, close my eyes and will my muscles to relax. Once I felt the tension drain away I open my eyes and stare into the flickering candle once more. Then they come to me. Faces skipping through my thoughts, like the twisting flame before me. The faces of my family; my parents, my nana and my siblings. Their features are cast by the orange glow of the campfires and candlelight of many happy memories flashing through my head, too many to describe in one small paragraph. Such strong memories and emotions to be evoked by the flickering of a fragile little flame. I am now very reluctant to blow the candle out, not wanting to lose the image of those smiling faces so far away from me over the Easter weekend. I think I will keep it burning for a bit longer. 

 I would love to see some descriptions of yours. Or if you have any other great exercises like this to help practice descriptive writing I would love to hear about them. I am always on the lookout for new writing tools, techniques and exercises.

Point of View Exercise

Point of view exercise-2

Point of view is a very important consideration when planning your writing project. It can draw your reader in as though they are experiencing the story themselves, or it can place them further away so they are observing from a distance.

I find it helpful when planning my writing projects to write the same paragraph from different points of view. It helps me to figure out which point of view I feel most comfortable with and creates the most powerful story. Not only is the exercise helpful to plan your writing project, it is also a great warm up exercise!

This exercise is fairly simple. Pick a paragraph, conversation or scene that you have roughly formed for your writing project. It doesn’t have to be perfect, a rough draft will be fine. Then write this small piece of your story from as many different views as you would like.

Take your time to really explore each different perspective. When you are done read over each one carefully. What are the benefits from each? Which point of view didn’t work? Which point of view do you believe managed to capture the story as you pictured it? Which perspective do you feel the most comfortable with? These questions will help you weed out the points of view that didn’t work for your writing piece.

The aim after this exercise is to help you pick the point of view that will create the most powerful story, one the reader will relate to and want to read again and again!



Random Word Link Example

Random Word Link Example

I pulled out these three words from my word jar for a random word link example:

  • Porridge

  • Shark

  • Thunder

I was in a gloomy mood the day I wrote this blog and example so the paragraph I came up with reflects this. However, it did serve to help overcome a writers block I was having in regards to a scene in my current novel.

Thunder boomed from the heavy ominous clouds as I ate my porridge looking out the kitchen window. My thoughts strayed to the teen boy who had been attacked by a shark the day before. I had been the scrub nurse on duty during his long operation to repair the damage to his legs. The surgeon was not confident that he would ever recover the full use of his legs.

Random Word Link

Random Word Link

Random word link is an exercise to help you warm up or to overcome writers block. It is also a way of getting you to think outside the box and to form unique stories and ideas from everyday words. This is a great exercise to practice regularly as connecting random words helps to come up with creative solutions and problem solving.

Once again, delve into your random word jar! Pick out 3 – 5 words and write a short story or paragraph using these words. It doesn’t have to be logical or perfect; the idea is to stretch your creative muscle and thought processes. It is not necessary to set a time limit with this particular exercise, like when free writing. However if you are using it as a warm up it can be a good idea, otherwise you may find that you use it as an excuse to procrastinate and never get to work on your current project! It is also fun to see what your mind comes up with when under time pressure!


Directed Free Writing Example

Directed Free Writing Example

I pulled a word out of my word jar for this directed free writing example – Octopus. You don’t have to use your word jar if you don’t want to. Look around you for inspiration! Once again, I set my timer to 5 minutes. I would usually go for 10, but as this is just an example 5 minutes will be sufficient.

Octupus, regretting this is the word i pulled out as it is hard to write down fast and keep my hands moving. once again the point of this eercise is to get the thoughts and words flowing, but in a more directed appriach. The first thing that comes to mind whn i think of octups is my old nightmare i use to have swimming at the beach of an giant ocutpus pulling me under. i have no idea why i was so frightedn of this i dont remember seeing any horror movies or antyhing tlike that where there was a giant killer orctups, but ther you have it. I y=used to trick mysefl that i could feel a giant thick slimiy tentacle wrap around my lef and i woul dstart swimming like mad for the jetty to get out of the water before i would be pulled under. Ofc ourse nothing like taht ever did e=happen. it is giving my goosebymps now just thinking about it, so oibsiouly the fear is still there. dunny how childhood fears can still effect you long into adulthood. i have a freind who was once trapped in an outdoor toilet for a few hours overnight, and no one could here her obsviously coz it was night time thery were all inside lseeping. she has a fear of dark enclosed spaces still. in her case atleast she has a basis for the fear, i hav enever been attacked by a giant octups. i think it comes from not being able to see what is underneath you when seimming at the beach. there is a whole unseen world going on under neath your feet, unles you scubu dive or snorkely of course! but those practicalities just ruin the imagination! so my octupus is giant and red (why red??) with big big tentacles with giant sucker things on them. It apparenly likes to grab little cigls and drwon them for its own amusement. This is

