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Writing Exercise: Anxiety of an Athlete

Updated: 6 days ago

gymnast with hoola hop

A gymnast before an important performance

Introduction to the exercise and its purpose:

This exercise aims to use the “Show, Don't Tell” technique to describe complex moods such as anxiety and tension without making the character's feelings explicit through dialogue. Through detailed description of physical actions and environmental reactions, writers can construct an emotionally charged scene that conveys the gravity of the moment.


Luisa, a young gymnast, is preparing in the final moments before her performance at the national championships, an event that has the potential to define her future career.

The exercise:

Recount Luisa's preparations in the minutes leading up to her performance. Focus on her movements, her interaction with objects around her, and her physical reactions to the sports hall environment, such as the noise of the crowd or the coldness of the metal floor under her bare feet.

Suggestions and development of the exercise:

Describe how Luisa laces up her cleats with slightly trembling hands, a detail that might not be noticed by everyone but is very significant. You might include her tendency to often look toward the competition area, then look away, trying to control her anxiety. Show how he warms up, perhaps with more mechanical and repetitive movements than usual, a sign of his internal tension. It also illustrates his breathing, which becomes more labored as the time to enter the stage approaches. Conclude with an extended pause where Luisa closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and approaches the platform, ready to turn her tension into performance.


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