The Boggle writing exercise experiment

Writer’s block—the bane of any scribe’s existence. At some point, the story well dries or the right words just won’t appear magically on the page. We stare at blank screens and paper, waiting for the muse to strike. And then it’s four years later and you find that your writing portfolio is woefully outdated and the most you’ve written is a witty tweet three months ago.


I have devised a way to get myself back into the habit of regular writing. Merely setting up a blog wasn’t enough (as is evidenced through four years of sporadic entries). I’m developing a writing exercise based on my love of word games. It’s no secret that I am Boggle-minded. Other people may go for the more strategic and studious Scrabble but I thrive on the adrenaline that comes from liberating as many words as I can from an unforgiving cube in three minutes. I’ve mastered the art of anagrams. The triangular placement of E, T, and A offer several opportunities for points on their own. Combine them with a couple of other consonants and an S and I’m halfway to the winner’s circle.

My strategy of any word search is in detecting relationships between letters. For the purposes of my writing exercise, I’m expanding my strategy to include relationships between words. If you’ve ever looked at your list of words before reading them off to your opponents, you might’ve noticed some connections between words. Maybe your cube included words like “kiss,” “slut,” “tease,” and “kill.” Just reading words like that, you’re halfway to a story already.

The rules of my Boggle exercise are still in development. Obviously, I get the fun of three minutes of word searching. After I have my list, I write stream of consciousness to use the words on the list. It would be limiting to write using only the found words, so I incorporate the found words into the prose.

No poetry or lyrics. Rhyming words can be plentiful with the right shake of the cube and it would be easy to dash off a little poem or two with sing-songy rhymes. But I’m no poet. I’m not well-versed in reading or writing poetry. (My personal opinion that poetry can be pretentious colours any attempt I might make.)

The goal is to use all the words. So far, I haven’t succeeded. Sometimes there are words that don’t comfortably fit into the stream of conscious narrative. Or words that are too common. Or words that came up in the last exercise that I choose not to reuse. The goal is not to tie these exercises together but to let the brain go off into new directions.

To keep myself honest and committed to the project, I will post the exercises here along with the list of found words. I can’t guarantee these writings to make sense or have any sort of story or sound structure. I can promise cheesy alliteration (I do loves me some alliteration) and the messy process of writing. Stay tuned.


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