Today I thought I would share 5 tools that I use for inspiration when I’m feeling a little blocked.
Story Cubes–these little guys have images on them, and are shaped like dice. You toss them, and take the images from them to craft a tale.
Pinterest–I go searching for the term “writing prompt” and discover ideas this way.
Dictionary.com–I simply open the site and look for the word of the day (which should be at the top of the home screen). I use this word to write a scene.
Flickr.com–Going to the front page for Flickr will bring up new photos I haven’t seen before. These images are the prompt–either a combination of 5 or 6 images, and a solo image can be the prompt for writing a piece.
On this Day–there are many apps and sites out there that will give you a recap of the world’s history, based upon today’s calendar date. I can use any of these facts from the day’s “on this day” bit to prompt and write a short story or article.
What are some of the tools you use to induce creativity?
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
“I’m out there to clean the plate. Once they’ve read what I’ve written on a subject, I want them to think, ‘That’s it!’ I think the highest aspiration people in our trade can have is that once they’ve written a story, nobody will ever try it again.”
—Richard Ben Cramer
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block, WD
A site that times you as you write–giving sound-byte rewards for completing a set period of time writing, or punishments if you stop writing during that pre-set time. Maybe some good prep for NaNoWriMo. Or, depending on exactly how the updated version of this works, great for NaNoWriMo. Check it out beforehand. See if it’s effective for you. Use it if it is!
I’ve had many people ask how I can make time to write NaNoWriMo every year. I’ve had another friend tell me, “Not this year, but next year. It will be less crazy. Then I can do it.”
All of you heard that excuse she gave. You know that friend won’t get around to NaNoWriMo next year, either, unless something in her attitude changes. November is always a crazy month, in a crazy season, leading up to an even crazier season. That’s just how it is.
So, how does one schedule around this craziness called life, and, you know, work and earning a living and things?
It’s both extremely easy, and exponentially difficult at once–and it all comes down to decision and commitment, and a few simple steps.
NaNoWriMo “schedules” you to write 1,667 words per day to reach that 50,000 word count goal within the 30 days of November. But here are my tips on how to actually reach that goal.
Aim for higher than 1,667 words per day. This not only gets more words in, but also gives “make up word counts” for days on which you cannot fulfill the minimum words.
Set a higher goal than merely 50,000 words–why? Because then if you don’t make that 75,000 word goal, you’re still more likely to have reached 50,000 words.
KEY: set side 1 hour per day, minimum, every single day of NaNoWriMo, for writing.
Set everything up for your writing nook before November 1.
KEEP YOUR WRITING NOOK ORGANIZED.
If at all possible, have that writing nook separate from your normal work or play space–set up just for the month of November. This helps with keeping it organized and ready each day for writing.
Write at any free moment you have. 10 minutes waiting in a doctor’s office? Bring your laptop with you, or download an app that will let you write. Dump it to your computer that night.
Bulk up on your writing “supplies” before November 1. Need tea to keep you going? Buy it in advance. Need pens because you’re old-fashioned and do it all by hand? Have enough around that you don’t have to shop for them (or any other supplies) during November.
Tell your family, roommates and/or friends that every night from 8-10pm (or whatever your writing time is), you are unavailable for phone calls, emails, texting, Words with Friends or any other thing that takes you away from writing. You are WRITING, and only emergencies will be observed. (And only things like uncontrolled bleeding, massive vomiting and anything bordering on death constitutes emergencies.)
Set an alarm or other reminder that goes off each day (with advance warnings, if possible) to remind you to get started on your writing.
Set an alarm to end that scheduled time. This keeps you on schedule. You’re busy, we get that–so respect your own time.
Write away from the internet as much as possible. This helps to minimize distractions. (My husband uses a word processor for NaNoWriTing–no internet access at all possible!)
Every year that I’ve done these things, I’ve more than written 50,000 words in 30 days or less.
Ooh, continuing on in the challenge past the month! I get to create a list for the month of November, with tasks for platform building to continue. Then, in there, include a day to create the plan for December… I’m creating this in calendar form and putting here.