Whether you're writing a TV script or an email, it's easy to get stuck on what to write. I was recently in that situation. My Creative Director, Corey Seaton, gave me a few writing exercises that helped me get better at writing scripts for TV spots, but these exercises can be used on any kind of writing. Here was his advice:

  • Pick five ads, comedy routines, movie scenes, or songs you love, and write them out. Looking at them on paper, you'll learn what was great writing, what was great delivery, and eventually, what it looks like on paper to do both. Repeat this every time you hear something that catches your ear.
  • Free write on a deadline. Set a timer for five minutes and start writing anything that comes to mind. Stop. Then, do it again for four minutes, then three minutes, and so on. The author W. Somerset Maugham once said, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.” This is one way to draw out that kinda inspiration on your time.
  • Write a 60 second story, then take out the adjectives and adverbs. The story gets you focused on something outside of what you have a mental block on. Omitting the adjectives and adverbs forces you to make the story new-Brita-filter clear — freeing it of crap that doesn't get the main point across. And yes, it still needs to be 60 seconds after the edits.

If all else fails and you can't come up with that next line, stop and go for a walk. If it's been an all-day brain fog, come back to it tomorrow. And when you do, keep your pen moving on the paper or your fingers punching the keys. Eventually, you'll get there.

Got any others writing exercises that work? Add them in a comment below.