Inspiration for the Week: Music to Write By – AO Music #MondayMotivation

Do you listen to music while you write? Do you listen to music to calm your soul, or boost your energy? This tranquil, inspiring track might just be suitable for all of the above! Enjoy!

Let me know how this music inspires you this week!

The Creativity of Autumn

I love fall. As much as I love winter, I think autumn is probably my favorite season. I love the colors, the crisp air, finally getting to wear hoodies and boots. The dramatic change of the season energizes me with a promise of new and better things to come. I’m always inspired by the outdoors and nature, but autumn for me is the most inspiring of all. Continue reading

What to do with a Shiny New Idea

If you’re a writer (or any creative type, really), you’re probably working on at least two projects at any given time. So what do you do when you’re going along as planned, making headway (or not) on your current creative projects, and a Shiny New Idea hits you out of the blue?

The way I see it, there are three ways you can handle this:

These finished books began as Shiny New Ideas for the authors

These finished books began as Shiny New Ideas for the authors

File it away for later

Whether your Shiny New Idea is just the vaguest form of a concept or a full-blown Idea, write it down. You’ll never bring your Idea to fruition – now or later – if you don’t first write it down. And no, you won’t remember it later. Writing it down and filing it away is a good way to a) remember the Idea when the first Shininess has worn off, and b) let it cool before you interrupt all your current projects to work on it. Being creative is great, but some discipline is needed to finish projects. Resolving to file away for later every New Idea until you’ve finished at least one other project is a good way to discipline yourself and get things accomplished.

Mull it over and brainstorm and work it into your schedule

If your New Idea just won’t leave you alone and it keeps popping back up at inopportune moments, you might decide to go ahead and bring the Idea out of the file-for-later bin. But remember the thing about discipline and finishing stuff from point number one? If you’ve made certain goals or commitments with your current projects (whether it’s publishing deadlines, submitting work to your critique partners, or just a personal goal), make sure you don’t neglect these. If you’ve decided that you want to add one more project to your plate, then your schedule will likely have to get reworked.

Stop your life and do nothing but the New Idea

This is the most tempting when a Shiny New Idea hits, but it’s rarely a good thing to try. And if you’re an adult (or youth) with a job, school, or other responsibilities, then stopping your life for your latest Idea is fine because adulthood is overrated just isn’t possible.

I’ve been hit by a Shiny New Idea more times than I can count – and of course it always comes when I’m swamped with other projects, because I’m always swamped with other projects. About 90% of my Shiny New Ideas get put into category one. Some of them I have eventually made the time to get back to, but most are still on my to-do list. And that’s okay.

It’s good to remember that you can do anything you want, but not everything you want, and certainly not all at once.

So tell me – what do you do with your Shiny New Ideas?

Story Prompts to Get Unstuck

I am not usually one who needs story prompts. I don’t mean for this to sound arrogant or bragging – it’s just that I’m usually so inundated by ideas that what I need is more time to write, not more ideas. But even us constantly-flooded-with-ideas folks get stuck now and then, or we want to take a break from current projects and try something new.

I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about generating ideas and breaking through writer’s block. I find that writing something else besides my current project can keep my mind in a writerly mode without it getting bogged down in whatever I’m stuck on.

I also started a Pinterest board with cool pictures and ideas for story prompts.

Another great source of inspiration for me is music. Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m listening to something, other times I purposefully play certain songs or tracks while I’m brainstorming. If you want to know what kinds of music get me going, here are some of my favorites.

I hope that some of these links can help you if you need prompts or brainstorming fodder. What are some of your favorite ways to get your creative juices flowing again?

Story Prompts

Some people ask me how I come up with ideas for my stories. The answer is: I don’t. the ideas come to me, frequently when I’m not expecting it or looking for an idea.

I know that some writers struggle a bit more with the initial idea for a story. And even the most abundantly creative person can hit a dry spell (which has happened to me before). Some people just want to try their hand at something new – a new idea, a new genre, a new style of writing.

Enter the story prompt. A picture, a word, a phrase – all of these can prompt an idea. My intent with this post is to give a boost to a fellow writer, to get you over that hump if your creative juices have run dry. A story prompt can also be very useful if you’re new at writing, if you want to tell a story but you don’t know what to write about or where to begin.

A note: most of these story prompts have a fantasy slant, because that what I write. A prompt, though, is just that – the seed of an idea, intended to prompt you to think on it and develop it. A picture of a dragon does not have to prompt a fantasy tale, just as a picture of a happy modern couple in a sports car does not have to prompt a contemporary romance.

Here are some ideas:

The famous artist who says that his pet dragon actually does the art

A lonely basilisk

A boy and his best friend, a cloud

Demons swim in all the sacred places

It was two days before Christmas when the spaceships landed outside of town.

As the choke of midnight comes, the trees grow and the darkness begins to cry.

In that silent future after the world has ended, a child is born.

Where is this place? What happened here?

Where is this place? What happened here?

Now go write!