Clustering Exercises Can Help Inspire Creative Writing

by - September 07, 2022



Even creative writers with lots of ideas occasionally need an idea to get them started. Clustering exercises are natural for creative writers.

Sometimes even creative writers that have an abundance of ideas get stuck. Clustering exercises are good not only for generating new ideas but also for exploring ideas that aren't fully developed.

Creative writing exercises and activities are a wonderful way to help aspiring storytellers and novelists get back in touch with their creative side. Clustering is one of the most inspirational exercises that can be done with a group, but it can also be enjoyed by an individual. It is used by essay writers who help those who ask to “write my essay” or provide study assistance. If you want to get more creative juices flowing, try this exciting and invigorating exercise today. Here are some ideas on how to do a clustering exercise and different ways to use them.


Clustering Exercises for Exploring New Ideas

A clustering exercise is a lot like simple brainstorming or even freewriting, but it's more controlled. A student begins with an idea, either a word or a phrase, most likely something she thinks she wants to explore further. She draws a circle around this phrase. She then lets her mind wander and when she thinks of something related, she draws a line off the circle that connects to another circle. Inside the new circle, she writes the related word or phrase.

If another word or phrase (or several, for that matter) that relates to the new idea comes to mind, she can connect new circles to the new idea. But new ideas related to the old idea can branch off the original circle. The main point is that - unlike brainstorming a long list of seemingly random ideas - all ideas branch off of and connect in some way.

For example, a student might know that she wants to write a story having to do with ghosts. She might begin her cluster with the word "ghosts" as the center circle. Sub-ideas that branch off the first word could be ideas like "haunted house," "scary movies," and "real-life ghost stories." Sometimes these branches will die off with nothing to offer. Others will make the writer think of more and more ideas.

If suddenly, inspiration hits, the writer has a beginning point for her story or poem, or - at the very least - a hook. Perhaps, though, she winds up with a large cluster on her paper and no inspiration. She can still use this exercise. She can choose one particularly inspiring phrase or word and use it as the inner circle for a new cluster.


Clustering Exercise for Developing Ideas

Maybe a writer has a great idea but it's only half-developed. He's written half a short story and is now stuck! He knows that his main character is going to die by the end but every idea he's had up to this point has felt forced and contrived. Clustering might help him come up with a more believable idea.

Clustering often works with getting writers "unstuck," because essay writers feel they can let loose creatively. They don't have to - for the time being, at least - "stick to the script." They can explore new ideas and new territory without "messing up" what they've already written. It's a safe alternative for writers who want to explore ideas that they've had a hard time writing about.

Clustering in this way works the same way it does in the new ideas way. The writer simply writes a word or phrase in the inner circle, one he wants to look at closely. Then he branches out, writing down new words and ideas as they come to him.


Clustering is Another Exercise for Creative Writers to Add to Their Repertoire

Sometimes creative writers rely on the same exercises over and over to generate ideas, but what if even the old exercises don't help? Clustering is yet another way for creative writers to generate ideas. Again, it may seem less haphazard than freewriting or clustering because it adds a little more control, and often all the ideas are related to one another, so sometimes the writer will wind up using all the ideas on the page.

It's always best to have more than one way to find inspiration or loosen writer's block, and clustering is another exercise that will help.

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