• Craft,  Creativity

    Where Do We Get Our Ideas?

    The eternal question asked by and of writers. Where do you get your ideas from? In response to this frequently asked question, the divine Neil Gaiman has said: ‘I make them up,’ I tell them. ‘Out of my head.’ Well, obviously. Whatever we do and say, odds are, it probably originated from out of our heads. Including that little voice. The inner narrator, the one that watches two people at a bar or on the tube and invents an entire story around them. Stephen King, driving through the town of Ruth in Nevada, was struck by how quiet it was. Almost like a ghost town. He wondered idly where everyone was…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    Eight Tricks To Spark Creativity

    Creativity is that moment when your ideas come together in just the right way, you may see something that no one else did. The problem with creativity is that it's the hard work of the mind and sometimes the ideas just aren't there.

  • Craft,  Publishing

    Lessons learned From A Failed Video Game In the ‘80s

    As I listened to this episode, I couldn’t help but think that this is a morality tale for those writers who rush to publish. It doesn’t matter what creative work we do, whether it’s poetry, novels, or video games based on famous movies, if we don’t take the time to create it with skill and patience, we are disrespecting our field, insulting our readers and possibly making a mess in the desert. A rush job, the poor quality, the lack of respect, the short-sighted goal of a fast buck, is not the way to make art.

  • Craft,  Motivation

    Take The Easy Way Out And Get That Draft Done

    With all the memes out there about how HARD writing is, I think we tend to get the wrong idea about our work.  Sure, it can be hard to get started and it can be hard to work on certain aspects of our projects (particularly if it has challenging emotional content) but we don’t have to make it any harder than it is.  You don’t have anything to prove. Your writing doesn’t have to be hard to be worthwhile.  In fact, sometimes, taking the easy way out is the best approach to getting your writing done. Especially in the first draft.  There will be a time for working on the…

  • Craft,  Motivation,  Uncategorized

    Take 5 Friday: Work Like A (Real) Dog

    As a writer, you know that inspiration can come from anywhere. And, I’m sure you know that you can borrow skills, ideas, and methods from all kinds of different sources. Today, just for fun on this first Friday in September, I have some writerly advice for you from my dog. Since she refused to be interviewed, I just observed her and thought about how her approach to the world applies to writing. So, here’s some advice to help you work like a dog. (A real dog, not one of those metaphorical ones that the expression refers to.) Be curious and then follow the scent When we go outside, Khalee likes…

  • Craft,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Return to the Page: Coming Back to Your Writing After a Break

    OK, so you took some time away from your writing practice or your work-in-progress. Somehow, while you were gone, your work became this really huge challenging thing. Now, you feel weird and intimidated about starting again. I know how that feels!  It has happened many times in my regular writing life but today it was happening to me about this blog post. Luckily, I not only worked myself out of the weirdness but I also documented my process so I can do it again.  And, I offer it to you as an example of how to write yourself out of the same annoying situation. Here’s what I did, step by…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Motivation,  Organization,  Uncategorized

    Writing by the Seasons, Part 2: ‘Seasons’ in your Life

    About a month ago, I wrote about how different seasons of the year can affect your writing schedule. And about how learning to accept the realities of the time you have available in this particular season helps you to get things done.  That acceptance can help you to focus on what you *can* do instead of worrying about what can’t be done right now.  That’s good for your mental health – and your writing – and instead of being an impediment, it can be an impetus to either try new things or to get really good at the things you are currently able to do.  This advice applies just as…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Organization,  Time Management

    Writing by the Season: Get Your Words in All Kinds of Weather

    If you find that the changes from season to season throw off your writing plans, it might be because you are fighting the seasons instead of trying to find a way to embrace those changes. When I was in University, my friend Bill used to joke that when the spring semester ended he was going to take off his watch and ‘live by the seasons.’ I think he was mostly kidding but the phrase has stuck with me for over 25 years now. I love the idea of changing your habits and the rhythms of your days to reflect the different seasons  – seasons of the year or seasons in…

  • Craft,  Writing Prompt

    Apples to Apples to Words

    Since it’s the weekend, we want you to have a little fun with your writing.* Give our Apples to Apples Challenge a try! This is *not* a contest, we’re just playing with words today, but here are the rules:  Incorporate the words in large text from the cards below into a short piece of writing. (250 words or less) Once you’re done, post your story in the comments for us all to enjoy. Please keep it family friendly! We want to show off your well-crafted work but we can’t keep it on our site if it goes against our family-friendly policy. You can explore dark topics but you have to…

  • Craft,  Writing Prompt

    Apples to Apples to Words

    Since it’s the weekend, we want you to have a little fun with your writing.* Give our Apples to Apples Challenge a try! This is *not* a contest, we’re just playing with words today, but here are the rules:  Incorporate the words in large text from the cards below into a short piece of writing. (250 words or less) Once you’re done, post your story in the comments for us all to enjoy. Please keep it family friendly! We want to show off your well-crafted work but we can’t keep it on our site if it goes against our family-friendly policy. You can explore dark topics but you have to…

  • Craft

    Guest Post: 5 Ways Playwriting Improved My Fiction

    By Sharon King-Campbell When I was 9, my English teacher (one of a long line of superhero English teachers) assigned us a 2-page story for homework. I wrote 7 pages of my Hilroy notebook in large, clumsy cursive writing. I think it had something to do with a haunted house. Mrs. Pereira (superhero) was encouraging and kind. I don’t remember my grade on that assignment, or if she graded it at all. I do remember that she contacted my parents to let them know they had a writer on their hands. Writing has followed me my whole life. As readers of this blog will know, it’s a versatile skill. Essays,…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Motivation

    How To Write When You Don’t Feel Like It

    By Christine Hennebury Do you fall into the trap of thinking that you have to be motivated in order to write? Writing is often *easier* when we are motivated but it is indeed possible to write without feeling like it. I’ve found that a lack of motivation to write often has little to do with writing itself and, instead, just reflects how challenging it is for us to switch tasks. Switching tasks is hard. When you are already doing something, even if it is just sitting on the couch, the energy cost to start doing something else can feel prohibitive. If the new task is something that you feel apprehensive…