WRITING EXERCISE: No regerts

writing exercise no regrets

<LE SIGH> Where does the time go? All those things you planned on doing (like writing your novel – natch), all those things you wish you’d appreciated, all those things you wish you’d said – or didn’t say… Things pass us by. Life sideswipes us. It’s okay. It happens to the best of us. Don’t let it get you down. Today is a brand new day and there’s no time for regrets.

Except… maybe there’s something useful to be found in the things we wish we’d done or said. Maybe mining our regrets for emotion and conflict (and perhaps writing ourselves a fictional happy ending) might be just what we need to write a brilliantly insightful story.

So harness your FOMO, your grouchy disappointment and woulda-coulda-shoulda regretfulness and STICK IT IN A STORY. You might just find it cathartic.

Take a regret and rewrite it the way it should have happened.

Write that mic-dropping, snappy, killer comeback you wish you’d had the presence of mind to deliver at the perfect moment.

Look at a regretful situation from a different perspective and find the silver lining.

Gif of Ron Burgundy from Anchorman looking panicked, saying, "I immediately regret this decision."

[A SIDENOTE: Okay, okay, we realise this isn’t the happiest of subjects to dwell on, so if you don’t fancy writing about one of your own regrets then it’s absolutely fine to steal one. We spotted this (somewhat devastating) article on the subject, which could be a good place to start. Or, to take a different angle, why not try to solve one of the world’s unsolved mysteries?]

Whatever regret you choose, your challenge is to totally turn it around – resolve that unfinished business, make your peace, do the thing you always wanted to do, confront that childhood bully, apologise to someone, follow your dreams, do whatever you need to do, just make sure you manage to subvert that regret into something you (or your totally fictional character) can be proud of.

Set a timer, spend 20 minutes making your regrets disappear, and then tuck your story away and give yourself a break.

Photo showing someone's inner forearm with a large tattoo that reads NO REGERTS
Jo Gatford

Jo Gatford

Jo is a writer who procrastinates about writing by writing about writing. She looks exactly like her avatar.
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