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Right, but, surely that can’t be it, can it?

It can. 

But, of course, we can look at it in a bit more detail:


  1. Count your words. This is the best way to measure progress. If you are able to write 86 words the first time you try this, I guarantee you’ll be at 120 by the end of the week. Keep track of your scores and feel very, very proud of yourself.

  2. Vary the topic. See below for some ideas of topics, but the possibilities really are endless. Set yourself a little schedule of twenty different topics over four weeks, for example.

  3. Repeat the same topic. If you know you’re going to be reading lots on a particular topic one week, try doing a ten-minute writing before you begin and again afterwards. See how much more vocabulary and ideas you have.

  4. Check and improve. This is essentially a fluency exercise, which means we’re more interested in the speed of your thinking than in your accuracy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spend ten minutes after you’ve finished reading back through and correcting or changing bits of your language. You could even do this a week or two later.

Click on the .pdf link to download my free Writing Topic Calendar which gives you creative writing ideas for a whole month.


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This is one of my all time favourite tasks and any student who stands still long enough in my presence will wind up doing this (whether they like it or not!). The premise of the activity is simple and endlessly adaptable and it really should be in every student’s self-study arsenal.

Man Writing

  The Basics:

  1. Set the timer on your phone to ten minutes and grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper.

  2. Start the timer and start writing. Do not stop. Don’t google a word, or worry about grammar, just keep going.

  3. When the timer stops - stop writing. That’s it!

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