You Are Unique: This Writing Exercise Proves It

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

"You Are Unique: This Writing Exercise Proves 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 more exercises to stimulate your brain and put life into your writing in a book called, Writing Open the Mind by Andy Couturier. When you use random words, it 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. It's in the comment 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.

I'd love to hear from you.
          Celebrate your uniqueness.
                    Never Give Up - Joan Y. Edwards

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Magdalena Ball said...

Good exercise Joan - and a real block buster too. Would be interesting to see what people come up with and I like that word generator too - very handy tool.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post Joan. I'm going to try the word generator. Thanks!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

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

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Magdalena,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you think this is a good exercise. It's great that you believe it would be a great buster if you are having writer's block. I hope people will post what they wrote. What I wrote is in the comments now. You can compare what you wrote with it.

Celebrate you!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Mary Jo,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you're going to try the word generator. I skip the words they generate that don't resonate with me. They come up with really good ones.

Celebrate you and your writing.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Karen Cioffi said...

Joan, great post and writing exercise. I'm writing my 3rd book in a series and will try the word generator. Thanks for the tip.

Heidiwriter said...

I love having groups do this--it's so much fun to see what everyone comes up with. Great idea!

Kathleen Moulton said...

The newscaster was was nervous. It was his first day on the job.

The town was going to unveil a gift from the ambassador’s country. There was no need to advertise the event since people had been talking about it for weeks.

He sat on the post office steps to evaluate when the event would begin. People gathered and watched patiently while the microphone was being tested. He noticed a spirited conversation between a man dressed in a suit and one of the technicians setting up the microphone.

The newscaster drew closer to indulge himself in what was taking place. As he stepped closer to the stage, he tripped on a sapling, fell on the slippery grass, and bit his tongue. Someone nearby snapped a photograph of the mishap, which the newscaster thought was incredulous!

He managed to get up and find a seat. Rubbing the muscle in his leg, he gathered his composure in order to report the event.

Linda A. said...

When I was an elementary school student, I had a teacher who used to assign the class to write a story with the spelling word list. I loved the challenge. It's a good one.

Congratulations on being a contributing blogger here.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Karen,
Thanks for writing. I hope you like the Word Generator. If you don't like a word it pops up for you, you can always skip it and go to one that really resonates with you. Thanks for inviting me to be a regular contributor to Writers on the Move.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Heidi,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you love having groups do this kind of exercise. I'll do another exercise in November 6th. Be sure to come back now, You hear.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Kathleen,
Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story using the 15 words. You've got me wondering what gift the ambassador was going to unveil. Having a photograph of the newscaster doing all those things made me laugh.

Never Give Up
Celebrate your gift of humor
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Linda,
Thanks for stopping by. My teacher used to do that, too. We both had great teachers, didn't we? I also had my students to do the same thing when I taught 4th and 5th grade.

Do you ever wish you'd saved some of your school work?

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Kathleen Moulton said...

You're very welcome, Joan! I enjoyed the exercise.

Anonymous said...

Fun exercise! 15 minutes goes by fast though. Here's what I came up with:

The faded sepia of the photograph felt slippery against the withered skin of his fingers. His pale eyes evaluated the barrel-chested, spirited young man in the photo. The hairline of the sapling behind him in the photograph had grown into the staunch oak tree. But the young man had shrunken and frailed, his muscles had taken on the consistency of an uncooked chicken breast.

He folded the photograph into the pages of scrawled out writing, slipped them into the envelope, then pressed his dry tongue along the seal. He looked around him before indulging in a small kiss against the return address before dropping it into the post office box.

Shirley Corder said...

Joan, thank you. This looks like fun. I'm going to use the word generator to come up with some words for my online group of South African Christian writers. We do a monthly "Topic of the Month" and this would be ideal for next month.

Joan Y. Edwards said...


Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Being Laura Boffa,
Thank you for writing and sharing your exercise with us. You are right. 15 minutes does go by fast.

What a touching story! You used great sensual descriptions. I especially liked..."pressed his dry tongue along the seal." I give you a Blue Ribbon for that passage.

If you do this in 15 minutes, I can imagine that your books would be filled with wonderful words to activate our senses while reading.

Celebrate you and your gift of writing.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Shirley,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you think the exercise looks like fun. I hope the word generator comes up with great topics for your South African Christian Writers group. How does your group use your topics?

Celebrate you and your creativity
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

Just Googling writing exercises and came across yours, Joan. It's terrific. I'll certainly use 15 random words again. Thank you! I timed myself for 15 minutes and came up with this little bit of fun.

On my way to the post office, still a spirited sapling, myself, I saw a barrel-bellied man wearing a blank sandwich board.

“What should I advertise?” he asked me.

“How about you advertise the News with a photograph of the nightly newscaster? You know, the one who likes to show off the big muscle in his arm.”

“Close your eyes and turn three times. Then I will indulge you.”

“Okay,” I said and spun around on the slippery path.

“When I tell you, open your eyes and I will unveil my advertisement. Now.”

Before me was a picture of me sticking out my tongue. “Oh my goodness, this is weird! How did you do that?”

“A magician never reveals his tricks, but tell me, how would you evaluate my talent?”

“Incredulous!” I said as I ran off to tell my granny who lives in the annex at the back of our house.

Karen Cioffi said...

Wendy, glad you found out site! Joan did give us a great writing exercise here. Clever use of your 15 words!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Wendy,
Thank you for sharing your delightful writing for this exercise. I hope that your writing continues to soar to the highest possible place.

Your Blue Ribbon Passage is:
On my way to the post office, still a spirited sapling, myself, I saw a barrel-bellied man wearing a blank sandwich board. Barrel-bellied makes me smile.

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Karen,
Thanks for leaving a note for Wendy. Thanks for the compliment about the writing exercise. You are right, Wendy made clever use of her 15 words.

I didn't know what notify me meant they send me the comments. Sorry I missed some.

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