Archive for the 'Writing Tools' Category

Can a Puppy Help You Write?

puppy

I wrote about Written? Kitten! in my last post, and now I’ve discovered Write or Bite. It offers a similar reward system, except that every time you meet a word count goal, a cute puppy appears. But, if you don’t stay on track, you’ll get a photo of a howling hound! You also have the ability to set the word count and pace yourself. Check it out here.

 

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Can a Kitten Help You Write?

kitten
If you’re looking for a little positive reinforcement to help you write, Written? Kitten! might be just what you need. I’ve written about Write or Die in the past — the site that provides a stick to help you keep writing. (You get punishments for not keeping up your word count, ranging from annoying sounds and music to your words actually being deleted if you don’t write fast enough.) But Written? Kitten! offers up a carrot instead of a stick. If you like adorable pictures of kittens, that is.

For every 100 words you write, a new photo of one of the little cuties appears. Check it out, and see if it gets you cranking out the words. Or, for an interesting test, try both Write or Die and Written? Kitten! and find out whether you respond better to positive or negative stimulus.

Let me know how it goes in the comments!

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Great Tool for Daily Writing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently discovered 750 Words. It’s a great little website that makes it easy for you to write 750 words a day. The creator was inspired by the idea of morning pages that Julia Cameron discusses in The Artist’s Way, which is the practice of doing three pages of freewriting first thing every morning. 750 Words gives you a blank page to write on every day — and, rest assured, what you write will be private.

The site makes things fun by giving you a monthly scorecard. You get points for writing anything at all, more points for writing 750 words, and even more points for writing two or more days in a row. You also get little badges for various writing accomplishments. Racking up the points and badges can be a real motivator to keep you going! If you want to learn more, check it out here.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Write Naked

I’m rerunning this popular post because I know some of you out there want to know how to capture your shower and bath musings!  

Okay, I know I gave this post a provocative title. Provocative, but not misleading, because I’m going to talk about writing while in the shower.

shower

In my post Friday, I mentioned dragging my Muse into the shower to sneak in a creative moment. Writing in the shower came up in the comments to that post, too. Since it was on my mind, I did a little Internet research about shower writing. And I found products!

I’ve always written in my head in the shower, repeating a few sentences over and over until I’m finished so I won’t forget them. It never occurred to me to actually physically write in the shower. But apparently it occurred to other people, because you can buy the items below to help with your shower-time creativity.

Links to Shower Writing Tools:

Erasable Shower Note Tablet: Like a small whiteboard, with waterproof crayons, a crayon caddy and suction cup mounts included.

AquaNotes: A pad of waterproof paper with suction cups to attach it to the shower wall. Comes with a water-resistant cedar pencil and a suction cup pencil holder. You can buy the regular AquaNotes or the “LoveNotes” to leave a message for that special someone in the shower!

Underwater Dive Slate: A search for “dive slate” turns up dozens of different dive slates made for scuba divers. But they’ll work fine in the shower, too.

waterfall

These are products designed for construction professionals who need to take notes in all sorts of weather:

Waterproof Bound Book

Waterproof Notepad

All-Weather Pen: A ballpoint pen that “writes on wet paper, and upside down in temperatures from -50 to 400°F.” I think at 400°F, the pen might be fine, but the writer would have melted into a puddle!

I also found advice to use kids’ washable crayons or old-fashioned grease pencils to write on tile shower walls.

So choose your method and don’t let a little water dampen your creativity!
 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Get Inspired

I’m on vacation, and while I’m away I’m highlighting some of my favorite fun creative websites and writer’s resources. Hope your holidays are joyful, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

white flower

You can find a variety of inspirational devices over at Language is a Virus, including writing prompts, a character name generator, a poetry generator, the text collage, madlib poems, the haiku-a-tron and much more. Let your muse go wild in this writer’s playground!

Write Something Magnetic

I’m on vacation, and while I’m away I’m highlighting some of my favorite fun creative websites and writer’s resources. Hope your holidays are joyful, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

abstract wavesLet your muse come out to play with this magnetic poetry website.  Choose your subject matter: the artist, genius, office, romance or the poet.  When you’re done, you can submit your work for other people to read or browse through your fellow magnetic poets’ creations.

