Author Workout

Reading is the most important training tool of an author. However, there are some other important training tips that will benefit you. The point of these exercises is to get you thinking everyday like an author.

Just like a boxer, dancer, musician, and gymnast use different techniques to train, writers need to incorporate several different routines in their Author Workout.

And here is the good news: There are no special writing assignments for these workouts! The more you spend on each of these, the more prepared you will be when you actually do sit down to write.


Location: Library, Target, Bookstore.

Overview: By training with books that are in the libraries and stores, you are learning what the end result looks like. If you know what your book will need to look like, then you can build toward that goal. 

Warm UP: Stand in the middle of a book section, at least three feet from the shelves. Sweep your eyes back and forth along each row. Which books caught your attention? What was the main reason those specific books stood out?


  • Read over fifty book titles, especially in the genre that you are writing. Get a sense of why each book was titled a certain way.
  • With those same fifty books, read the first line in each story. How powerful was the impact of those first lines?
  • Of those fifty books, choose ten and read the first paragraph. Understand the importance of getting off to a fast start.
  • In those same ten books, read the descriptions. This is important, because you will need to describe your book in one line, one paragraph, and one page. This will build up your confidence when asked, “What is your book about?”
  • In those same ten books, read what others are saying about the author and the book. Sprint past the phrases, “From the bestselling author,” or “Number one on the bestsellers list.” Instead, concentrate on the descriptive words.


Overview: The better you can describe something in your book, the better author you will be. When writing, your mind must be trained to see things that are not there, while making sure the reader can see the world that you have created. 

Location: Anywhere. 

Warm UP: Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. 

Exercises: (Do these exercises in your head. Do not write down your thoughts.)

  • Describe the people around you. If you are totally alone, then describe what it is like to be alone.
  • Describe the surrounding area. Are you in room, park, or in a mall? Look for the simplest of details. What is flawless? What are some of the imperfections?  What are the colors? Shapes?
  • Describe the sounds that you hear. There should be several at the same time, even if you are alone in a room. If it is raining, describe the drops hitting the pavement.
  • Start moving. Dart your eyes in every direction. What stands out? What noises appear? Which people are looking at you like you’re a mental patient?
  • Imagine what the craziest thing could happen right now. Stretch your imagination as much as possible.

WARNING! Authors who describe everything and everyone in their mind, have been known to go insane.


Location: Living Room, Bedroom.

Overview: Authors need an excuse to watch a DVD, but make it look like work.  

Warm UP: Make popcorn, grab a soda, and pick out a DVD. (You can also eat some sort of candy during this exercise, but limit the amount.)


  • Watch a DVD with the subtitles on. Understand why lines were written a certain way. Figure out why each word is important to that scene. It will be the same with your book; every word has a significant meaning.
  • Concentrate on what actors are wearing. How do their clothes fit their personality?
  • What kind of car does the actor drive? What about their home? Maybe none of that was introduced for a certain reason. What kind of background props and details did the actors have?
  • What emotion does each actor show, using their voice, expressions, and surrounding props? What exactly did the actor do when they became nervous, or angry, or sad? How was that significant to the story?
  • What scenes do you think were boring and which scenes were your eyes glued to the TV? What made the scene boring or exciting?
  • Notice how the story develops, from one scene to the next. Understand the flow and the timing of each storyline.
  • In the “Special Features” of DVD’s, discover how writers and producers come up with the ideas for the movie and how they created crucial scenes.

Daily Routine:

  • Read at least one hour of a book in your genre. This can be split up into a couple thirty minute workouts, or even six smaller ten minute workouts. Just try to get in your hour.
  • In addition, read at least fifteen minutes of a non-fiction, uplifting or spiritual book. These kinds of books are more beneficial in small bursts, so you have time to think about the words and apply them in your daily life.
  • Keep a notepad or voice recorder with you at all times. Once you start the Author Workouts, your imagination will be on overdrive. You will need to get those thoughts out of your mind and save for your writing.
  • Exercise your body at least twenty minutes. (Walk, run, lift weights, swim, bike, play like a kid.)
  • When you have long writing sessions, drink water. (As apposed to soda, coffee, or energy drinks.) Munch on peanuts. (Almonds are the best.)

Authors need to think, feel, and dress the part, so when it is time for you to write that story, your mind and imagination are in good shape.

Ron Knight

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  1. Donna Altman says:

    I didn’t realize I was doing a work out Love it. Sometimes when I’m blocked I walk outside, take a deep breath and visualize my characters. After that they start telling their own story. I just feel like the typist

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