Monday, May 24, 2010

Excersizing the mind

A HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT: Elana Johnson found out that she got a book deal!!! I'm so happy for her, as are others around the blogosphere, so if you don't know her you better because she's fantastic!! Also be sure to congratulate her!!

Now back to our regularly scheduled posting!!

So ever Monday I give you a snippet from a story I'm working on. Mystic is the one I've been recently sharing with you, I opened my notebook one day and the story spilled along the pages.

It got me thinking. I have two excersizes that work well for me, one being tales from the notebook and the other being writings on the wall. For you newbies writings on the wall is a project I started while starting this blog. It gives me a new perspective on writing. I can move the whiteboard to any area of the house and the different views from the windows gives me a new idea, more inspiration.

Both ideas work well for me if I'm stumped on my writing. I can just write something silly, or write the questions I'm having with myself on the board or paper. I give it time to marinate and sooner or later the idea's start to flow. I have used another way to snag ideas as well and it's called ideas from the floor, another one I'm a huge fan of using. So I suppose that means I have three creative writing techniques.

So I was wondering do you have excersizes much like mine that you lean on? Do you ever look at life from a different angle to help with writing? Do you write on the walls, notebooks or floors??

This week I would have shared a snippet but the ideas weren't flowing how I would have liked so talking about writing seems to be the topic this week!

38 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

WOW! That is awesome! I actually blogged about Elana this morning and I didn't even know this yet. Sheesh.

Christina Lee said...

I don't do any of that but it does sound like a good idea. I guess I keep my writing chops flowing all week with my posts and my newspaper column. So by the time I get to my writing I am usually so excited and raring to go. Okay, I take that back, I guess I do write notes for myself all week on post-its! I should get a notebook, huh?

Kittie Howard said...

Jen, I like how you move the board from room to room, how the light from the different windows helps to inspire. Thanks for the tip! When I get bogged down, I usually lie on the sofa, close my eyes, and imagine myself Back Then so I can feel the textures more.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Yes, isn't that wonderful about Elana? I sent her an email congratulating her yesterday :)

Re writing techniques, you know what helps me? I write chapter summaries in the actual document I'm writing the story in, so that as I begin each chapter I know exactly what has to happen, and then I just replace the summary with the full fledged version :) Works wonders, I tell ya!

Vicki Rocho said...

When stuck I like a pen and notebook...put me in a parking lot or park where I have nothing else to do and things start pouring out....kinda like popping a zit (sorry for the visual)

Jen said...

Matthew - Well now you know the fantastic news!!

Christina - Bahaha! Guess we all do it without noticing! I started it just for fun and it ended up helping me out a lot!

Kittie - I'm glad you have something that works for you as well!! I love moving from place to place, it really helps!

Jessica - She's fantastic! That's an excellent way of writing! I think I might utilize that!!

Vicki - Bahaha you crack me up!!! That was some visual! I'm glad you have something that works!

Candyland said...

I actually have no method! It comes to me when it comes:/

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

When I'm really stumped, I take a notebook outdoors. Whether I'm in the backyard or a coffee house, a change of scenery is usually inspiring. That said, I can't "write" unless I'm in my "writing place" in my office.

Mary McDonald said...

I've found lately that I get stalled on my writing about the same time I get stalled with my physcial exercise. I went to the gym on Friday, and worked out some plot points while on the elliptical. I think I get so bored that my mind wanders and that's when I get my ideas. lol.

Joanne said...

Taking photographs inspires my writing. I see life with a different perspective through the camera lens, and that perspective helps inform my words, especially the blog!

Christine Danek said...

Great idea for getting un stuck. I really like the wipe board. I think I print out what I have and read it. That seems to help me. I also walk away from it go outside or shopping (by myself if possible) it helps. What helps me most is cleaning my house. I know --weird. I listen to my MP3 player and clean the mess I live in. It seems to clear my head.
Good luck!

Lynn said...

Very creative idea! I have visions boards tacked on the walls of my office to help keep my creativity flowing. But I'm learning the power of walking and just being in the moment, opening up to get out of my own way.

Laura Pauling said...

Sometimes I'll use pen and paper. But more often I need to step back and do something completely unrelated to writing and then the idea comes.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm so happy for Elana :)

I don't really do many exercises - my time for writing is severely limited by my crazy-busy life, so I've learned to keep it all in my head and let it spew onto paper when I get the chance. :)

Jai Joshi said...

Jen,

I congratulated Elana just a little earlier. It's such great news.

I think your writing exercise are great. I like writing prompts myself. I give myself something to write about as a starter like an object or a place and see what comes from that. It's great fun!

Jai

The English Writer said...