Can You Write for One Minute?

I’m on vacation, and while I’m away I’m highlighting some of my favorite fun creative websites and writer’s resources. Hope your holidays are joyful, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

hourglassHere’s a great little tool for those overscheduled days:  The One-Minute Writer.  Every day a new prompt appears.  Click on the timer at the top of the page and spend 60 seconds writing whatever the prompt inspires.

(Source: Words, Words, Words)

A Great Site to Help You Write

Quick post today to point you toward an interesting site: Word Count Journal.

After setting up a journal through the site, you write one word on the first day, two words on the second day, and so on. You can keep your journal private or share it with other readers.

This sounds like a great idea for slowly building up your writing muscle! And by the end of a year, you’ll have written 66,795 words.

Jumpstart Your Writing With This Fun Story Starter

Here’s an amusing little online gadget to help you come up with story ideas — or just random tidbits to use as writing exercises: The Special Projects Labs Idea Generator. I gave it a few whirls and received:

Secret glitter magazine

Automatic holographic car

Revolutionary chocolate furniture

Cold neon hotel

Luxurious growing art

Erotic mechanized sanctuary

A whole lot of ideas lurk in these odd little phrases. If you come up with any you like or use one to write something, share it in the comments!

Another Great Writing Tool to Keep You Focused

When you log  in to One Page Per Day, it presents you with a single blank page. Sign up using your existing Google account or Twitter username, then start writing. The program automatically saves your work so you can return for another session the next day. (Or any time.)

You can also choose to share some of your writing anonymously on the “Glimpses” page. Or read the words other have left behind and see if you find some inspiration!

Write Naked

I’m on vacation, visiting family, friends and old college pals in my home state of Virginia, so I’m offering one of my most popular posts:

Okay, I know I gave this post a provocative title. Provocative, but not misleading, because I’m going to talk about writing while in the shower.

shower

In my post Friday, I mentioned dragging my Muse into the shower to sneak in a creative moment. Writing in the shower came up in the comments to that post, too. Since it was on my mind, I did a little Internet research about shower writing. And I found products!

I’ve always written in my head in the shower, repeating a few sentences over and over until I’m finished so I won’t forget them. It never occurred to me to actually physically write in the shower. But apparently it occurred to other people, because you can buy the items below to help with your shower-time creativity.

Links to Shower Writing Tools:

Erasable Shower Note Tablet: Like a small whiteboard, with waterproof crayons, a crayon caddy and suction cup mounts included. (Looks like they’re out of stock at the time of this writing.)

AquaNotes: A pad of waterproof paper with suction cups to attach it to the shower wall. Comes with a water-resistant cedar pencil and a suction cup pencil holder. You can buy the regular AquaNotes or the “LoveNotes” to leave a message for that special someone in the shower!

Underwater Dive Slate: A search for “dive slate” turns up dozens of different dive slates made for scuba divers. But they’ll work fine in the shower, too.

waterfall

These are products designed for construction professionals who need to take notes in all sorts of weather:

Waterproof Bound Book

Waterproof Notepad

All-Weather Pen: A ballpoint pen that “writes on wet paper, and upside down in temperatures from -50 to 400°F.” I think at 400°F, the pen might be fine, but the writer would have melted into a puddle.

I also found advice to use kids’ washable crayons or old-fashioned grease pencils to write on tile shower walls. So choose your method and don’t let a little water dampen your creativity!

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

Freebies for Writers

Quick post today to direct you to some great reference tools and free things for writers, courtesy of The Freelance Writing Jobs Network:

49 Free Online Reference Tools for Writers. Includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, a zoological glossary, NASA’s Thesaurus, connections to academic and public library collections around the world, profiles of American businesses and much more.

45 Free Things for Writers. Free calendars, software, business cards, e-books on various aspects of writing, journals and pens, financial tools for writers, tutorials and more.

If You’re Looking for a Character…

This Character Description Generator can be used for fun or to create quirky people to write about. Here’s what I received when I tried it:  This man is lean, with guileless dark eyes and fuzzy red hair worn short and spiky. He is wearing a lilac leotard and seems angry.

The creator’s main site includes dozens of other generators, for fantasy characters, plots, clothing, names and all sorts of fictional elements.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

*Thanks to writer Susan Bearman for steering me toward this site.

