Coming up with a story idea isn’t hard. Coming up with a story idea that hits it out of the park, fires on all cylinders, and has never been done before is. In fact, it’s the equivalent of winning the lottery—an unlikely event that can burn up your resources if you’re not careful.
I often hear practicing writers ask, “What if I can’t think of anything to write about?” Sometimes they even have notebooks full of observations, but they feel like none of them are good enough for a story.
I’ve felt the same way, but there are more opportunities or seeds for ideas in our notebooks than we think. It might be an image, a snippet of a conversation we overheard at lunch, or a social issue that grates against us. Once we have the seeds, how do we take those seeds and develop them into stories?
Before we talk about the concept of constrained writing and tell you how it works, let me ask you this: Have you ever opened a new blank document to write, stared at it for far too long, and then realized you have no ideas, that your mind is as blank as the page you’re trying to write on? What if you could double or triple the number of ideas you have, not by doing something extra but by taking something away?
That’s what constrained writing is about: taking away options so that you can actually be more creative.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard this question: “What’s your genre?” Or you’ve been asked, “What do you write?”
As writers, we tend to find a creative “happy place” and stay inside of three boxes: medium, form, and genre. This allows us to find a consistent voice and target our work toward a very specific reader.
But staying inside these boxes without any deviation can have major drawbacks that will threaten the quality of your writing, and the joy of writing itself. Here are three ways to challenge yourself beyond your typical writing bounds.
There are so many editing tools out there these days, it’s hard to keep track of the best ones. Two editing software solutions you may have heard of are WhiteSmoke and Grammarly.
In this article, we’ll compare the two options and see which is the best choice for you.
Can you steal ideas from other stories? What if someone steals your ideas? In fact, are your ideas even good enough at all? If you’ve ever asked questions like these, I have good news for you.
Writing is a lot of work, and there are definitely parts of the process that aren’t fun. But if writing has become a drudgery, if it’s become something you dread every day, then maybe it’s time for a little play to reinvigorate your love for writing. What if you were writing for fun?
If anxiety, boredom, overwhelm, or (ahem) listlessness have paralyzed your creative work, here’s a quick writing exercise to get you going again: 1. Make a list. 2. Repeat.
You’ve written some stories, maybe even published a book or two. You dream of being a successful author. But how much do you want it? What does it take to be a writer?
The Hero’s Journey is easily the most-used and most-loved storytelling structure in the history of humanity. It resonates with readers in ways that are as old as human D.N.A. itself.
If you want to connect with readers and engage them on a deep level, you would be at an advantage to study this storytelling method and use as much of it as possible in your writing.
One of the best ways to study and master the Hero’s Journey is by seeing it at work in another story. And in recent history, there is no clearer use of the Hero’s Journey than George Lucas’s space opera, Star Wars.
Let’s break it down, step by step.
Many of us are lucky to have people around us who understand or at least support our writing habits and dreams. But even with the best support, sometimes it feels like my writing is silly in the face of so many other pressing world problems. How do you keep writing when it seems inconsequential?
As writers, we are artists. We create through inspiration—a spark brought to fruition through discipline, hard work, and practice. And we draw inspiration from everywhere around us.
That includes the singing competition The Voice. Singing is a different art form from writing, but there are many lessons we writers can draw from it.
Today we are going to write a story. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. A story starts when something happens. A story starts with an inciting incident. An inciting incident is something that prompts action.
Writing practice is at the heart of everything we do here at The Write Practice. Every week, we share new fifteen-minute writing exercises to help you practice and grow as a writer.
But what if you could build your own practice exercises? What if you could find something you love in a story someone else has written, and then practice how to recreate that yourself? What if you could take the lead in your own growth as a writer and learn from your favorite stories and authors?
You can! Here are three steps to help you analyze any text to learn its secrets and apply its lessons.
Whether leaving for vacation or a job in a new city, departures can be stressful, exciting, and full of conflict. Use this prompt to reimagine a departure today in your writing time.
I think there are two qualities about any departure that make them great for writing. See if you agree and try this prompt with me today!
Ever wonder how to come up with story ideas? Ask any writer and invariably they will tell you “life.”
A writer’s greatest source of ideas comes from their real-life experiences. From going to the grocery store to careening down a snowy mountain, real life is every writer’s inspiration. You just need to look and you’ll find a story.
Adding an animal to your story can reveal a lot about the humans who inhabit your world. Whether a beloved pet or a rogue turkey, adding an animal encounter to a scene is surprisingly humanizing.
The best way to become a better writer is to write and then to publish your writing, whether you publish it on a blog, in a book, or with a close friend. It’s only by practicing writing, and getting feedback on it, that you can improve.
That being said, it never hurts to learn from those who have gone before you, and over the years, we’ve compiled a lot of excellent advice from the best writers on how to become a better writer.
Building a website for your writing is the first step to becoming a professional writer. But how do you choose the right domain name for your writer website? Read on to find out.
Handwritten notes are like sending a hug through the mail. They have personality and character, attributes a computer screen will never have. Let me show you why, when, and how to write a thank-you note.