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Writing is hard, especially when you’re writing fiction. No matter your writing genre, sitting down and taking a few minutes each day to exercise your writing skills is important in keeping your creative muscles stretched and holding writer’s block at bay. These exercises are short bits of improvisational writing that prompt writers to approach different story topics in new ways. They’re best done in ten-minute intervals and can improve your writing, spark new story ideas, and generally make you a better writer than you were before. Thankfully, several creative writing exercises on the internet will help you work on your skills. Here are a few of them.


Stream of consciousness


Stream of consciousness writing (also known as freewriting) happens when you let whatever is in your mind flow onto a piece of paper. To do this exercise, take a blank piece of paper and just start writing. Don’t think about what you’re writing or edit while you write—just write whatever comes to mind. A good way to use this exercise is to write for a few minutes when you wake up every morning. No matter when you do it, though, freewriting can conjure up new and interesting ideas that you can expand on later.


Switch the POV


Changing the point of view, or POV, of a scene you’re writing will bring a whole new perspective to the events unfolding in your latest story. This exercise doesn’t even need to be done with something you yourself are writing; you can take a scene from your favorite book and rewrite it to make the side character the protagonist instead. If you don’t want to write from a different character’s perspective, you can change how you’re writing instead. For example, if you’re writing in third person POV, change the scene to write it in first person POV. What information do you get from changing the scene up this way? Figuring this out can even teach you something new about the events unfolding.


Respond to writing prompts


From Facebook to Tumblr to websites specifically designed with this purpose in mind, there are writing prompts everywhere on the internet for you to choose from. Writing prompts are a few short sentences with a basic premise that writers can springboard off of and create new scenes and characters. It doesn’t just have to be prompts found on the internet—you can use a line from a magazine or a book to inspire you as well.