These days, we writers use computers, electronic tablets, and even our smart phones for most of our creative writing. But a lot of us admit there’s still something about good old-fashioned pen and paper that really gets creativity flowing.
It’s difficult to brainstorm on a computer or jot down notes and random thoughts, and it’s impossible to doodle in the margins (unless you have fancy equipment). So for journal writing, note-taking, and brainstorming sessions, I find electronics to be confining.
Over the years, I’ve collected hordes of journals and notebooks. Some of them are pretty and whimsical. Others are simple and functional. I always go through lots of spiral notebooks for business note-taking, but when it comes to creative writing and brainstorming, I have learned (the hard way) that I have basic but specific needs that my notebooks and journals must fulfill. Read more
“If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.”
I believe this is a truth that goes beyond writing. When we surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, we in turn become more positive and supportive, fostering a nurturing environment that is conductive to achieving our fullest potential — as writers and as human beings. Read more
All around the world, we have officially entered the holiday season. It’s a time for giving thanks, enjoying the company of loved ones, and gorging on scrumptious feasts. It’s also a time of giving.
While I have mixed feelings about the unbridled consumption that pervades America at this time of year, I also have a deep affinity for the act of giving. It’s not unusual for me to spend hours choosing the perfect gifts for loved ones. In fact, I started my holiday shopping several weeks ago, so I would have plenty of time to make my selections.
I’m also a firm believer that during this time of year, when we look outward and offer gifts to the most important people in our lives, we should also be generous with ourselves. Read more
Today’s post includes prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
Writing is a tool we can use to express ourselves or share our ideas. But it can also be used to help us think.
Writing forces us to articulate our thoughts and ideas, which in turn forces us to scrutinize our thinking. Tackling complex issues and dynamic questions with writing is an excellent way to sharpen our critical thinking skills, clarify our thought processes, and challenge our views.
Today’s creative writing prompts are designed to provoke deeper thinking. Are you willing to take up the challenge? Read more
You might call your journal a notebook or diary. It’s the handy place where you store your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and your work, either on paper or in an electronic file.
A journal is an ongoing log, usually with dated entries. Some journals are topical (dream journals, travel journals, freewriting journals), while others are left open to explore just about anything. Read more
Whenever I’m working on a story idea, I spend a lot of time during the development stages making character sketches and writing backstories for my characters. I usually end up with too many of them, so some characters get cut. The lucky ones get resurrected in some other story.
Some of my favorite stories are plot-driven, but character-driven stories tend to resonate with me on a deeper level, which is why I believe that regardless of plot, stories with strong and compelling character arcs are the best. They start with a character who wants something, and we see the character through conflict after conflict until he or she emerges changed, usually stronger and for the better. Read more
The more experience I gain as a writer, the more I’m convinced that writing is one of the most difficult skills to master.
It’s not enough to tell a great story, share an original idea, or create an intriguing poem; writers are also obligated to pay diligence to the craft. While the content (or message) of our writing is paramount, the way we use language can be just as critical. Read more
Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter four: “Theme.” Enjoy!
What is the Theme of a Story?
Theme is one of the most difficult story elements to understand. Often confused with plot, theme is actually a worldview, philosophy, message, moral, ethical question, or lesson. However, these labels, taken alone or together, don’t quite explain theme in fiction. Read more
Creative people are always looking for inspiration, and writers are no exception.
We look to the people in our lives, to nature, and to the books, music, and films that we love. We call on our muses, we doodle, and we daydream. We record our dreams, meditate, and contemplate. And we do all these things in an attempt to find breakthrough creative writing ideas.
But we really need look no further than our local news stand, where creative writing ideas are aplenty.
Open up a newspaper, turn on the news, or surf over to your favorite news website. Guess what you’ll find? Stories. Lots and lots of stories. And lots of writing ideas. Read more
How comfortable are you with your writing?
Many writers specialize in a genre or niche. Creative writers are focused on fiction or poetry, copywriters specialize in marketing, and technical writers are bound by jargon and code that other writers might find impossible to decipher.
Sure, some of us explore various types of writing, but how deeply are we willing to immerse ourselves into unfamiliar waters?
A novelist might dip her toes in copywriting. A copywriter might wade in children’s literature. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dive into a completely new form of writing or what it would be like to explore a form you’ve only tested? Are you willing to challenge yourself and get creative by trying something new? Read more