Friday, May 17, 2013
Does your creative writing feel a little predictable and samey lately? Do you find you always fall back to the same kind of words and phrases, the same kind of ideas?
A fantastic tool for giving your creative writing a new lease of life are creative writing prompts.
Here are 5 ways they can give your writing the boost it needs:
1. A new starting place gives a new perspective. When you write beginning from somewhere completely new, you can't help but have a different outlook to the ones you're familiar with. This fresh perspective encourages you to write with different eyes, in a way you may not have thought of before.
2. You can focus your energy on your writing, not on struggling for ideas. If you feel short of ideas then much of your creative energy seems to get sucked away desperately trying to find something interesting to write about. Creative writing prompts give you that different starting point so you can use your energy to focus on writing, not fretting about a lack of ideas.
3. You're more free to experiment. Writing on your own it's all too easy to stick to safe and trusted methods, even if it does mean you write virtually the same poem or story over and over again. Just by using writing prompts you're giving your creativity the green light, saying "I'm trying something new here, go with it and let's see what we can come up with." And you're creativity will be happy to oblige.
4. You write more, so you evolve more. You can write a short piece using a writing prompt in 5 or 10 minutes. With each new work, you've become a little more experienced, confident and flexible as a writer. This allows you to evolve more quickly meaning all of your writing benefits from a new depth of richness.
5. You put the fun back in writing. If you've been stuck in your writing lately, you'll have realised it's not much fun. Painful, more like. With writing prompts, you take off this pressure and instead begin with the attitude of enjoying your writing, experimenting and seeing where it leads. This new energy then spills over and enhances all your writing.
These are 5 great ways you can use creative writing prompts to give your writing a fresh injection of energy and start seeing more of your writing potential come to the fore.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Picture the scene. You head off to your creative workspace, head full of great ideas, ready to get writing and create wonderful, rich, three-dimensional characters in believable, realistic scenarios.
You're keen to write the stories that will touch and inspire people, make them say "that character spoke to me, I'm just like them!".
You open your notebook, switch on your computer, sit down, and... er, nothing happens, that's it.
For all your ambition and great intentions, you don't know where to start. You can't think what to write. You begin to wonder if you can even string together a couple of sentences, let alone a complete story or novel.
You're in the grip of the dreaded "Blank Screen Paralysis".
Also known as creative block, or writer's block.
But don't give up, because there's a way this story can still have a happy ending.
Creative writing prompts are an excellent tool to combat writer's block.
A creative writing prompt is a small phrase, idea, or picture that can be used to kick start your creative writing. They provide that initial little push we sometimes need to get our creative writing going.
Once we have got going, the momentum easily builds and we can write freely and deeply.
Creative writing prompts can be used as and when you need them, for example when you feel you're hit with some kind of creative block. But the great thing is, by using creative writing prompts regularly, you actually begin to create more easily without them.
Using them often means your mind begins to learn new ways of approaching your writing and finding starting points when it feels there aren't any. In a short space of time of using creative writing prompts written by others, you quickly begin to automatically come up with your own.
If you haven't used creative writing prompts before, try them out today and realise what a wonderful tool they can be to enhance your creative writing.
Monday, May 6, 2013
As admission to colleges and graduate schools becomes even more competitive, there is increasing importance placed on the essay as part of the admissions process.
Most of the colleges and graduate schools have different requirements and publish these in their guidelines. However, there is a basic approach to admission essay writing that you should use.
Your essay should be original and unique and make a good impression on the selection committee. In addition, your essay should reflect your analytical skills and your ability to deal with different situations, whilst also giving insights to the selection committee to help them understand why you want to do the particular course and how you will benefit from it.
Since admission essay writing does not come easy to everyone, it is always a good idea to start early so that you have plenty of time to proofread your essay and check your spelling and grammar.
The instructions provided by the college or graduate school that you are applying to will give you valuable tips on how to format and approach your essay, and you should follow these strictly. You would be surprised how many college applicants ignore these!
It is very important at the outset to develop your admission essay writing plan and then write your essay according to this plan. Your writing should demonstrate your ability to think clearly and express ideas properly while at the same time the essay should reveal your scholarly side.
