Ya know, these inkpunk people have written a lot of really smart stuff. I remember when I first started reading the blog a few years ago each new post was a breath of fresh air and inspiration. At the time I was trying to restart my own creative life with ambitions to write an epic fantasy novel or maybe create a webcomic, or at least start drawing again, SOMETHING! Every post left me feeling energized and ready to do it.
So today I decided to select a few inkpunk gems from the past, focusing on inspiration, setting goals, style, writing exercises, etc. Whether you are gearing up for NaNoWriMo* next month, looking for motivation to start a new creative endeavor, or full tilt in your current WIP, may this help fuel the fires and release the madness.
From Adam Israel:
Learning To Say No: “There was a day, not that long ago, that I’d jump at any opportunity for volunteer work in the speculative fiction field. I was eager, willing and capable, even when my workload was already spilling over the edges like a good bowl of french onion soup… ” ~read more
Working Through Self Doubt: “I had to figure out a deeper truth. The most important thing to writing a first draft is to get the ideas onto the page. Like working with clay, you have to start with a rough form before you can shape it into something beautiful. Revision is the potters wheel, spinning and spinning until the prose sings a song that brings tears to our eyes.” ~read more
From Andrew Penn-Romine:
Capturing the Essence: Gesture Drawing for Writers:“I started carrying around a small notebook in pocket at all times, prepared to sketch any interesting people who came my way. I quickly found that my notebook became more of an idea book, however, with rough sketches replaced by descriptive phrases and bits of doggerel.” ~read more
Failure: You’re Doing it Right: “Failure is part of the process, so it’s helpful to openly acknowledge it as such and move on from any sense of shame you might feel. The more you think of it as normal, the less it can bug you.” ~read more
From Carrie Ratajski (aka Geardrops):
First person POV and Developing other Characters: “So this round, I’m sitting down with each character and thinking through their story in this story. How did they get here exactly. What do they want. How do their wants change as the story goes on. What are they doing while they’re offscreen.” ~read more
Listmaking and Letting Go: “My two lists are “Things I Want That Are Wholly Within My Control” and “Things I Want That Are Not Wholly Within My Control.” (Well actually they’re “career goal things” and “career squee things” but you don’t need to know the sordid details of my doc filing system.)” ~read more
From Christie Yant:
Getting Unstuck: “What [Steven] Brust’s lecture did was provide me with tools to help me write cool shit that matters when I’m stuck. Because if it’s not cool, I frankly don’t want to write it.” ~read more
Writing What’s Real: “I remember the first time I put something real in a story. It was the smell of my ex-boyfriend’s leather jacket, the way it smelled at 2:00 a.m. on a park bench in a seaside college town as we watched a Jerusalem cricket slowly amble by in the sodium glow of the streetlight.” ~read more
From Erika Holt:
Getting Started: The Hardest Part: “Overcoming inertia seems impossible at times. This is particularly true when I’ve taken a long break or have only been able to write sporadically. That elusive thing called “flow” is absent and I feel I’ll never get it back.” ~read more
Breaking out of a Stylistic Rut: “…the early days can also be a time of heady experimentation. A literary story written in first person, present-tense might be followed by a high fantasy story in distant third person. We write flash pieces, and novellas, and portions of novels. We’re not yet constrained by our style, because we don’t have one. Once we move beyond this stage, into what might be considered a “style” of our own, other problems can arise.” ~read more
From Jaym Gates:
Decompression: “I wrote 4 novel drafts, over 50 short or flash stories, and a crap-ton of blog and forum posts. I added it all up at one point (minus forum posts and most blogs) and had over 300,000 words, about a year before that pace caught up with me. I burned out HARD.” ~read more
In Her Forehead Are the Blessings of Allah: “This post isn’t going to correct EVERYTHING Hollywood gets wrong, but that’s not what it is about. It’s more about examining the horse as a companion and cohort in heroics.” ~read more
From John Remy:
Abuse Your Muse: “So here’s my idea, which I wish someone had told me earlier in my writing career: We own our muses, not the other way around. They are not cats, or addictions, or sacrifice-demanding, dictating deities. Here are three ways you can abuse your muse:” ~read more
Making Nanaowrimo Work for You: “I participated in NaNoWriMo [years ago], and am wondering if I should subject myself to this painful experience again this year. Maybe others are contemplating similar questions.” ~read more
From Sandra Wickham:
Sometimes We Need a Kick in the Butt; “…check out Written Kitten I’ve used it to help get words down because it’s absolutely adorable. You can set the number of new words you need to produce before you get a new kitten, 100, 200, 500 or 1000. When you hit that number, surprise! A new, incredibly cute kitten picture appears. Who can resist that?” ~read more
Write-Brain Excuses; “On my shelves I have a great book called “The Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing,” by Bonnie Neubauer. In this crazy writing life, one thing this is clear. Improving our writing requires practice, practice and more practice. I’ve mined some of my favorites for you. These can help you out of a writing slump, can serve as a warm up for your writing session or can spark ideas for larger works. However you use them, have fun!”~read more
From Wendy N. Wagner.
YES, BUT – NO, AND: “If you’re like me, a wonderful scene will just pop into your head while you’re doing dishes or going for a walk, and you become really excited about it. It’s only later, when you sit down to work through the scene that you realize this scene is so perfect and complete that you can’t figure out what could possibly come after it.” ~read more
Fire it up! A writing exercise: “Find an object to study. Maybe it’s a painting. Maybe it’s a jar of hand cream. Anything will do, as long as it’s close at hand. Make sure you have no distractions. Turn off the phone and feed the cats. Let yourself relax.” ~read more
There you go. A healthy serving of advice, a dash of commiserating, a few exercises, some horses, a few kitties, and an ex-boyfriend’s leather jacket. Now, go forth and create something!
*For those of you interested in artistic NaNaWriMo alternatives, check out my post on that subject for the Functional Nerds.