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

12 Places to Find Awesome Writing Ideas

where to find awesome writing ideas

Where to find awesome writing ideas.

We look high. We look low. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been looking forever and will keep looking forever more.

Ideas. They’re out there and we know it. But where are they hiding? Why do they keep escaping us? How can we catch them?

Writing ideas are not always easy to come by. Most ideas get tossed aside because they’re not original or interesting enough. So we constantly search for ideas that will capture our imaginations and keep us happily tapping away on our keyboards.

Not every writer is on this quest. Some writers are overwhelmed with inspiration¬†and can’t find enough time to realize every brilliant idea. The rest of us are always on the lookout for exciting writing ideas to add to our inspiration archives. Read More

How to Engage Readers with Emotionally Charged Writing

creative writing prompts

Creative writing prompts that you can really feel.

In fiction and poetry, one of the greatest skills that a writer can possess is the ability to make the reader feel. If you can engage readers on an emotional level, you’ll have them hooked.

Think about it. Most of the books, poems, movies, and TV shows that you love best are the ones with which you forged an emotional connection. You felt like the characters were your friends, so you felt for them. You felt with them.

Sounds easy, but emotionally effective writing can be a complex and difficult endeavor. Let’s look at a few simple guidelines you can use to produce emotionally compelling creative writing. Read More

How to Stay Inspired

writing ideas

How to stay inspired.

Writer’s block is probably the most frustrating experience any writer faces. You feel creative and you want to create, but you’re just not inspired.

It happens to most artists from time to time, this disconnect from the muse. Yet there are creative people who seem to have overcome artistic roadblocks — authors who publish multiple novels every year, filmmakers who produce annual blockbusters, and musicians who are on the top-ten list week after week. They know how to stay inspired, but how do they do it? Have they tapped into a secret, endless stream of ideas?

How can you tap into that stream? Read More

How to Play and Pretend Your Way to Breakthrough Writing Ideas

writing ideas

Play and pretend your way to writing ideas

My little niece used to love to sit with a grown-up book spread across her lap, reading a story out loud — except she couldn’t read yet. She was making it all up — pretending.

During play, she invented new words. One time we were playing with some toys, and I asked one of their names. Without missing a beat, she made up the name Hoken. Hoken sounds to me like a great name for a character in a science fiction or fantasy story.

Play and pretend can lead to some innovative writing ideas, whether you’re looking for a simple concept for starting a new writing project or trying to break through a block in a project that you’re already working on. Read More

10 Descriptive Writing Practices

descriptive writing

Descriptive writing: Do your readers see what you see?

Descriptive writing is the art of painting a picture with words.

In fiction, we describe settings and characters. In poetry, we describe scenes, experiences, and emotions. In creative nonfiction, we describe reality.

Classic literature was dense with description whereas modern literature usually keeps description to a minimum. Read More

How to Use Pinterest for Writing Ideas and Inspiration

pinterest

Using Pinterest for writing ideas.

Over the years, I’ve used various systems for organizing and storing my writing ideas.

Of course, I use notebooks and journals, which are great for keeping track of my own ideas and not so great for storing ideas I collect out in the world — materials culled from blogs, magazines, websites, and other mediums.

I’ve created folders on my hard drive for storing images I find online. I’ve had manila envelopes for stashing articles and images cut out of magazines and newspapers. Folders, boxes, scrapbooks…it all gets pretty messy and disorganized.

I’ve always wanted a way to keep everything in one medium (preferably electronic) and in one location. Pinterest has been an excellent way to save digital and online content. Read More