An easy metaphor for any skill is to look at it like a muscle. There are exercises for your memory, exercises for acting, and in turn there are creative writing exercises.
If you have been working consistently on your creative writing, then when you sit down to work on a major story or script, it's a challenge, but it's not the end of the world. If you haven't been writing and you try to tackle even a scene or two, it can feel extremely difficult. It's like trying to bench press two hundred pounds when you can only lift about fifty-five.
This muscle metaphor is courtesy of my favorite drama professor,
Joan Darling, and while she was referring to acting, the comparison holds true for all creative pursuits. If you do not practice writing, when you have the opportunity to write, it will feel like reinventing the wheel.
These exercises (in progress of being created) will help you to build up your creative writing muscles, so that when the time comes for you to write you will be able. You might not even need a spotter :).
My first exercise is an homage to the home land. It will help you to create a large amount of writing ideas from your youth. Please check outThe Home Town.
Writing, or any creative venture, sometimes puts a lot of pressure on our emotions. People can either control this in a healthy way or in an unnatural way. I suggest you take the path of relaxation.
Let's face it, some of us writers and creative types have an extremely short attention span. One way to deal with this is to write a full work in a very short period of time. Try the the 24 Hour Play on for size.
If you're home for the holidays, use this creative writing exercise to give you some character creation ideas. It's tough to keep your characters focused, especially if you work in an improvisation-esque style like myself. One way is to make sure your characters have objectives, read What Do I Want for some pointers.
While I am still putting together some helpful creative writing exercises, feel free to check out these free creative writing prompts to get you started.