Defuse Your Inner Critic With This Explosive Visualization

When I was a kid, we had a computer at home long before most people did because my father was a scientist. (Actually, I first experienced a computer that took up an entire small room in my dad’s lab. My sister and I learned to play blackjack on it as tiny girls when my mother dropped us off to hang out with Dad while she ran errands. But I digress.)

By the time we had a computer at home, I was a teenager and focused on other things, like my social life. But my little brother taught himself programming, and developed a few rudimentary games. One of them sticks in my memory, because I found it amusing. He created a program that allowed you to simulate a person you hated by choosing basic characteristics like sex and hair color. Once you’d constructed your nemesis, you could make him or her explode. That was the entire game.

Thinking about that game of my brother’s always makes me smile. It’s such a perfect illustration of an elementary school boy’s desire for emotional gratification. I remember the glee with which he demonstrated it to me, creating his schoolyard enemy and then eradicating him.

I thought about my brother’s game again today while contemplating the negative inner voices that keep so many of us from being the fully creative individuals we’re meant to be. Wouldn’t it be great if we could blow those eternal critics to smithereens once and for all? Detonate the Inner Perfectionist who tells us our creations aren’t good enough? Blast away the Mean-spirited Fault-Finder who tells us we aren’t good enough? Destroy all the voices insisting we’re not really writers and, by the way, our work stinks?

I decided to create my own version of the exploding enemy game, one that writers can visualize any time those nasty voices start their negative humming in our heads. The explosion you create in this visualization is gentler than in my brother’s game, but feel free to modify it in any way that works for you:

Close your eyes.

Relax with your hands in your lap, palms facing up.

Take three deep breaths. As you exhale, relax the muscles in your face, your neck, your shoulders. Feel the tension dripping away, all the way down your body and through the floor.

Now breathe normally and listen to the inner voice that’s telling you something negative. Really hear what he or she is saying. If there’s more than one voice or one message, just focus on the loudest one—you can go back and do the visualization again for each voice, if necessary.

As you listen to the voice and its message, imagine it as a character. Visualize how this inner critic looks and watch him as he yells, sneers or whispers his negative message. Take your time with this. The voice may come to life as a person, a monster, an object or anything else you can picture. Imagine the details of your critic’s face, body, clothes and gestures.

Once you have a clear image of your inner critic as a solid character spewing his negative message at you, imagine he’s suddenly being pulled a couple of feet up into the air by his shoulders. He’s still berating you, but his legs are moving helplessly, and it makes him look slightly comical.

Against his will, your inner critic is gradually pulled further and further up. It’s as if he’s attached to invisible marionette strings and the puppeteer is drawing him away from you.

As he floats upward, your inner critic’s voice becomes fainter and fainter…

You watch while he becomes increasingly smaller. Once he’s transformed into a tiny, ineffectual cartoon high in the air, he breaks up into a million pieces and dissolves into the sky.

Now that he’s gone, you look down again. You realize you’re standing in a beautiful meadow. You can feel the warmth of the sun on your face, and the grass is soft underneath your bare feet. You breathe in the scent of flowers and inhale the calming tranquility of the peaceful meadow.

Now open your eyes and begin writing.

Repeat this visualization every time an inner critic appears and tries to slow down or prevent the creativity you truly deserve to express.

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

A Great Source for Photo Prompts

Roka Walsh posts a compelling new photo every day on her wonderful blog Stories Without Words, and invites readers to “tell a story…pen a poem…write an essay…sing a song…create a title or caption” inspired by the image. She also offers interviews with the photographers and writers who contribute their work to round out her creatively stimulating blog. Check it out, scroll down and find a picture you’re drawn to, then write something inspired!

Daily Writing Prompts in Your Inbox

Get a little extra inspiration this month: writer/blogger Lisa Romeo is sending a writing prompt via email every day for the rest of January to anyone who requests it. If you’re interested, here’s the link: A January gift for writers. Nope, not late at all.

Thanks to reader Susan Bearman for bringing this offer to my attention!

100 Ways to Fire Up Your Muse

hot peppers

I just discovered writer/illustrator/guerrilla artist Keri Smith‘s list of 100 Ideas to spark your creativity. These prompts include writing, drawing and other types of inspirational stimulants.

