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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

Expressing the inexpressible

Genre: Poetry

This exercise is very simple, but it’s an exercise that touches on both the material and language of poems. 1. Think for five minutes and make notes about an experience or a place or a time or a thought or a feeling or a notion that you feel would be difficu...

Jacob Polley

Writing Tips

Writing the unspoken

Genre: Poetry

quicken: to accelerate; to impart energy or liveliness to; to invigorate; to stimulate; to give life to; to revive; to move faster; become alive or lively; to revive; to be stimulated; (of a pregnant woman) to reach the stage in pregnancy when the movement of ...

Jacob Polley

Writing Exercises

An art collaboration

Genre: Poetry

You don’t have to know an artist to collaborate with them. They don’t even need to be alive. Take your notebook to an art gallery, preferably at a quiet time of day. Wander until a painting/sculpture/installation/photo etc catches your eye. You might like ...

Katrina Naomi

Writing Tips

Drafting and editing poetry

Genre: Poetry

Write poetry by hand. Go on, try it, even if you always write directly on the computer. I find I feel more connected, more able to take risks, more able to make mistakes. When you’ve written your first draft, don’t rush off to something else, sit there for...

Katrina Naomi

Writing Exercises

Rooting our writing

Genre: Poetry

Consider the things we amass during the course of our lives. Not the carefully chosen items but the ephemera we cannot bring ourselves to throw away. Some have overt sentimental value: my father’s watch or my old dog’s last collar. Other things are less ob...

Alicia Stubbersfield

Writing Tips

Valuing the ordinary in our poetry

Genre: Poetry

My tip is to never underestimate the importance of the everyday. Root your poems in the reality of ordinary objects so that the object will do the work for you. T.S. Eliot talked about using an ‘objective correlative’ where the object stands for the emotio...

Alicia Stubbersfield

Writing Exercises

Finding and Keeping the Language of Nature

Genre: Poetry

Your exercise is to take a natural history field-guide and locate a poem within it. Write it out as your own, before altering it as you wish in order to make a final poem that imitates the precision of language of a field-guide, and a precision of your own obs...

David Morley

Writing Tips

First and last line

Genre: Poetry

When drafting your poems it is worth giving special consideration to the first and last lines as they function differently to the other lines in a poem. They are the frame within which the remainder of the poem sits and they are often the lines that the reader...

Stevie Ronnie

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