There are fewer better ways of renewing yourself than writing. Taking just a brief time to reflect and write may offer you new eyes. The simple act of putting words to paper can free us from our habitual or constricted way of seeing the world around us and open up possibilities for untold satisfactions, creative exuberance and healing. Here is a brief writing exercises for you to do just for yourself. Who knows…it may turn out that finding more satisfaction in your work may be less about doing things differently than it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.

A Poem a Day

Have you ever thought about what your day – and life – would be like if you just took ten minutes to write a poem before breakfast? Not something forced but just gathering up thoughts and feelings that are fresh and newborn and come from a deeper place.

When you start a morning writing practice, what you write does not have to be long, it just needs to be what you are REALLY experiencing in a moment – not what you think you SHOULD be experiencing or what you think might sound good to someone else. This is a private dialogue, so leave aside concerns about audiences or publishing. And definitely ditch that critic. You’ll know it’s really ‘happening’ when you are surprised by what comes forth. You may also find it sets the tone for your entire day.

The instructions for this daily writing exercise are so simple as to be almost no instruction at all. Just find a quiet spot, even your own bed, where you feel the freedom to sink into yourself. Some people find it best to do this immediately upon waking from sleep. Then just write whatever comes to you. Free association is fine. It’s like taking photographs: some just turn out to be ‘keepers’ and some do not. Keeping at it is what will ‘prepare the soil’ for something to happen.

Poet William Stafford is a much loved and prolific American poet and in his lifetime was a big proponent of morning poems. Getting up in the dark every single day, he brewed some coffee, stretched out on the sofa and started writing. In his book Crossing Unmarked Snow he describes his process and tells us that if you don’t show up at the same time every day, the muse won’t know where to find you.

From Crossing Unmarked Snow by William Stafford:

Don’t have any standards outside the feeling you have as you write. Just follow your impulse, enjoy what happens. Permit yourself to like what you are doing (if you feel any qualms, then veer toward what feels good — why oppose the only compass you have?).

A poem knows where you already are, and it nails you there.

Somewhere deep where we have no program — our next discovery lies.

Each poem is a miracle that has been invited to happen. But these words, after they come, you look at what’s there. Why these? Why not some calculated careful contenders?  Because these chosen ones must survive as they were made, by the reckless impulse of a fallible but susceptible person. I must be willingly fallible in order to deserve a place in the realm where miracles happen.


Its door opens near. It’s a shrine
by the road, it’s a flower in the parking lot
of The Pentagon, it says, “Look around,
listen. Feel the air.” It interrupts
international telephone lines with a tune.
When traffic lines jam, it gets out
and dances on the bridge. If great people
get distracted by fame they forget
this essential kind of breathing
and they die inside their gold shell.
When caravans cross deserts
it is the secret treasure hidden under the jewels.

Sometimes commanders take us over, and they
try to impose their whole universe,
how to succeed by daily calculation:
I can’t eat that bread.


Other Writing Exercises 

Keeping a Heart Journal