Tag Archives: ideas

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Fall is almost here, but are you prepared for a new season of writing? Whether you’ve been punching away at the keyboard all summer or not, autumn is a great season to refresh, recharge, and renew your writing life. Here are five tips to help you get ready for fall writing—and produce some of your best work yet:

Collect Fresh Ideas

Think about the summer and what you learned or experienced in the last few months. Tap into your senses to discover a new twist on the changing colors, air, and pace of this time of year. Attend a lecture or do some reading. Ideas are everywhere; find something unique to share.

Write a List

Goals are important for successful writing because they keep you organized, on task, and productive. Put together a list of them. Make it as detailed as you can, knowing you can alter your list as needed. Then put it somewhere visible to serve as a reminder and motivator.

Make Some Useful Purchases

Need a new writing desk? How about a new dictionary or a style book? Now’s the time to buy. There’s a full inventory of office and school supplies available, many at discounted prices. Take advantage of the deals and get your writing tools updated.

Join a Group

Writing groups are an ideal way to advance your craft, network, and keep you inspired to write. Find a group online or in person and get connected. You might also join a writing organization related to your genre. Many writing organizations have national and local chapters.

Prepare a Schedule

After the unstructured months of summer, it can be hard to get back to a routine. Take the time to prepare a schedule—and a plan for following it. Decide when you’ll write during the weekdays and weekend. Spend a day or two trying out the new schedule to see how it feels.

Fall is one of the best times of year to get serious about your writing. In fact, many writers create some of their best work during the autumn months. Let the above tips help make this writing season a success for you.

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Valentine’s Day is all about love, sweets, roses—and writing ideas. What better way to prepare for the upcoming holiday than to write about something reminiscent of it? These Valentine’s Day writing ideas won’t just inspire and uplift you; they’ll help set you up for a sale. So head to your computer and get your creativity—and heart—flowing:

Valentine’s Day History

For history buffs, Valentine’s Day is more than a holiday; it marks an important day in history. Check out this list of key events that have occurred on Valentine’s Day. Any would make an interesting story topic.

A Famous Couple

Bonnie and Clyde? Franklin and Eleanor? Kim and Kanye? Whoever interests you—or not—find a juicy detail about a famous couple and bring it to life.


Who doesn’t love puppies? And what puppy doesn’t remind us of love? Craft a story for kids, a piece for a pet magazine, or a personal essay about puppies.

The Color Red

What does the color red signify besides the color of a heart? Write an article on the color red—or pink, white, or purple, other common Valentine’s Day colors. Research what the color signifies to others, or write about an object or event associated with a Valentine’s Day hue.

Heart Health

Heart health is a popular topic today—and not just physical heart health. Broken hearts and how they affect mental well-being makes big headlines too. Actually, just about anything related to the human heart is a marketable story idea and one that's gratifying and potentially lifesaving.


Writing about chocolate might be the sweetest idea yet. If you like this tasty treat, you’ll have even more reason to pen a story or article about it. Plus, there’s plenty to talk about—a new type of chocolate, a favorite family recipe, a country known for its chocolate, you name it. When it comes to writing about chocolate, the sky’s the limit.


You might think roses are the flower of Valentine’s Day, but many people get bouquets of lilies, carnations, tulips, or a mix. Which flower do you like best? Find out what’s unique about it—does it have medicinal properties or an interesting past? Even if you’re not a gardener, writing about flowers is a great way to recognize Valentine’s Day, prepare for spring, and sell your work.

Valentine’s Day is more than a time to celebrate love—it’s filled with unlimited writing ideas, too. Pick one of the above, and take advantage of all the great writing potential packed into the sweetest day of the year.

Image by Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

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groundhogToday is Groundhog Day, a great day to think spring now that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted its arrival in just six weeks. With that in mind, why not leap into your writing by working on some fulfilling and rewarding new projects that’ll make the last few weeks of winter fly by? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Enter a writing contest. In past years, I’ve posted many Spring writing contests around the state and nation. Take a look at my past posts for 2012 and 2013, and check the links for updates. Visit Fanstory.com, and look at the upcoming contest offerings. Or search writing contests in your preferred genre or locale, and see what pops up.  You’ll be surprised at all the options, both fee based and free, for entering a writing contest.

Start a writing journal. I asked for a writing journal for Christmas this year. It’s still sitting on my desk, waiting for my pen to mark up the pages. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I want to use my journal—as a place to take notes, write poetry, draft character profiles, jot down writing tips, practice paragraph styles, scribble daily thoughts, or all of the above. Of course, you don’t need to put a lot of thought into journal writing. The purpose is to just write, every day. Good advice to self.

Write outside the box.  Have you ever wanted to write a fantasy story but didn’t think you had it in you? Do you sometimes wish you could go back to school and develop your writing skills more fully? Has your fear of networking kept you from meeting other writers and finding markets for your work? Being a successful writer requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Take a class, try your hand at writing in a different genre than you’re used to, or join a writer’s group. The benefits of your leap of faith will far outweigh the risks.

Happy writing all!

