The exercise – Make a list of concrete nouns. Now take the abstract noun life and try forming remote associations between it and each of the concrete nouns. Word your comparison in this way:
Life is like…
Once you’ve done this exercise with life try other abstract nouns. Try anger, happiness, wealth and so on.
Life is like a train – every journey departs from a starting point, moves along steadily, sometimes the train breaks down or derails but eventually it gets to the end of the journey
Life is like a painting – it starts bright and colourful, being admired and wanted, eventually the colour fades away
Anger is like a tornado – everything is calm, no one knows when one will come. Eventually the tornado arrives, turns everything upside down and when it goes, the wreck has to be cleared. Eventually clam returns.
Happiness is like a book – you don’t know what it is like until you look inside
I found this exercise quite hard as this kind of association is not natural to me. I cheated a little in the sense that I had to take some time to think of concrete nouns that I could compare to the given abstract nouns (I used the abstract nouns the author suggested, it was hard enough thinking of the concrete ones). So altogether the exercise took much longer than five minutes but I stuck to the five minutes of writing.