How about you? Do you do writing exercises or warm ups? Do you think they could be valuable? Have you found warm up exercises helpful in some other area of your life, e.g. art, music, athletics?
Extra Credit: Try one of Johnson’s exercises above, and post about your experiences. Or create an exercise of your own and share it.
When I'm journaling, the words seem to come easy and I can flow through the day with little effort. However, sometimes when I'm working on creative projects, I find the muse can be a little stubborn.
One thing I have learned in a recent workshop is how to use "jump starts" to get my creative juices flowing. It can be as simple as picking a headline out of the newspaper, or a quirky quote I heard on TV. After writing down my jump start, then I write non-stop for 20 minutes about that subject and nothing else. Many times these writing sessions will last longer than 20 minutes, and many times I end up with really interesting story ideas. Once I have the story idea, then it is easier to flesh it out and make it better.
Another exercise I enjoy is going to a local diner. My favorite is The Bus Stop, which used to be a Greyhound Bus Stop, but it has been turned into a small diner/cafe. I usually go around 7:00 in the morning and sit at a table with my back to the door (which is something I'm normally paranoid about doing!). There is always a group of older gentlemen who congregate during that time of morning. I will order myself a Coke and wait with my pen and paper ready. These men always have the most fascinating conversations and I am able to jot down many great quotes, local gossip and old wives' tales. This exercise really helps when I'm working on dialogue, but I've gotten some great stories as well.
I've run out of time, so I'll tackle the extra credit later.