Freshly fallen snow shimmers
-full moon photo1/25/13, MKS
1. Visualize Your Life as a Writer & Make it Happen
2. Attaching the Flesh: A Character Questionnaire
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing
4. Free WritersDigest Video/Webinar: Learn Revision Tips & Techniques
5. Getting Unstuck After Rejection
Quote of the Week:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
Held on high
the tangled promise of hope
moves us forward
(Collum Lune Poem &
photo of Paperwhites, MKS 1/13)
In place of the dreaded blank page or white screen, find something inspiring to observe. You'll be surprised at the ideas which present themselves within other forms of media and daily life. Try the six suggestions below to kick start your muse.
1. Listen to a song: Close your eyes and picture the setting (time and place). Who are the characters? What are their backgrounds, names, quirks, feelings, struggle/problem? What events lead up to this scene, and how do you perceive the drama will resolve?
2. Read a poem: again imagine the setting, characters, and story behind the brief words
3. Read stories in the news, current or from years gone by: Imagine the clip in further detail. What other people or events could have led to this event? How might the story play out and ultimately conclude? Expand the scene in your imagination. Sketch (in drawing or words) the characters. Change names, setting, and a few details in the process of making the story your own.
4. Don't underestimate the power (and creative value) of eavesdropping! Spend an hour or an afternoon sitting in a coffee shop, cafe, bookstore, park, bus/train/airport terminal. Bring a notebook or laptop and jot notes of conversations you overhear as well as descriptions of random strangers. List details you ascertain, starting with what you observe and then fill in missing pieces such as names, occupations, personality traits, hobbies, beliefs, secrets, etc. For a twist, consider having two unconnected people meet and how they would interact, what trouble they could cause, how they would clash or commune.
5. Watch a movie: Determine how the story would be different with different characters in a different place and/or time. Again, add some unique twists or alterations to make your new take on the basic plot.
6. Image: Study a piece of artwork or a photograph and begin asking questions. Who lives or plays here? What is happening? Why? What are the people thinking, feeling, planning?
At the surface, two worlds divided
Question each other's worth, purpose.
Bubbles balance cautiously,
Drama their enemy,
Yet also their birth.
(Nonet poem & photo by MKS)
Between work, home, blogging, querying my novel, plus trying to keep up with Blipfoto & Twitter, I'm nearly fried. I've decided to alter my blog entries as follows:
- creativity/writing topic post (every other Thurs.)
- noteworthy creativity/writing links & quote (alternating Thursdays)
- Photo-of-the-week with poem (remains each Sunday)
1. Illustrated six-word memoirs by students of all stages
2. 40 cool things to do with your blog posts *after* publishing
3. To get in the head of your character, Try a mask poem.
Quote of the Week:
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else is the greatest accomplishment." ~ Ralph Waldo Emers
New Year's Eve
Counting down moments
Old dreams earn new wings
-Poem Form: Lune (American Haiku)
5-3-5 syllable/line count
-photo taken 12/31/12 MKS
As much as I avoid New Year resolutions for all the obvious reasons, January somehow still leaves me feeling an urge to purge & reach goals. Once the holiday decorations are packed away & the house cleaned, I desire a greater sense of organization in my surroundings & a renewed mojo for tackling projects I've had bouncing around my head for a while.
Just as a cluttered workplace or home leaves the mind equally cluttered, a tidy, well-arranged space frees the mind. Creativity is less likely to occur let alone thrive when your environment is bogged down. Tell me a neat desk doesn't welcome you to sit down at it and get motivated?
Rather than setting up for failure, as calling any aspiration a "resolution" seems to doom its chance at success, I entice myself into performing tiny, achievable tasks I really want to accomplish. I'm a lister, so I take to paper & pen (or my iPad). The page becomes the vessel to hold all the fleeting ideas, dreams, & *cough* goals. Just as we set reminders to do mundane chores, why not schedule creative organizing tasks into our to-do lists?
Keep in mind, these are chunked creative projects, not big life-changing actions that typically equate to unattainables. Writing down small, doable tasks makes these thoughts concrete, so you can easily work them into brief time slots. If you're more visual, maybe design a scrapbook or even create Pinterest boards for your desired projects.
Here's my system:
1. Start with a grand list of categories/topics such as writing, crafting, organizing, reading, & cooking (one per page).
2. Next, fill the pages with ideas for mini projects. Add to these as ideas pop up, so it's always a work in progress. The more options/ideas, the better. That leaves something for every mood, time block, etc. On the cooking page, for instance, I may list recipes I'd like to make for that season or events/holidays within. On the reading page I may list articles, blogs or magazines I want to catch up on as well as novels I want to buy/read. The writing page may list poetry prompts or contests I'm interested in pursuing alongside specific tasks to plan, research, daily writing page counts, or places I want to query my novel.
3. From this, make a weekly &/or daily task list, including one or two items from each topic into your planner, mobile phone or tablet--whatever you're likely to have with you throughout the day. This mix will keep you motivated & not bored.
4. Pick a day that you usually have downtime to update your weekly list. Make it an enjoyable part of your routine.
5. At the end of a week or month, you're guaranteed a feeling of accomplishment as you review all the checked off tasks.
Tip: Instead of listing a hugely daunting task such as cleaning out a closet, limit yourself to removing, say ten items, from that closet. It's also helpful to set a time limit. So, ten minutes to clear out ten items means you could try on a few things but must not debate for long. Plus, you'll still have time & energy for other more pleasant tasks. Maybe you'll go back & pull out ten more items in a month, but progress will be made. Remember: the key is making these mini tasks doable rather than something to moan about & then ultimately avoid.