As any Barefoot Writer can attest, great writing doesn’t just happen. It’s really a combination of persistence and constant inspiration.

That’s why we’ve compiled a week’s worth of writing exercises to help you improve your writing skills. Practice one exercise each day for a week, and then see how much easier the words flow when you sit down to tackle any writing project.

For each of these daily exercises, give yourself 30 minutes — and no more.

Writing Exercise – Day 1

List three writing-related goals you have for the next six months. Under each goal, write out five things you need to do to achieve that goal.

For example, your goal might be to learn how to write emails. Five things you could do to achieve that goal over the next six months could be:

  1. Take a course on email writing, such as Guillermo Rubio’s How to Write High Impact Emails.
  2. Set aside 10 or 15 minutes each day to practice writing emails.
  3. Read at least three books about email writing.
  4. Join an online community that focuses on email writing.
  5. Subscribe to a regular e-newsletter about email writing, either paid or free.

Added benefit: Writing out your goals improves your focus and clarity.

Writing Exercise – Day 2

Write a thank you note to a person, object, or something else.

Have fun with this. You might want to thank a person who has helped you. But you could also be thankful for your coffee maker, or for a local park where you enjoy spending time.

Write a note to whoever – or whatever – you’d like to thank. Share why you’re thankful, and how they’ve benefitted your life in as much detail as possible.

Added benefit: You’ll build your “writing muscles” by forcing yourself to zero in on experiences instead of words.

Writing Exercise – Day 3

Write out the titles of five blog posts you’d like to write, or the titles of five books you’d like to write.

Added benefit: Planting the seeds for future writing ideas makes it easier to come up with content later on.

Writing Exercise – Day 4

Think about where you’d most like to live in the world. Paint a vivid description of that place in 500 words or less. Include details about what your writer’s life will look like there.

For example, will you sit on the beach at dawn, your laptop by your side? Will you jot down notes in a journal from an outdoor café in Paris?

Added benefit: There’s considerable power in visualization, so picturing your writer’s life the way you’d like it to look someday can bring you closer to your goals.

Writing Exercise – Day 5

Write a letter to yourself that makes the case for why you should pursue your dream to write for a living. Be sure to address the question of why you deserve to live life on your own terms.

Added benefit: Addressing your own reservations and arguments early on makes you more likely to overcome them.

Writing Exercise – Day 6

Visit a park or a café and sit. Listen to the conversations you hear around you.

Choose one conversation and turn it into a short story. Be sure to describe your characters using the visual cues you see around you.

Added benefit: Learning to collect ideas from your environment makes you more attuned to rich details.

Writing Exercise – Day 7

Spend 10 minutes on Facebook or Twitter, looking for story ideas or creative inspiration.

Take note of anything you find and keep it handy for your next writing project.

Added benefit: Studying posts presented by different people makes it easier to understand unique voices and create future story characters.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that all writers continue to learn and develop their skills as they progress in their writing career. This is a natural part of being a writer, and using writing exercises like these will help build and improve your writing skills every day.