The admission essay should clearly articulate your motivation for attending the college or graduate school and how you will benefit from the course. Your essay also needs to state what the institute will gain by accepting you as a student - many applicants forget this aspect.
It is very important to use a first person narrative while writing the admission essay and include active words that demonstrate the qualities and abilities that you will bring to the course. However, at the same time you should remember not to go overboard, or it may come across as false. Also don't make the essay too long as that will potentially lose the interest of the reader. One or two pages are likely to be sufficient but adhere to the published admission essay writing guidelines.
It is very important to keep your readers in mind while you are writing the essay. Check that your objective is clear and that your essay reveals the purpose and enthusiasm that you have for your chosen field of study.
As you can see, admission essay writing does not need to be difficult. The admission essay should portray your writing abilities and also reveal the clarity of thought and the depth of your knowledge in relation to your chosen field. In addition, you need to convey your motivation and commitment to study the course you are applying for and you can also use this to mention the career opportunities that you want to explore once you graduate.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
How many times have you been plagued by writer's block?
That horrible creative paralysis that comes when you're sat at a blank page or computer screen, desperate to write and pour out your creative ideas.
But the words just don't come. There's not even a slow drip, let alone the gushing rivers of creative writing you'd hoped for.
This type of creative block, or writer's block, can strike any creative writer and render them almost helpless.
But there is hope, and there are ways to overcome it.
Using creative writing prompts is a very effective method of combating the evil writer's block.
Creative writing prompts are in fact like your own special private team of superheroes.
They're ready and waiting to hit that evil villain known as writer's block right where it hurts and send it scurrying back to where it come from.
So how do these prompts work?
What they do is provide a short creative phrase, idea or sentence to get your creative juices flowing. Once you've had that little push to get you started, your own creativity kicks in and carries you forward.
The most difficult part of creating - especially when your confidence is low - is getting started.
Creative writing prompts step up to the rescue in their beautiful flowing capes and their underpants worn on the outside.
(Ok they don't ACTUALLY look like that, they're just a few words written down, but go with the analogy!)
So the next time you're stuck at a blank screen and feel you're suffering the effects and onset of writer's block, get on that superhero hotline and call up a few creative writing prompts to save the day!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
All the young Jedi apprentices groaned when Master Yoda announced, "You will an essay write."
Once upon a time, everything was made by hand. Each item had to be crafted individually; it took forever because there was no standardization. When Man grasped the concept of using patterns, templates and molds to mass-produce identical parts for later assembly, manufacturing efficiency took a great leap forward. Whether making furniture or automobiles, once people had assembled the first model, building additional copies was a piece of cake. They could be certain that the parts would fit together.
Why can't the same process be applied to writing essays?
Many folks would argue that writing an essay is not the same as building a car. An essay written by one individual will always differ from that of another. Conventional Wisdom says, "Essays defy standardization, so of course there is no way to make writing them easy." As a result, students believe that they must start from scratch all over again on each new essay assignment. The prospect causes great consternation. "What will I write? Where will I begin? If only there were some kind of essay writing system..."
The perception that no part of the essay writing process can be "systematized" (i.e. repeated over and over again) is flawed. It overlooks the fact that the structure of virtually every type of essay follows the same format. American high school English classes focus almost exclusively on the content of an essay. Since each essay assignment deals with new subject matter, students assume that all essays are different. They don't realize that "topic" is an irrelevant factor. There is very little discussion about the format of a properly structured essay.
Too bad! Most students don't learn the secret that makes writing essays easy - all they have to do is follow the same format every time. Usually the topic of the essay assignment is posed in the form of a question. There is never any doubt about where to begin - the first sentence of the essay should answer the question! After that, list some reasons supporting the answer. In the following paragraphs, provide details to back up those reasons. Each paragraph should deal with only one reason. Come to a conclusion.
It's a morceau de gateau (piece of cake). There is no need to feel confused. When students follow the format, writing an essay becomes like painting by the numbers. The formula never changes. Follow the yellow brick road and always stay on the path. If high school English teachers would devote three measly days to teaching this concept (and only this concept), most students would no longer have to panic when they hear, "You will an essay write."
c. 2009 Michael Strong