October 2020 archive

Sometimes, We’re Mute, We Writers (with Writing Resources for Writers who Dream)

Not all Writers Look Alike; and Neither do the Writing Resources We Need

SOMETIMES, WE’RE MUTE, we writers. Sometimes, we drift, dream, words floating above us, like sunset clouds in fantastical shifting shapes—now a ship, now a sheep, now a swan and his wife. Sometimes, it’s twilight, and we’re quiet, content. Sometimes, we choose not to cast our nets to capture those words, glittering like so many stars in the broad night sky of our imagination.

My writer friend and co-author Tia Levings signs off emails with this quote:

But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, for they may think their dreams into reality with open eyes. —T.E. Lawrence 

So, yes, sometimes, it’s enough to read what’s in our own hearts, and let the words build castles and angels and half-memories, undisturbed. Sometimes, we have no need to chase them and jar them, like fireflies, but, instead, simply watch the words flicker into tiny, brief constellations that mean just what they mean to themselves, while we allow them—and ourselves—to be mysteries that remain unsolved. At least for now.

These may be times you search for other writing resources – to read fairy tales or peek into other writers’ journals to see how they dream and drift on the page. Here are some stories and pages that may flutter beside your own quiet heart right now.

Reading resources for dreaming writers

A GIRL GOES INTO A FOREST, short stories by Peg Alford Pursell

MAGICKAL FAERYTALES: An Enchanted Collection of Retold Tales, by Lucy Cavendish (edited by me!)

SPILLING OPEN, a visual journal by Sabrina Ward Harrison

THE DIARY OF FRIDA KAHLO, by Frida Kahlo

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching! And check out Should I Hire a Writing Coach” in THE WRITER magazine.

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The cloud painting, above, is from my art journal—where I dream in color and shape and brushstrokes … and sometimes in words.

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Writing Prompts: Words + Pictures = Magic!

3 Writing Prompts to Spark Your Writing

WE WRITERS CAN BE AS VISUAL AS WE ARE VERBAL. Each of the following writing prompts capitalizes on this by inviting you to start with images and find words to accompany them. Use these exercises to spark a new story or poem—or to just have fun!

Writing Prompt 1: That looks good enough to eat!

  • Find an image of a prepared food dish that intrigues you—because it looks delicious, or ridiculously complicated, or for any other reason. Then, without knowing the ingredients, write the recipe. Now, write a scene in which your dish is prepared and served—for better or worse.

If you particularly enjoy this exercise, you might like the journal ALIMENTUM: THE LITERATURE OF FOOD.

Writing Prompt 2: Every picture tells a story

  • visual writing promptsChildren’s picture books and graphic novels both rely as much on illustrations to tell their stories as they do words. For this prompt, find half-a-dozen compelling images (funny, absurd, poignant, intriguing) online or in a magazine. Cut them out or print them, then arrange them so they tell a story, which you then write.

If you have fun with this, your inner comic-book writer might like MAKING COMICS by Scott McCloud or DRAWING WORDS AND WRITING PICTURES by Jessica Abel.

Writing Prompt 3: Colorful language

  • Go to the hardware store and grab a handful of appealing paint chips. The color names are often almost poetic! Combine some of them to create a found/collaged poem—or write a story about someone who names paint colors for a living. Be sure to include plenty of color words in whatever you write.

If you’re interested in another color-centric prompt, check out this post: “Color My World.”

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching! And check out Should I Hire a Writing Coach” in THE WRITER magazine.

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