Writing Exercise #1: Your Town

This exercise is the first in a series sent each week to young writers in the Highlands & Islands. It is meant to provide inspiration for new work, even if they have very little time. Each exercise takes about ten minutes to complete, and can be used as a one-off or a starting point for a longer writing project. Our goal is to help young people write creatively, no matter the end result or how much time they have to spend doing it.

Writing exercise #1 – Your World

This exercise comes from the multi-talented Hamish MacDonald, who recently kick started a songwriting project with a group of young people from Inverness.

First, watch the video of Hamish singing the song ‘Our Town,’ by Iris Dement. Listen closely to the lyrics. They give us a clear picture of what the town was like, how she felt about the place at first and how that changes over time.

Now think about your own town or world. It can be your hometown or your current town if you have moved on. Consider the places you go regularly: the shops, the chippie, any hangouts that you and your friends have discovered. What do these places mean to you? Describe these in as much detail as possible, using all five senses.

This writing can take any form you like. You may want to write your own song lyrics, a poem, or a list. If you are more into stories, use this as the setting for a story of your choosing, realistic or completely fantastical.

Once you are done, you can share the result on our online forum, where other young people from the Highlands & Islands can support you on your quest as a budding author. You can also go here to ask questions, seek writing advice, and share anything you think is cool and relevant to the community.

If you live in Ross-shire, you are invited to submit your writing and a photo to the Dingwall Youth Kafe for display during their Book Festival from the 15-17 October. Email them for more details.

Would you like us to send you a short writing exercise each week until December? Email Kelsey to join our Young Writers’ mailing list to receive this and other updates.

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