English writing exercises

The best way to improve your English writing skills is to write every day, or at least as regularly as possible. But sometimes it’s hard to think of something to write about. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the list of practice English writing exercises below.

‘A picture is worth 1000 words

Find a picture in a newspaper or magazine, or use the random image generator at http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-images.php. Try writing a story describing what happened leading up to the photo, what’s about to happen, what was happening when the photo was taken, etc. If you can’t come up with a story for the first one or two photos feel free to choose another one, but remember not to spend too much time looking for the perfect picture. The idea is to stretch your imagination, not to keep searching until you find the exact right photo.

‘I remember when…’

Think back to a memory from your childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Write it out as a story in as much detail as possible, as though you were retelling it in a novel. Practice writing out dialogue and narration, and set the scene so your audience can ‘see’ where the action took place.

Books at random

Find the closest book to you and open it to a random page. Locate the first full sentence on the left-hand page and use it as a story starter. It isn’t necessary to begin your story with the exact sentence as it’s written if it won’t work as a first sentence, but think about how you can work it into your first paragraph and where you can go from there.

‘How would I…?’

One important skill in writing is the ability to present information sequentially. To help with this, try writing out directions for doing something like baking a cake, washing a load of laundry or changing the oil in your car. Imagine that you’re writing them for someone who has never done that task before, so you must make sure you include every step in your directions.

Interview with the past

Imagine that you’re interviewing a well-known person from the past. Begin by writing your questions, and then imagine how that person would answer your questions. Write up their answers, trying to emulate their style of speaking, vocabulary, level of knowledge, etc.


Writing letters to pen-pals used to be much more popular than it is today. Even if you don’t have a pen-pal of your own, you can imagine that you do. Think about what you’d write to someone who lives on the other side of the world about what’s going on in your country, or just describe where you live, your family, what you like to do, etc.

‘Dear me…’

If you could talk to yourself ten years in the future, what would you say? Try writing a letter to yourself that does just that. You can give yourself advice, reminisce about what’s going on in your life or make predictions about what you think the future will be like.

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