Great ideas Jen, isn't it strange what works for us. Usually, the best time for me to get into a really creative space (esp. if I'm struggling, is to listen to a particular album in the car - either as the driver or passenger. I'm hugely inspired by lyrics, and goodness knows how many stories I;ve written like this!! XX

Theresa Milstein said...

I don't have any tricks like that, but I wish I did. It all has to do with where my head is, I guess. I like the idea of being able to look to inspiration.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Wow, you have some great ideas for exercises. I get good ideas while cooking and driving because they are relaxing for me. Not exactly exercises (or excercises) but I manage to make dinner and run errands at the same time. Perfect.

Shelley Sly said...

Those are some neat exercises! I haven't tried anything like that, but now I'm tempted to. I guess the closest thing I ever do is write a "what-if" outline, usually handwritten, of a series of events that could happen in a potential book. I don't usually end up using it in an actual story, but it helps me to get the ideas down.

Talli Roland said...

Congrats to Elana! That's awesome!

When I'm stuck or need to get things flowing, I usually read over the last few pages of my WIP or the section I'm working in, tweaking and changing as I go through. That's like my 'warm-up'. Then, when I need to start writing, I'm ready to go!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Congrats to Elana. :)

If I'm stuck I get a notebook, or listen to music. Maybe it would be fun to try some writing exercises though. :)

Jaydee Morgan said...

Now that the weather's warming, when I'm lacking inspiration, I take my notebook outside. The sun, along with the heat, never fails to inspire me and keep me going when I want to stop.

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Congrats! You won a copy of Aidan's book, Life After Yes. Send me your address so I can get you the copy.

T.J. Carson said...

Award for you over yonder @ mis blogo!

tywo said...

I always have a marker(mainly because I always write random note, on random places..:) and some paper on me..
Congrats to Elana.


LOVE!

Sandy Shin said...

Writing in a notebook definitely helps me get my ideas flow. Currently, I'm even writing my WiP long-hand and typing it up later. :)

Jennie Bailey said...

I take my notebook outside, spread out a quilt my grandma made me and write in the sun with my dog snuggled next to me. That usually gets it flowing. Another trick I try if the day is rainy - lighting a candle and making tea. My latest WIP is set in the mountains so I burn a Balsam Fir candle and make peppermint tea or some hot chocolate. Those are my tried and true tricks at the moment. The only drawback to the notebook is when it works, it works - last time I had 36 pages written to transcribe, which took me hours and kind of messed with my flow. All that time in the sun got my tan going.

Susan Fields said...

I like to take the dog for a walk when I'm brewing over some question with my writing, and that will often give me some ideas.

Sometimes I get out my notebook, write my question at the top of the page (for example: How does my mc escape the prison camp?). Then I list ten possible answers to the question, giving myself permissioin to write down totally stupid/unusable answers. Having that permission seems to free my mind and the ideas start flowing. Inevitably I'll discard most of the ideas right away, but I usually find my answer somewhere in the 10.

Amy Saia said...

Congrats to Elana!

I agree with Talli. I look over the last few pages to get back into the story, or I take a break and go do the dishes or such. If none of that is working, I just force myself to sit down and write whatever I can come up with. It's usually not as bad as I think it will be, and can always be edited later.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I haven't tried many writing exercises, but I'm open to trying them... when I get some time. And YAY for Elana. How exciting is that?! Have a great Monday!!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Yay! I'm so happy for Elana! I am scrolling up my reader today (in reverse order -- I like to do that sometimes to "keep it interesting") so I haven't read her post yet.

I like your writing on the wall idea! That sounds really fun. I might have to try it. ;)

sarahjayne smythe said...

Cool post. Both of those sound like great ideas. :)

Karen Lange said...

So excited for Elana! Like your ideas, too. Talked about fun with words in a recent blog post - I actually wrote a limerick. Long story, but stuff like that always stretches me and makes me think.
Have a great week:)

Shannon said...

Your ideas with the whiteboard are great! :)

I take a shower. I always seem to have the best ideas in there.

Eva said...

My best ideas always come to me at inconvenient times so I've written on just about anything. From napkins, to notebooks to my hand, my stories are everywhere.

Clara said...

I´m a discipline freak sweetie. When I dont have inspiration, (which can be quite often) I edit my book, and start cutting stuff, roughing edges.

Which is awful because right now I know what I have to change on my WIP but just cant do it. So, when this happens, I try to follow a few rules to make an interesting draft:

1-Surprise me

2-Show dont tell

3-Emotion,Emotion,Emotion

4-Plot acts, character reacts

5-Make interesting beginnings and ednings.

Eventually it always helps me to create a captivating draft =D

Olive said...

That's a great idea to move from room to room. I usually write any ideas on a notebook or indeed, I write everything in longhand first. I find if I'm sitting at a computer and tapping in any ideas/stories, I get distracted more easily for some reason.

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you Jen, for the shout out! You guys are all so amazing.