I let my hands and thoughts keep moving for the full 5 minutes. You don’t have to type on your computer, you can hand write if that is what you would prefer. The whole point is to just keep your hands moving and the words flowing.


Free Writing Example

Free Writing Example

I set my timer to 5 minutes for this example and just let my thoughts and words loose!


5 minutes is on the clock to free write what ever thoughts flow through my head. No editing, correcting, formating or deleting as you go! Make sure you keep yout hands moving, moving, moving. Always moving. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write that over and over again until uanother thougt pops into your head. The point is to get your brain firing, to get the words flowing so ehwn you sit down to write or plan your current project your brain is firing all synapses. The words will flow and the creative process will be that much easier. I can smell spring in the air, fresh cut grass and flowers. THeres a warm breeze and the sun is shining. Its hard to believe just yesterday the city was bombarded with artic breezes and heavy rains. I remember when my hubby and I went away for a 6 week camping trip last year we went up to the blue mountaings I was so excited to hike them and see all the different rock formations. Its stormed the whole time we were there! The wind was so strong our tent kept bowing inwards. I had to get up and go to the toiket at about 3am, bedraggled people were cralwing out of collapsed tents and sheltering in their cars. IT was insane! We hope to go back at some point and visit when it isn’t such bad weather. IT did make for a very interesting camping trupthough! The mountains, from what we could see peaking under the heavy cloud vover were beautiful. Camping is not

The timer went off before I could finish that last sentence. I didn’t come up with any best-selling ideas, however it has definitely loosened my creative muscles so I am ready to tackle my next blog! I highly recommend using this warm-up exercise before sitting down to write your project. It is also useful if you are ever suffering from the dreaded writers block. Sit back, take a breath, and do some free writing! It really does help to get the words flowing again and to clear your mind so you can return to your project fresh and inspired.

Journal Prompts

Journal Prompts
When sitting down to write in your journal it can be hard to know where to start. You psych yourself up to write, sit down with your journal and then stare blankly at the page. I know I have wasted a lot of time doing this. So I have developed a list of journal prompts to overcome the journal block!


  • Describe your dream: partner, job, house, holiday.
  • If you were to organize a dream party whom would you invite and why?
  • What superhero/magical power would you like to have? Why? What would you use it for? Good/evil?
  • If you had 3 wishes, what would they be? Why?
  • If you were to win the lottery what would you do with the money?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • What is your most embarrassing moment?
  • What’s something you were afraid of as a child, or are still afraid of now?
  • What has been the most difficult thing you have done or decision you have made?
  • Who is someone you’ve lost? What are some of your memories about that person?
  • Describe your teachers at school/university.
  • Describe your work colleagues.
  • Describe your best childhood friend and your relationship with this person then and now.
  • What are your favourite or least favourite memories about holidays?


Write about your first:

  • Day of school/high school/university
  • Crush/partner
  • Best friend
  • Car
  • Home
  • Pet
  • Job
  • Child
  • Graduation
  • License
  • Wedding or divorce
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Job or career change, retirement
All about you:
  • What is your favourite place, food, movie, book, song, colour, animal, season, flower, and why?
  • What kind of day are you having, and why?
  • What do you like to do, and why? How does it make you feel?
  • Describe your happy place.
  • What is your relationship with your family?
  • If you have brothers or sisters, how are you similar to them or different from them?
  • What are your views on religion or politics?

There are so many more journal prompts out there. Try typing it into google and seeing what pops up!

119 Journal Prompts for your Journal Jar – Marelisa Fabrega

Journal Writing Prompts – Penzu