You might ask: What does ‘flunky’ have to do with writing exercises? Funny you should ask, because I’m having trouble finding a way to meld a slick answer to that question into the meat of my post.

No dice. My cogitation has failed. There is a total paucity of ideas vis-a-vis the melding into the meat.

Have I failed?

Perish the thought! I haven’t even done my writing exercise yet. I’ve gotten plenty of other exercise though, phew. I walked about 3 1/2 miles on Wednesday (I always have to stop as I write that day’s name… the D goes BEFORE the N…) and I walked about a mile and a half yesterday.

Still overly weighted.

Okay, so flunky. Today’s writing exercise is the choosing of random words and then a ten minute freewrite, using the random words. What is it supposed to do? Jumpstart the creative engine. Get the creative juices flowing. Nurture creative seeds to burst forth and bloom. Saute the creative meat… nope. That one didn’t work.

Here’s how I will get my random words. I shall go to an article on and choose the seventh noun, the fifteenth noun, and the first active verb. Here they come.

Ship, pirates, escape.

Okay, those are my random words. I shall now use them all in a brief, free-written narrative. This will be a ten minute freewrite.

In the word of Inigo Montoya: Begin.

Last night might have been the most ridiculous night of my life. There I was innocently, no seriously, walking along a deserted pier on a mist-blanketed waterfront, a backpack bursting with unmarked bills on my back, and I saw a dog.

I say dog, but what I really mean is the most terrifying creature ever seen. Allow me to explain. It had four legs, a long tail, and a long tongue that gave it the impression of panting. But I think maybe it was a cold-blooded creature of some kind that used its tongue to taste the world around it.

But that was no dog. Nope. Its shoulders came to about as high as my navel, I’m 5′ 10″, and if it had stood on its hind legs, its head would have been higher than me. In the mist-blanketed dark, it looked like it had fur, but that wasn’t fur anyone should pet. Its body was actually covered in scale-like stuff, not small enough to be cilia, but numerous enough to look like fur. It stuck up all over the body, at varying angles, so you couldn’t have even petted the thing with the grain of its fur/scales.

The last thing I should mention is that its eyes glowed pale yellow. No, there was one more thing… It spoke.

The dog thingamajig said, “You are he?”

I stopped, my heart hammering like a pneumatic hammer on meth. I grunted, although I had meant to say, “Uh?”

The thing made a noise that sounded like a cross between an old train and a.. well.. a fart. “You. You it is that I wait for?”

Okay, so now the thing had become a terrifying Yoda. “Nope!” I turned to escape what I was sure was my imminent doom. I got about fifteen feet before something landed on my back. Something. Right. Terrifying Yoda, I mean.

“You it is! Food you carry!” Terrifying Yoda tore at my backpack with its teeth.

I scrabbled at the old wooden planks. Nothing doing. Cool breath blew on my neck. Suddenly a tearing sound.

“Found! To the ship we go!” The T-Y grabbed my foot in its huge mouth and, breaking the skin only slightly, proceeded to drag me down the pier, turning right down a path were a bunch of ships were moored.

And now my time is up.

Interesting. Might have to pursue that one.

So that’s a good writing exercise for any creative writer who’s just trying to get things going. Devise a way that you can get several random words, then give yourself ten minutes to free-write something. The activity is uncontrolled enough that your imagination is given free rein to roam (alliteration!), but there is enough structure to keep things civilized.

You might have noticed I didn’t use ‘pirates’ in the free-write. I was getting there. I didn’t have a way to put it into the narrative that was taking shape without it being forced or artificial.

This writing exercise was adapted from one I found on, which is one of the many handy writer sites out there.

Wasn’t that fun? Go do it yourself now. No, really, go do it. This kind of activity is refreshing and somewhat liberating. It can help you overcome writer’s block, get you out of a rut, or just kick start your day.

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