How to use your iPad to get unstuck

Today’s post is via the amazing Daphne Gray-Grant (aka The Publication Coach).

Sorry to mention this to my readers who don’t have iPads, but here’s a fabulous free app if you do. It’s called Unstuck. It’s easy to use if you have a problem (a “stuck moment”) and it gives you a positive way of reframing the trouble.

Once you’ve registered (at no charge) here’s how it works . . .

Read the rest of this post on Daphne’s blog. Linger awhile–you’ll find lots of other terrific tips there.

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“Watch this” Wednesday: 29 ways to stay creative

Finding it hard to make time for your writing? Or maybe your creative well is empty?

Watch this great animation on 29 ways to stay creative, from TO-FU Motion Graphics Studio.

I stumbled up on this over at the Red Lemon Club, a site with great tips for writers and bloggers. It’s worth a visit.


Friday Freewrite

Sometimes a fun, no-pressure writing exercise is just the ticket to get my creative juices flowing when the words don’t come easy.

Do you want to join me?

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to free write for 15 minutes with the photo as your jump start.

Don’t worry about where it takes you. Keep your pen moving or the keyboard clicking. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, spelling or form. Just write. When your timer goes off, stop.

If you’re brave, post the results of the exercise on your blog and post a link in the comments. (It’s not cheating to distill what you wrote down to the best idea and give it a polish for posting. A quick polish or you’re just procrastinating again.)


“Watch this” Wednesday: An invocation for beginnings

Are you facing the blank page? Stuck in that “terrible place between zero and one?” Then watch this:

Who is that guy, anyway? That’s Ze Frank, humorist and social commentator. His The Show—a Daily Show-ish web series—debuted in March 2006 and ran for exactly one year, garnering a loyal following and a talent agent for Frank.

This video aired April 9, 2012 to launch Frank’s new web series—dubbed A Show—which was funded by his fans through a very successful Kickstarter campaign. He set out to raise $50K to cover the cost of a new camera/mic setup and help with video editing. Instead, he raised $150K.

Similar to his other projects, Frank’s new series is a collaboration between him and his audience. Catch up with other episodes of A Show here.

(I originally saw this video on author Alison Kent’s website, and knew I had to find out more about Frank.)


Friday Freewrite

I’m trying to get back on track with daily writing, after too much time spent on client work, blog updating, twittering, and surfing “for research.”

Oh yeah, and that whole life thing.

Meanwhile the writing suffers. I’ve got three projects in various states of undress. A WWII-set novella, a short contemporary romance novel (tentatively targeted at Harlequin) and my nanowrimo book (a 100K historical adventure/romance).

The characters from all three projects are still cluttering up my mind, still compelling. Right now they’re also frustratingly content to sit up there, like sullen patrons in an afternoon bar, hunched over their drinks. There’s a meathead in the corner smoking and my characters are lost to me sometimes behind the haze. Down in the basement, the girls are sulking, too.

It’s time to get in there and pull them out into the light again. Get some caffeine into them.

Time to get to work.

But the words don’t come easy after too much time away from a project.

Exercise your story-telling muscles

Sometimes a fun, no-pressure writing exercise is just the ticket to get my creative juices flowing again.

Do you want to join me?

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to free write for 15 minutes with the photo as your jump start. Don’t worry about where it takes you. Keep your pen moving or the keyboard clicking. When your timer goes off, stop.

(Click photo for a larger version.)

If you’re brave, share with us. (It’s not cheating to distill what you wrote down to the best idea and give it a polish for posting. A quick polish or you’re just procrastinating again.)

To me, the girl is the heroine of my story, lying down on the path, refusing to forge ahead.

What is she to you? Who is she to you? Where is she going? Where has she come from?


Watch Wednesday: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”

I thought about following the Wordless Wednesday blog tradition, but I just can’t resist adding commentary when I post a photo. So I’m going to do Watch Wednesdays instead. We’ll see how it goes.

Thought I’d start with a winner–an Oscar winner! The film below took Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards this past Sunday.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is the brainchild of ex-Pixar designer and illustrator William Joyce (you may have seen his New Yorker covers). Joyce partnered with Moonbot Studios to create both the standalone short film and a delightful interactive book-app for kids (available in the iTunes store).

I know it’s long for a blog clip at 15 minutes, but it’s worth a watch. I promise. So go grab a coffee or a shot of whiskey, or whatever wets your whistle, and settle in.

Joyce’s next project will be Rise of the Guardians, a feature-length animated film featuring Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. Joyce contributed to the screenplay and is executive producer on the film, which is based on his forthcoming Guardians of Childhood book series.

Watch for it in November 2012.


Writers’ workspaces

Maggie Gee's writing room. Photo by Eamonn McCabe.

If you’ve read this post, then you know I’m a home decorating/design junkie. I do more than my share to keep the shelter magazine business viable.

I’m particularly interested in other writers’ workspaces and what they surround themselves with to spark their creativity.

Author Ian's Rankin's office

The UK newspaper The Guardian used to run a fabulous series in the Books section on writers rooms, though sadly it hasn’t been updated recently.  The photographs, almost all by Eamonn McCabe, are wonderful and each is accompanied by the writer’s own description of their spaces and the totems and mementos that inspire them.

Check it out.