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Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Find writing tips and exercises from our Arvon tutors here, to develop your craft and inspire your imagination. Each writing tip comes with a related writing exercise, and a new tip and exercise are added every fortnight.

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Writing Exercises

Reconsider the mundane

Genre: Poetry

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing, or gardening, or a specific genre of film, or long-distance running, or knitting (to name just a few possible examples). Once you’ve thought of what that ...

Andrew McMillan

Writing Tips

Rupture the mundane

Genre: Poetry

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough; that’s only half the battle. I think one of the main challenges is how we turn that concept into a concrete piece of writing. There’s that famou...

Andrew McMillan

Writing Exercises

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

1. Choose a word or short phrase which is the subject of the poem you wish to explore. It could even be the title you have in mind. 2. Write this in the middle of a blank page and brainstorm other words and language that are somehow phonetically related – he...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Tips

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

I’m interested in what happens when we alter or challenge the ‘conventional’ way of writing poetry – by which I mean that the poet writes, either in a notebook or on a computer, thinking of words as they come, recording them and then perhaps changing t...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Tips

Write the Family

Genre: Poetry

I’m sure most writers are familiar with the writing adage ‘write what you know’, and writing about your own family might seem to fit well with this piece of advice. But in my experience, there is so much mystery in the family – so much you don’t ...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Exercises

It’s All In The Name

Genre: Poetry

Our names – first names, surnames, maiden names, nicknames – carry all kinds of significance and are a great way into writing about the family. Many of us have stories about how we came about our names and how we feel about them. These might be about our f...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Exercises

Playing at families

Genre: Poetry

Many years ago I wrote a poem called ‘Playing at Families’ in which I imagined that my parents were tiny dolls that slept in matchboxes. It revealed a lot to me about my relationship with them. The writing of the poem brought me a new thought; this exercis...

Caroline Bird

Writing Tips

Vuja de

Genre: Poetry

‘New experiences’ are often cited as creative fuel but let’s face it, life can be repetitive, most of us sleep in the same bed every night, ride the same trains, see the same people every day, embark upon different versions of the same conversations, so ...

Caroline Bird

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