Creative Writing Tips

A Breath of Fresh Air. Inspirational Quotes for Creative Writers.

Writing is difficult. If it wasn’t, so many more people would do it. To combine all of your thoughts, feelings, opinions, aspirations, plots, characters and grammar into a woven piece of art that will touch your audience, satisfy your need to create and share your story is a mammoth undertaking.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but sometimes (a lot of the times) I’m scared of this challenge. I don’t think of it in bite sized, manageable pieces. I dream about a series of unforgettable novels that shape childhoods. It helps me to get advice from my favorite authors. Of course, I’ve never met them, so Google helps me a great deal in that apartment. Their novels also leave bread crumbs of how they feel about the world and what makes them tick.

It inspires me. I hope you feel the same way. I’ve complied a little sampling of some of my favorite quotes from some of the authors who have impacted me.


“I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life, and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No - I must keep my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.” 
Jane Austen's Letters

“Sometimes, you have to stop trying to force it, walk away and let your subconscious show you the way. Fill up on life for a while.” JK Rowling

“Maybe some writers enjoy the first draft—the part of the writing process when anything is possible, and you’re out there forging your own path. I hate that part. All I can think about when I’m starting a book are all the words I haven’t written yet. I actually feel them, hanging around my neck, tugging at me.” Rainbow Rowell

“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.” Dr Seuss

We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” JK Rowling

“We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.”  Madeleine L’Engle


Brainstorming Ideas: Tips for Creative Writers

I think we’ve all been there. We are ready to start a new project, but we just can’t land on the perfect idea. There are so many different story lines and interesting plots running through our mind, it’s hard to organize what we actually want to write about. I know I have this problem - a lot. I decided to research and see how other writers have dealt with this issue. Maybe we can all find a new technique to try for the next time this happens.


Just Write

It sounds pretty easy and obvious, but sometimes those are the hardest tasks to actually start and finish. Sit down, maybe give yourself a certain amount of time and set a timer, write until the timer goes off or until you’ve run out of thoughts. Take a look at what’s in front of you. Can you find any good plots in there? Maybe you stumbled upon something meaningful, a jumping off point.

Maybe unorganized free writing isn’t a good method for you. Try making a list, use bullet points, stars, smiles, whatever inspires you to keep writing. Write down everything - even if it seems unimportant or silly.

Sometimes a Mind Map can link all your jumbled ideas together into a cohesive time line. Jot down all your thoughts, plots, phrases about characters, a scene you can’t let go of, anything that comes to mind. Now, circle the ones that could go together and link them. This is very strategic and you should probably use a large open space you don’t mind looking a tad bit crazy in. I know post-its and post cards are used for these too. Just imagine the beautiful, sort of organized chaos!

Phone a Friend

Ok, so, you don’t actually have to call your friends. I mean, that is an option. Chat with a fellow writer or someone who is great at cooking up ideas. Chat about all the different plots you’ve been dreaming up and see if they can help you narrow it down. Maybe they can harness your creative energy into the best novel the world has ever seen. Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!


With that being said, who knows what you are capable of until you get started. A friend could be the best person to motivate, challenge and inspire you to keep going. Maybe it’s someone who has been with you since the beginning. I’m sure there are many memories of adventures and mishaps that you can bond about that could lead to yet another great idea.

Use Your Senses

Take in what’s around you. Go for a walk. Let nature speak to you. Take a deep breath and let the calmness wash over you. Let it still all the ideas racing around your mind. Maybe you haven’t liked any of your recent ideas. Let nature boost your creativity.

Sit down where you are. What do you feel? Smell? Taste? Hear? Jot down what comes to you. Use these questions to jog past memories or stories you’ve heard or possibly, hopefully inspire a new idea.

If you’d like to dive deeper into brainstorming, there are a lot of great resources out there. The one that resonated most with me was this blog post by Jamie Goodwin.

Thanks for reading the Chantwood blog. Remember, we are always accepting short story and poetry submissions. We can’t wait to hear from you! Thank you for sharing with us.

Writing a Meaningful Poem: Tips for Creative Writers

Writing a poem can be stressful like any other project. You want to convey your purpose to the audience. It can be challenging to find new ways to express topics that have been long discussed. I know I have hesitations beginning a new poem because I do not want to overuse phrases that people are tired of reading. I did a little research on some ways to help with the typical issues writers run into when starting (and finishing) poetry.


Stay Away from Cliches

It’s easy to fall into the cycle of using popular phrases to express something abstract. If you’ve heard it a million times, so have your readers. It’s best to avoid cliches because people tend to skim over them, and they never feel what you’re trying to convey.

If your poem is about something intangible - love, fear, friendship - try breaking it down into concrete memories and actions that you can describe. Use adjectives and nouns in a way that sets the scene up for the audience. They should be able to see, hear, taste or feel what you’re describing.

Be original! Quirky, surprising and refreshing lines stick with the reader. They will smile and feel connected to your poem. Certainly the next time a friend asks for a suggestion or they’re searching for some new poetry to check out, your name will be on the list.


Know Your Purpose

Sometimes we start writing when we’re overwhelmed with feelings and it can be chaotic. Before you start writing, like any other project, know what you’re trying to create with your words. Are you describing the beauty of nature around you? Are you expressing your viewpoint on a subjective topic? Are you writing a love note to your significant other? Whatever the purpose is, go in with a clear path of what you want your audience to take away from your poem.

At this beginning stage, maybe you’re not quite sure where you want your poem to go. Try free writing. Write down all your thoughts, feelings, anything that comes to mind about the subject you’ve settled on. Sometimes when we go back and read this, we find a diamond in the rough. See what I did there? Hey, at least it was in Aladdin.


Use Your Surroundings

The best poems I’ve read describe the most mundane things in the most magical ways. Utilize what’s around you. If you’re on the bus, pay attention to the people near you. Normal relationships can spark a great idea. Maybe someone is having a fight, maybe someone is listening to music and dancing. People watch wherever you go.

Spend time in nature. The beauty of the Earth can inspire meaningful words. Switch up where you write. Spend time with people who bring you joy. Especially if you are writing about an abstract feeling, being with someone who makes you feel loved or happy or whatever emotion you’re trying to convey, can help you create concrete metaphors, similes and descriptions.

During my digging, I found a favorite. If you want more advice on writing poetry. check out Jerz’s Literacy Webblog.

So, get to it! Write that poem. Research that book. Outline that story. Everyone is waiting to hear from you. Don’t forget to submit your work to Chantwood!

Writing Contests: Do Your Research Creative Writers.

Have you ever wondered whether or not you should enter your creative writing in a contest? Chantwood’s very own Amanda O’Dell has the scoop on what you need to know about writing contests.

Writer's Block: The Struggle is Real. Tips for Aspiring Writers

Writer's Block: The Struggle is Real. Tips for Aspiring Writers

Writer’s Block. Both new and established writers have come up against this foe once or twice in our careers. But it doesn’t have to be the monster we sometimes make it out to be. Here are a few tips for aspiring writers on how to beat writer’s block once and for all.