How to Develop Your Creative Writing Process

creative writing process

What is your creative writing process?

What steps do you take to get a creative writing project completed? Is your method sheer madness?

One day, many years ago, I was working in an office. The executives were having a meeting to discuss new procedures. It was a hot day and the conference room was small and crowded, so the door was open. As I passed by on my way to the filing room, I overheard my boss saying, “Melissa can handle that. She’s very methodical.”

Methodical. I tried it on and decided yes, it fit. “I am methodical,” I declared, and went about my business.  Read More

Debunking Common Myths About Writing

myths about writing

Have you fallen for any of these myths about writing?

Myths abound in the world of the arts, and writers are not immune to them. Many of us succumb to the fallacies that are floating around about what it means to be a writer or what it takes to become a writer.

So what’s the matter with falling for myths about writing?

Myths about writing lead to unrealistic expectations. Some of us end up believing that becoming a writer is easy. Others believe it’s impossible. We think writers are poor, drunk, or living in a state of perpetual despair. After all, one must struggle to become an artist, right?

Wrong. Read More

Ten Myths About Creativity

Myths about creativity

Myths about creativity.

Today I’d like to share an excerpt from my book 10 Core Practices for Better Writing.

This excerpt is from “Chapter Nine: Creativity,” which offers insights and tips to help you stay inspired and creative as a writer. The excerpt I’ve chosen presents ten myths about creativity. These are notions about creativity that people assume, even though many of them are counterproductive to creativity.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou  Read More

Keep Writing!

keep writing

Don’t give up. Keep writing!

When life gets hectic, it’s impossible to get your creative writing done. Inspiration might be knocking, but the house is so full, you’re not sure you can open the door and let it in. How can you keep writing?

What if all you need is sixty seconds?

We all have responsibilities to fulfill and obligations to meet. We’ve got bills to pay, jobs to do, children to care for, and pets to play with. The lawn has to be mowed, garbage taken out, laundry done, dishes cleaned; the list goes on and on and on. Read More

20 Creative Writing Careers

creative writing careers

Creative writing careers — they’re out there!

If creative writing is your passion, then you’d probably enjoy a career in which you could spend all day (or at least most of the day) pursuing that passion.

But creative writing is an artistic pursuit, and we all know that a career in the arts isn’t easy to come by.

It takes hard work, drive, dedication, a whole lot of spirit, and often, a willingness to take big financial risks — as in not having much money while you’re waiting for your big break.

When we think of people who make a living through writing, novelists and journalists come to mind immediately. But what other jobs are out there for folks who want to make creative writing the work that puts food on the table? Read More

Creative Writing: Skill vs. Talent

skill vs talent

What wins in a battle of skill vs. talent?

Is effective and compelling creative writing borne of skill or talent?

There has always been much debate about whether artistically inclined trades are a matter of learned skill or inherent talent.

On the one hand, there is the belief that some are born with an active and imaginative right brain and are therefore better able to manifest creativity. On the other hand, some argue that creative skills can be learned and mastered.

When it comes to creative writing, I believe that skill and talent work together. In fact, I would argue that almost every writer whose work is worth reading has some combination of both acquired writing skill and natural talent. Read More

How to Be More Creative in Your Writing

how to be more creative

How to be more creative when you’re writing.

Here’s an age-old question: is creative writing an art or a craft?

Artistically minded writers will say that writing is most definitely an art while those who who think more analytically will claim writing is a skill, a trade, and a business.

My answer is that writing can be either an art or a craft, and usually it’s both. You can approach writing armed with learned skills and an ability to string words together in a sensible manner, or you can approach writing as a purely creative endeavor and call it your art or your passion.

Both approaches work, and either one can lead to good, strong writing. However, the best writing is a hybrid. It’s both an art and a craft, a marriage between skill and creativity in writing. Read More

How to Collect Writing Ideas While You’re Procrastinating Online

writing ideas

Work while you play: gather writing ideas while procrastinating

I love the web. In fact, I think it’s the single greatest invention of the twentieth century. It allows people to meet, connect, conduct business, and gather information quickly and easily, all from the comfort of…well, anywhere. It’s also an entertainment mecca. All that art! Music! Films! Literature! And games.

The web is an enormous resource center, playground, and time suck.

We’ve all been there: You hop on the web to look up a quick fact, check your e-mail, or post an update to one of your (many) social media profiles. But what was supposed to be a two-minute action item stretches into a two-hour adventure as you click through an endless stretch of videos, articles, and cat memes. Read More

Got Writer’s Block? 23 Creative Writing Activities That Don’t Involve Writing

creative writing activities

Creative writing activities – no writing required!

Writer’s block happens. And let me be clear: I don’t believe in writer’s block as an excuse for not writing. Most of the time, when a writer self-diagnoses writer’s block, it’s really a case of I-should-be-writing-but-I’d-rather-be-doing-something-else or my-muse-has-left-the-building-and-I’m-too-lazy-to-look-for-her.

There’s never an excuse for not writing, but there are times when the best course of action is to take a break and do something else. If you’ve been writing all day, then you deserve a break. If you pumped out 10,000 words this week, then you deserve to put down your notebook or step away from that work-in-progress, give your writing muscles a good rest, and engage in non-writing activities.

What you’re about to get are a bunch of writing activities that don’t require you to sit at your computer staring at a blinking cursor for hours on end.

But you’re still a writer, so here’s the catch: you tackle these activities in a way that only a writer would. Read More

Where Do Successful Authors Get Their Most Brilliant Writing Ideas?

Where do authors get their best writing ideas

Where do authors get their best writing ideas?

Do writing ideas just fall out of the sky? Is it reasonable to sit around waiting for a great idea to land on your lap, so you can write the next big bestseller?

I don’t think so.

When it comes to developing worthwhile writing ideas, it’s either feast or famine for most of us. Some writers have so many ideas, we can’t decide which one to pursue. Other writers struggle to find something worth writing about; they don’t have enough ideas.

And even if you have a compelling idea, the idea itself might not sustain a story or a poem. It’s not enough to have a concept: you need characters, settings, plots, subplots, and themes.

When writers are at a loss for ideas, they often self-diagnose with writer’s block. I believe that’s a misdiagnosis. People struggling with writer’s block aren’t at a loss for ideas. Many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough), or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas. I also think that poor health or stress are sometimes misread as writer’s block, in which case the only cure is to take better care of oneself.

However, for the rest of us who are struggling to find the right ideas, there’s no shortage of sources we can turn to for inspiration. Why not start at the top? Why not find out where some of the most successful authors have gotten their brilliant writing ideas? If that doesn’t inspire us, I don’t know what will. Read More