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Confetti Head 8wAs I mentally prepare for our new puppy arriving in March, I contemplate how my writing life will be affected by the upcoming change. If I recall correctly, the last puppy (now all grown up) was a handful. I didn’t write much during that time, but it was also summer, a slower writing season for me. Still, I wonder how much I could have really accomplished, between all the potty training, puppy classes, and general daily busyness of puppyhood.

And then I think...wait a minute, this puppy thing could really work to my advantage as a writer.

First of all, having a puppy will force me to be organized and productive with my day. Unlike summer, spring is a busy writing season. I can’t make excuses for not using my time wisely because, frankly, there’s no time for that. When the puppy naps, I will write. I can use the longer naps for intensive writing and the shorter snippets for more menial tasks. Chores can wait till someone else is home to puppy sit. Those chunks of quiet time will be the ideal, if not the only, times to write.

Having a puppy will also force me to take breaks. Sometimes, I find myself sitting for too long, agonizing over a word or sentence. But when the puppy needs my attention, I’ll have to break away from my work—unless I want to deal with the consequences of ignoring her. More than likely, the puppy won’t be the only one profiting from that break. I have discovered that often the best way to get “unstuck” when writing is to walk away from it for a period of time. Those forced breaks will also give me a chance to stretch, hydrate, exercise, and refresh.

A third way the puppy will benefit my writing is by giving me something to write about. Puppies aren’t just cute; they’re incredibly interesting. Spending time with a puppy can unlock a goldmine of writing ideas. Just think of all the topics that relate to puppies: names, habits, temperament, toys, safety, separation, breed issues, sleep patterns, diet, accessories, training, vet visits, car travel, and on and on. Having a puppy is a surefire way to end writer’s block.

Finally, for those of us who work in solitude, puppies help alleviate loneliness. Lucky for me, I already have one dog. Adding another will double the company.

But what about the puppy? How will she benefit—or will she—from a writer’s life?

Hmmm…I would have to say an enthusiastic yes! And here’s why:

Puppies do best when their owners are at home. They can move about freely without being restrained by a crate and can have daily human contact. Further, dogs (like humans) benefit from routines. Once I set up my new routine, the puppy will learn to follow it and—just like my current dog did—will develop a sense of structure to her daily life, too. Mostly, though, my puppy and I will have more opportunities to bond, whether she’s sleeping peacefully next to my desk or chewing on the leg of my chair to alert me it’s break time.

Together, we’ll learn to co-exist, doing what we do as a writer and a puppy.


writing journal

Going through a midsummer writing slump? If you can’t get yourself to sit down and write, what you might need is something new and different to inspire you—or at least get you thinking about writing again. Here are some ideas for getting back on track with your craft this summer:

1. Relive your vacation. Did you do something interesting on your summer vacation? Maybe you went somewhere unique or experienced something worth sharing. Or, maybe you have a funny anecdote to tell. Jot it down! Whether or not it becomes a publishable piece doesn’t matter; writing about a memorable time is motivating, fun, and stress-free.

2. Start a journal. Journals can also be motivating for writers. If you haven’t been keeping one, summer is a good time to start. Journals are a place to write about anything you want, in any style or form you want. They often lead to something bigger, but they can be self-serving, too.

3. Revisit an unfinished piece. Did you write a story years ago and toss it aside? Why not pull it out and take another look. After all this time, you may find a new way to approach the piece and discover that it’s worth finishing after all.

4. Write a book review. If you’ve read something good (or bad) this summer, consider writing about the book. Book reviews are always appreciated. Give a brief summary, explain the book’s strengths and weaknesses, and offer a general opinion. You can submit the review for publication, post it on your blog, or share it with friends.

5. Take a writing refresher class. Taking a writing class is a great summer pick-me-up, and it can accomplish many things, including learning a new writing skill and fine-tuning what you already know. Most important, writing classes will get you writing, and they may even result in several potential submissions. For convenience, look into the numerous writing courses offered online.

Got any other ideas? Please feel free to share your remedy for a midsummer writing slump.


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Can’t think of anything to write about? If you’re at a loss for words, try looking at a picture. Pull out that box of old photos and unearth one of your favorites. Better yet, grab your camera and take a fresh shot of anything that inspires you—trees, animals, food, people, the sunset. Then go back to your desk and study the picture. Imagine all the possibilities it has to offer for a story.

Take this photo of a buck that appeared outside my husband’s office window. At first glance it’s just a buck, one of many we Minnesotans see meandering through the wooded areas of our cities and suburbs. But look more closely at the image and consider all the ways you could write about it.

Start with the buck’s physical traits, like his enormous size and thick belly. This guy could easily weigh 200 pounds or more. Look closely at his impressive antlers. How many branches or points do you count? Notice his eyes. He’s staring directly at the photographer (my husband), intensely and fearlessly. Now study the scene. He’s alone in a wooded area in the wintertime. But imagine what you can’t see too. What’s beyond the trees? Are there other deer nearby? How did he get here? What’s his next move? Is he in any danger?

Together these details could set the stage for an engaging fiction story, either for children or adults. Alone they offer numerous topics for a nonfiction piece—from antler uses to buck behavior to wild animals living among civilization. The point is, just by studying a picture you can come up with all kinds of writing ideas. Try it and see how easily the words begin to flow.