Monday, August 30, 2010

Inspiration, Everywhere

So my blog posting is still rather sporadic, but hey, at least I'm here!

This is my final theme-y post on inspiration, and as the title so cleverly implies, finding it everywhere. Though I've come to believe that inspiration is part searching (an active hunt for things that inspire) and part allowing yourself to be open to it.

You can't force inspiration. When I tried, tried, tried to be inspired NOW it didn't happen. When I wasn't thinking about it so much, I was able to see how the leaves falling a certain way was kinda beautiful, and how those same falling leaves could mean so many different things to so many different people.

I allowed a picture to spawn ten different scenes belonging to ten different stories.

I allowed a song to make me wish I could write something that would make someone else feel the way that song made me feel.

I allowed an interview question to give me an idea for a broken new world.

I allowed myself to find inspiration in a box of wax crayons, a four leaf clover, the tangy sweet smell of an energy drink, the clatter of dishes, a Ferris wheel covered in lights at night, the scent of ink from a cheap bic pen, the striking of a match, foggy morning air, the feel and smell of a new book, the crunching noise gravel makes under a pair of boots, a jar of mismatched pens and pencils, uneven cobblestones, melting an ice cube on the back of a sunburnt neck, the clang of putting quarters into a pay phone, the rainbow colors in gasoline puddles.

And so, so, so much more.

Because I learned something.

It's not about looking for inspiration. It's about allowing yourself to see.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


First order of business:
I wrote this post on Sunday and planned for it to go up early Tuesday, but then Mockingjay came out, and I had to avoid the internet for fear of being spoiled. (Side note: Mockingjay= wow). Anyway, now that I've finished reading the book (twice) (yes, really) the internet is safe again. So I'm back.

* * * * *

Continuing with the Encouraging Creativity theme, we have prompts. Prompts are always helpful to me, because they give a starting point. And that's the main point of a prompt-- to get you started. Once you're writing, the words come easier. Creativity breeds more creativity.

As far as what prompts I used, there's a couple cool sites that use word prompts. One is Sunday Scribblings, which I found through Laini's Not For Robots site. It's a blog you can follow, and every Sunday they give you one word ("Dangerous", "View", and "half-way" are some recent ones) and you take the word and just start writing. You can then post it on your blog and link back to the Scribblings blog and you can check out what others made of the same prompt.

Then there is Oneword, which follows the same idea. You get a one word writing prompt, and you just write. Oneword is a bit different though, because it only gives you a 60 second time limit. Very fun, slightly reminiscent of Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab.

I also used picture prompts. I'm sure there's a site or two for that as well, but I found it more useful to search flickr and other picture sites to find something that I found interesting. I would then take that picture and use it as a prompt to free write a paragraph (or more, if I was feeling it.) That was really fun for me, both the searching for photos and coming up with words to go with it. I'm going to try to keep it up, maybe posting some of my favorite on the blog.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the one I wrote last week:

Olivia Morrigan's wedding dress was a piece of art, from the jewel encrusted bodice to the many ruched silk skirts that swished across the floor whenever she took a step. Her hair was curled and pinned up, and diamonds sparkled from her throat and earlobes. The dress was mostly her mother's doing, for Olivia didn't care much about pearls and silks. To Olivia, the most important part of the dress was that it was long and flowing and nobody would catch a glimpse of her thigh-- or what she kept there.

Beneath the layers of petticoats and skirts, around her upper thigh where a garter ought to be, Olivia Morrigan wore a holster, which carried a shiny, black handgun.

Just in case
, she told herself, smoothing out the wrinkles in her skirt. No one would know the bride came to the wedding armed, least of all the groom.

And of course, the picture that inspired it:

Do you like to use writing prompts?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing Free

I spent the last month in some sort of weird post-novel ennui funk. I finished Temper but then I couldn't seem to muster up the motivation to work on anything else. I wasn't writing at all, and it was driving me crazy.

Every time I tried to write it was painful. I would stare at the same paragraph, rewriting and rewriting the same five sentences. I wasn't trying to write creatively, I was trying to make every paragraph absolutely perfect before moving forward. And because of that, I wasn't moving forward.

So I had to find my creativity.

One thing that helped was free writing in my notebooks, and also rereading my notebooks from the last year. Laini Taylor writes about the "attic notebook" on her Not for Robots blog, and you should definitely check that out.

I've always kept notebooks, but they take me months to fill. My current one was started in March, and it's just over halfway full. I write down my rough outlines, my blog post ideas, interesting concepts, and just random excerpts that don't really belong to any story but were so vivid in my mind I needed to get them out. I write down word count goals, notes on agents, year long plans of what to write during which month and rough drafts of queries. Sometimes I scribble single sentence concepts, like "Lady Fate" or "The last dragon" because I think I could find a story there if I want to.

Basically I empty my mind on to the page, and the result is a riot of words and strings of thoughts that somehow seem totally organized to me because it's comfortable. It's like hanging out in my own brain.

So that's what I went back to. I flipped through my notebooks. I looked at old ideas and tried to elaborate on them. I started looking everywhere I could for inspiration, and scribbling new ideas on the blank pages. I started free writing, and gathering writing prompts from various places and just letting myself go with it.

Then I started a new story, writing it in a notebook instead of on my computer. It might seem like it'd be harder to be creative in a notebook, because you can't erase or backtrack. But that was kind of the point. Writing in the notebook, I was stuck with what I had. Of course I could go back and scratch out lines and change sentences. Which, of course, I did.

But mostly, I kept moving forward. And that's just what I needed.

I have a couple more blog posts already written up and scheduled for this week (isn't that amazing???). I even have a theme: Encouraging Creativity. Free writing and prompts and all that good stuff. It's nice to be blogging again.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


oh my god

i cant wait anymore

my brain is exploding in anticipation*


*seriously, it hurts

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Which I Return

Today I visit the blog.

When I flick on the lights it takes a moment for them to illuminate, probably from lack of use.

The place is a mess. Then again, it has been vacant for a month.

There are cobwebs dangling from the archives, dust in all the corners, and the floor is littered with broken promises of future and more frequent posts. I sweep those under the carpet.

Then I tidy things up. Update my blog pages. Update my reading challenges.

And then I take the time to write three new posts, scheduled to go up next week. For really reals.

See you soon!