Molly Ovenden

Leaning on God's understanding

Archive for the tag “creative writing”

Potato, Lamborghini, cubicle

The following is part of a 15 minute freewrite I did using the above words as a prompt.

This morning Alexa woke up to a potato nestled on the spare pillow next to her in bed. Needless to say this realisation was accompanied shortly thereafter by a loud and obnoxious, slimy, licking of her face by Scruffy: a grey and white hairy retrieving dog of some sort. Scruffy’s fur was so much so that it covered his eyes and all one could make of his face in detail, were his shiny black coat button nose and the sweetest, frothiest, pink tongue that inevitably at any occasion persisted in protruding from his happy mouth. The size of a Scottie dog who liked perching in laps, Scruffy did not bark incessantly which did well for Alexa because she preferred quiet mornings and the dogs from across the valley did enough yapping to annoy her first thing in the morning. Scruffy’s annoying habits remained humorous and moderately civil, for a dog…

Have you ever had a pet? Write what you know.


Using 5 Senses–Description

The following is the second lesson of my six week course for developing creative writing and making it a healthy habit in life: Creative Writing: Making it a Habit. Let me know how you get on.

Week Two of Six: Using 5 Senses–Description

Take a moment to review how Week One went for you. You may choose to write a five minute reflection. If you are able to, perhaps you could choose a piece you wrote last week to share with someone.

This week we will be spending a large chunk of time writing about what is in our surroundings to work on how to write descriptively. Part of using vivid language and specificity to make writing more lively is to use all of our senses. This way, the reader is able to relate more intimately to the piece of writing.

Freewrite 5 minutes on each sense (25 minutes total): see, hear, smell, touch, taste

Do this without pausing between each, except to reset the timer. Remember to write the prompt and date at the top of your paper and go with your first thoughts. This is a freewrite, so anything goes as long as you’re using your senses. You might find this activity is best done in a public place such as a library, coffee shop, park, etc. Whatever you do, keep your pen or pencil moving across the page and don’t worry what you’ve written (even if it’s the same same same same word over and over until you get unstuck). Simply write.

How did that go for you? Did you get writer’s cramp in your hand?

Freewrite 10 minutes or make a list of events that occurred in your life in the last 24 hours (e.g.: brush teeth, take shower, argument, film, sleep, eat…)

It might be easier if you start with NOW and choose some event, however minor, for each hour, working backward.

Have a quick look over your completed list and select one event.

Freewrite 15 minutes on that selected event using all 5 senses

Read your freewrite aloud after 15 minutes. If possible, read it into a dictaphone so you can play it back and actually listen to it being read aloud. Well done for getting so many descriptions in your writing!

Spend 5 minutes writing affirmations (come up with at least 5); you may choose to write the same one several times to really let it sink in.

Some examples of my affirmations:
I write like a child.
I have an inspiring imagination.
I am a success.
I write efficiently and interestingly.
When I write, I am free.

-Write a draft of 250-500 words of flash fiction (a very short ‘story’) using the first 6 or so random words that come to mind (some words my group came up with: helmet, earrings, boat, salvation, nougat).

-Freewrite 5-10 minutes with one of these prompts: “teapot” or “monsters in my closet” OR make up your own.

-Write one page of affirmations.

How did it go? Leave a comment for me–I would love to hear from fellow writers.

Using 5 senses, a prompt

The following is part of a warmup, a freewrite, that I did by myself for about 10 min, focusing on using the 5 senses to get in the mindset of writing. The freedom from spelling, correct usage of punctuation and the ability to use stream of consciousness, all help to be open to the next step in writing.

Metal trays screech and rattle. It made me grit my teeth and close one eye. The autumnal red of the soft cushy chair holds me with a slight crick in my hip and curving my spine. My trouser legs stick to me and damp creeps between my toes. I need to get some running shoes. My gaze lifts to view the shadows cast on the fake wooden floor. A mutton chopped gentleman comps his cud his food, a sandwich, like a cow grinds its cud. I can smell cucumber: a glean clean and green smell. The clip clack of a server’s name badge hitting smacking her belt buckle and she stomps table to table collecting left behind belongings–empty cup, crumple napkins. I’m eagerly whirring ideas of my own cafe…

How do you think using all five senses could improve your own writing? 

Try this: Go to a coffee shop and write there for awhile. Take in all of the sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and scents.

I write because…

The following is my freewrite* responding to a prompt during Week One of Creative Writing: Making it a Habit.

