Stretch That Writing Cap!

Saturday, August 11, 2007
In keeping with this month’s theme of putting our writing caps on, I thought I’d share some of the ways I get my own cap to fit properly.

As a Mom of three kids under five who’s also trying to get a B.A., I find there are days my brain is too drained for good writing ideas to surface. I pull and I struggle and I stretch that cap but, alas, nothing happens. Sound familiar? Don’t sit there watching the cursor blink hypnotically as you just wait for an idea to smack you in the face. Try one of these three ideas to get those creative juices bubbling:

(1) The Pocket Muse: When I saw this little book on sale on the Writer’s Digest Book Club site, I couldn’t resist. This hardcover book is small enough to fit into your workbag (or diaper bag). It’s stuffed full with 217 pages of writing prompts in the forms of questions, pictures and inspirational expressions. The cover price of the book is $19.99 ($26.99 Canadian) but I managed to get it for a mere $7.99.

(2) Story Spinner: This handy little tool reminded me of something I made in elementary school – it’s very cool. It’s in the shape of a circle and has two sides. The first side has a “spinner” in the middle with a window cut out in the shape of a piece of pie. As you spin it around, different “recipes” for stories pop up in the window. The idea is to set a timer for a certain length of time and use the prompt to write, draw, act or tell a story (maybe that’s why it reminded me of elementary school!). The other side has three different spinners: (1) words, (2) starters (ways to start the story like, “The hurricane neared…” or “The smell of rain…”, and (3) settings. You can use one of or all of the prompts to create a great story. I also got this through Writer’s Digest Book Club and it’s a steal for about $5.99.

(3) Pictures: This is one of my favorite ways to prompt myself. I’m a very visual person with my writing. When I’m writing a story or novel, I can see the scenes in my mind as I’m typing. I like to draw the reader right into my story so they can see what I see. Sometimes when I get stuck, I go on the internet and look at pictures, artwork or scenic pictures. The last short story I wrote was prompted from a picture I found of an old, run-down abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the prairies. Best part about this form of prompting: IT’S FREE!!!

Now you know a few of my favorite prompting methods. The next time your writing cap is too tight, try to loosen it up with one of these suggestions. Or, share one of your own!

Happy Writing.


Sue said...

What a helpful post, Chynna! It's always wonderful to hear how others (especially busy moms like you) jumpstart the muse in moments of exhaustion! Thanks ;-)

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