Find the list here, then print it and cut along the dotted lines, creating 100 squares of inspiration. Use them in any way that works for you. Pick a random square every day/week and follow its instructions. Or choose one that appeals to you and do it every day for a week. Journal about your creative experiments. Or join a friend/a group and do them together. However you use these, make sure you’re having fun!

Add Some Rhythm to Your Writing

Here’s another fun resource for you poets out there: Write Rhymes, a site designed to help you find rhymes as you create. When I plugged in the word “muse” I received dozens of options, divided into one-, two- and three-syllable words.

The kangaroos love to schmooze and guzzle booze while listening to Blues and paddling their canoes in search of news about their favorite zoos in Santa Cruz.

Okay, that’s just silly. You get the idea.

resting kangaroos

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

A Great New Writing Tool

liquid blurJennifer Blanchard at Procrastinating Writers recently launched Write Everyday. It’s similar to Write or Die, but without the negative reinforcement. Write Everyday also supplies a writing prompt. You choose how long you want to write and whether you want to be stopped at the end of that period or allowed to keep writing. Then let the prompt inspire you to create something new. Don’t forget to cut and paste your work into a word processing program when you’re done.

@Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

Get Inspired

white flower

You can find a variety of inspirational devices over at Language is a Virus, including writing prompts, a character name generator, a poetry generator, the text collage, madlib poems, the haiku-a-tron and much more.  The site seems to have a slight goth vibe, but, even as a very un-gothlike writer, I’ve found plenty of inspiration here.

Write Something Magnetic

abstract wavesLet your muse come out to play with this magnetic poetry website.  Choose your subject matter: the artist, genius, office, romance or the poet.  When you’re done, you can submit your work for other people to read or browse through your fellow magnetic poets’ creations.

Can You Write for One Minute?

hourglassHere’s a great little tool for those overscheduled days:  The One-Minute Writer.  Every day a new prompt appears.  Click on the timer at the top of the page and spend 60 seconds writing whatever the prompt inspires.

(Source: Words, Words, Words)

Write or Die

typewriter

Quick post today to mention Write or Die, a truly evil application that provides negative reinforcement whenever you stop writing.  I’ve tried it; it works.

Write Naked!

Okay, I know I gave this post a provocative title.  Provocative, but not misleading, because I’m going to talk about writing while in the shower—and presumably naked.

shower

In my post Friday, I mentioned dragging my Muse into the shower to sneak in a creative moment. Writing in the shower came up in the comments to that post, too. Since it was on my mind, I did a little Internet research about shower writing. And I found products!

I’ve always written in my head in the shower, repeating a few sentences over and over until I’m finished so I won’t forget them. It never occurred to me to actually physically write in the shower. But apparently it occurred to other people, because you can buy the items below to help with your shower-time creativity.

Links to Shower Writing Tools:

Erasable Shower Note Tablet: Like a small whiteboard, with waterproof crayons, a crayon caddy and suction cup mounts included. (Looks like they’re out of stock at the time of this writing.)

AquaNotes: A pad of waterproof paper with suction cups to attach it to the shower wall. Comes with a water-resistant cedar pencil and a suction cup pencil holder. You can buy the regular AquaNotes or the “LoveNotes” to leave a message for that special someone in the shower!

Underwater Dive Slate: A search for “dive slate” turns up dozens of different dive slates made for scuba divers. But they’ll work fine in the shower, too.

waterfall

These are products designed for construction professionals who need to take notes in all sorts of weather:

Waterproof Bound Book

Waterproof Notepad

All-Weather Pen: A ballpoint pen that “writes on wet paper, and upside down in temperatures from -50 to 400°F.” I think at 400°F, the pen might be fine, but the writer would have melted into a puddle!

I also saw advice to use kids’ washable crayons or old-fashioned grease pencils to write on tile shower walls. I think I’m going to try out the AquaNotes. And I didn’t even know waterproof paper existed until yesterday!

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com


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About Sandy Ackers

Sandy

Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

To learn more about Sandy, click here: About Sandy

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Meet My Muse

Click here to read the post discussing my relationship with my somewhat pesky male muse.

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