I write because I feel I have something to say. I want to communicate what I have learned. I write because it wells up inside me and I need to get it out otherwise I get grumpy and feel icky and a bit ill and like I might explode. I write because I like it. I think I am good at it so why not do something I like to do that feels natural? I write because it feels normal. I write because it is more comfortable to get my thoughts out that way rather than talking and blabbing for ages. I want to lay out all of my thoughts clearly so that later on I can see what I think and restructure what i actually think. I write because it’s fun and I get lots of story ideas and people have been entertained by my stories. I write because I am creative and writing is a way to express it all. I write because I have done so since I was little and could write. I write because I love it and when I do write I feel alive and like I am doing something special, life giving and authentic. It makes me happy.

*A freewrite is a piece of writing in which one writes without regard to conventions, grammar, punctuation, or the need to make sense.

Why and how do you write?

The following is the first lesson of my six week course for developing creative writing and making it a healthy habit in life: Creative Writing: Making it a Habit. Let me know how you get on.

Week One of Six: Introduction: Why write? How to write?

Before officially beginning, establish why it is that you are here, writing or wanting to write.

Write 5 minutes with this prompt: “I write because…”

It is important to follow some guidelines when writing: get your first thoughts out on paper, do not read or anything till you have finished writing, keep your hand moving (I believe that writing first by hand works best because it is a more natural feeling with pen and paper than with a computer), date and title each piece of writing you do.

Freewriting is how many writers begin writing; it can be described as putting every thought on paper regardless of its merit or relation to the initial prompt just to get a start. Simply, it means to: write freely. No judgement. Just write. This is how most of the prompts in this course will be completed.

Freewrite 5 minutes with this prompt: “I like…”

Be sure to write down the first thoughts that come to your mind, and keep your pen moving.

Freewrite 10 minutes with this prompt: “I don’t like…”

Have a look at what you wrote for these last two prompts. How did they make you feel? It may feel vulnerable at first, and perhaps for a lot of the time, but with practice, it will become a habit to write freely and honestly.

Freewrite 10 minutes with this prompt: Barriers to writing, “I’m stuck when…”

Have a look at what common themes could be in what prevents you from doing what you want to do (i.e:What keeps you from writing?). Often it can be negative thoughts or lies believed about ourselves. These negative need to be countered by positives by restructuring our minds and praising ourselves, thinking of good things and hopes or goals for the future to set our gaze upon. Writing affirmations, or positive and encouraging things to ourselves can be really powerful to practice in order to overcome obstacles.

Spend 10 minutes writing affirmations (come up with at least 5); you may choose to write the same one several times to really let it sink in.

Some examples of my affirmations:
I write well and breathe life through my words.
I have original and interesting ideas.
I am a successful and prolific writer.
I will never run out of ideas.
I am free to be myself entirely.

-Freewrite 5-10 minutes with this prompt: “Wearing that ring…”
-Write a draft of 250-500 words of flash fiction (a very short ‘story’) using the first 6 or so random words that come to mind (my group came up with: sea, dentist, panic, rubber dingy, stripy shorts, thoughtful, passionate, intricate).

How did it go? Leave a comment for me–I would love to hear from fellow writers.

NEW COURSE! Creative Writing: Making it a Habit

A habit is something that has become natural to you, something you do regularly without thinking. This is what I want writing to be in my life. I do not mean I will write without thought, of course, but that I want to go to writing every day as a happy instinct, not by dragging my feet or forgetting to actually do it.

I recall hearing that in order to become an expert in a particular field, skill, or art, a person must have practiced at it for 1,000 hours–or is it 10,000 hours? (Please leave a comment to correct me.) Either way, it’s about a commitment to practice and forming healthy habits. I also remember hearing somewhere that a marathon runner doesn’t wake up and think, “Oh, I might pop out for a run today,” but the thought of looking ahead and actually running is whirring through the runner’s mind upon waking up. Wake up. Brush teeth. Put on running shoes. Run.

The same goes for writing.

What is something you have made a habit? How did you make it a habit that would stick?

If writing is your thing, or something that you would like to do more of, please read on.

I know that one way to learn to do something well is to teach others what I already know. That being said, I have developed a mini course and have a couple of people who have come along to learn with me. I want to share with you my six week class of Creative Writing: Making it a Habit in hopes that you will be inspired to write more, better, and habitually.

I would love to hear from you about thoughts and experiences with developing writing as a habit in your life. Do get in touch and leave me a comment.


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