5-Minute Writing Exercise by Rebecca Talley

Stuck? Writer’s block? Unsure where to go from here on your manuscript? Why not try a writing exercise.

You’ll need:

A timer
A comfortable place to write
A notebook
A writing utensil


You may wonder why you need to use a notebook instead of your computer. With the internet at the tip of your fingers, your computer can sometimes be a distraction to your writing because it’s so easy to get online and read email, go to Facebook, or surf the internet. For this exercise, you want to eliminate all distractions. It’s only for 5 minutes—you’ll survive 5 minutes away from the internet. Really.

Choose a pair of the following words:

1. Fire—Fish Tank
2. Hawaii—French Fries
3. Snowstorm—Black Bear
4. Bathtub—Dirty Dishes
5. Horse—Sunset
6. Camping—Lost Puppy
7. Snake—Chocolate Chip Cookies
8. Surfboard—Coconut
9. Basketball Game—Thief
10. Earthquake—Parrot

Have you chosen your words? If none of these word pairs appeals to you, choose your own pair.

Set your timer for 5 minutes.

Now, take your notebook and write, without stopping, until your timer rings. Don’t stop for any reason (unless it’s an emergency). Write whatever comes into your mind and try to connect those two words somehow.

Most importantly, do not edit. This is not the time for correct spelling or grammar. This is simply a time to write. Get it out of your head and onto the paper.

When the timer rings, you may stop. If you want to keep writing, that’s even better.

Once you’ve stopped, you can look over what you’ve written. Maybe it’s drivel or maybe there’s a nugget or two you can use.

Keep doing this exercise until you can do it for more than 5 minutes. Try 10 or 20. The important part of this exercise is to get your brain in writing gear and let your thoughts escape your mind, and your internal editor.

Try it, then leave a comment and tell us how it worked for you. If you post your exercise on your blog, leave a link to your URL.


Rebecca Talley grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. She now lives in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, a spoiled horse, too many cats, and a herd of goats. She and her husband, Del, are the proud parents of ten multi-talented and wildly-creative children. Rebecca is the author of a children’s picture book “Grasshopper Pie” (WindRiver 2003), three novels, “Heaven Scent” (CFI 2008), “Altared Plans” (CFI 2009), and “The Upside of Down” (CFI 2011), and numerous magazine stories and articles. You can visit her blog at www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com.

One thought on “5-Minute Writing Exercise by Rebecca Talley”

  1. This is a great point. You are making me want to write! This is a great site and I’m excited to learn more about how to be published.

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