Writing Exercise: A Holiday Quilt

Why are we often reluctant to do things that are good for us? Taking vitamins. Working out. Drinking water instead of soda.

Doing writing exercises.

Here’s a confession: I rarely do writing exercises.

In fact, throughout my thirteen year writing career, I’ve probably done only … oh, twenty or so and most of those were when an author presenter forced me to or for our conference challenges. Why so few? Because most times, I’d rather work on my current project or … well … I just don’t want to, just like I don’t want to get on the treadmill even though I’m training for a marathon!

But writing exercises are wonderful. They push us out of comfort zones and make us think outside the box. They open our minds, force us to experiment, and flex our creative muscles, making them stronger and in better shape to tackle our current projects, just like cross-training can make me a better runner. Best of all—no one ever sees them, not an editor, not a critique partner, nobody, how freeing is that? We can go as crazy as we want, like we’re cooking a meal no one would eat. Want to throw in some cilantro? Go for it. Basil and peanut butter? Why not! A layer of cream cheese? Oh, heck yeah. And if it tastes horrible, throw the sucker out!

For these reasons, I’ve decided that one of my 2013 goals will be to complete a writing exercise once a week.  I even bought a new composition notebook that’s pink and pretty … even though I never need an excuse to buy something pink and pretty.

But then I thought … why wait until the new year?

I mean, raise your hand if you find it hard to concrete on a manuscript during the holiday seasons? Mine is up. Way, way up. As far up as up can go, and that’s pretty far up. Of course, that also means my guilt level is up, up, up, so in order to feel a little better about myself, I’m starting today, right now.

Want to join me?

Did you say yes? AWESOME! You writing career will thank me later. And with that, here’s this week’s exercises:


Keeping the season in mind, let’s make a holiday quilt! Draw a chart with four columns and four rows. In the first column, write your four favorite smells of the holidays. In the second columns, list your favorite sounds. In the third, your favorite sights and in the fourth, list out four of your favorite holiday memories.

Once your quilt is completed, set an alarm for ten minutes, select your absolute favorite memory and write about it, using as many smells, sounds, and sights as possible!


I would love to have several logos to use for these weekly writing exercise posts, so sketch me a lovely logo that represents creativity, growth, and freedom and send it as an attached jpeg or pdf file to laura.bowers@comcast.net. Everyone’s will be used!

Good luck, happy writing and drawing, and please feel free to post your results if you’re feeling brave!

Up next week, Susan has a GREAT exercise you will love. J


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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3 Responses to Writing Exercise: A Holiday Quilt

  1. Sue Poduska says:

    I didn’t want you to think no one is excited about the writing prompts. Even if they don’t become stories directly, they almost always make me think of a work-in-progress in a different light. I AM doing this one and will try to do the future ones. In fact, this now appears on my famous to-do list. Will let you know how it goes.

  2. Terrific exercise. Love the idea of not waiting for January. Also the once a week rather than some absurd every-day goal.

  3. Sue Poduska says:

    That was fun and enlightening! What’s next?

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