Writing Assignment: Practice Your ABCs

by Randy Murray on June 8, 2012

When you are struggling to answer the question “what should I write about?” it’s sometimes helpful to ask an alternative question:  How will I write? When using a puzzle or structure as a basis for writing you can free yourself from the concerns about your subject and first focus on achieving a specific goal. After you’ve completed your objective, you can put it aside, rewrite or edit as needed, and move on.

One of the simplest methods for doing this is to use your ABCs. Pick up a piece of paper, write an A on the first line, B on the next, and so on. Then pick a subject, any subject, and try and write coherently starting each line (not necessarily sentence), with the designated letter.

And it can be fun!

For today’s assignment, write a short descriptive piece about your current location starting each line with the next alphabet letter. You may use as few or as many letters as you desire. The further along the alphabet you go, the more challenging your piece will be. Let yourself relax and write, looking for that upcoming next letter as a place to start the next line, but remember, you don’t have more than 26 lines!

Note: This exercise may be easier to do with a pen and paper. Line lengths on computer screens can vary. My example below may not display correctly depending on your browser settings (but it worked fine with I drafted it).

Here’s my example:

At my desk early this morning I found my list of tasks for today to be long,
But worrying about it wasn’t going to make the list shorter. I’ll refill my
Cup of coffee and get started. If I’m going to get these completed in my busy
Day I’m going to have to be methodical. A couple big things sit near my
Empty inbox. They can wait. But eventually I’ll have to get up and feed the
Fish. I’ll also need to remind myself to
Get up out of this chair and move around. If I sit
Here too long I know my back pain will flare, ending my productivity.
Instead I’ll plan for breaks, look out the window, enjoy this late spring day, and
Juggle the tasks that need completing.


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