Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Thousand Words: When Worlds Collide

Creative Commons image by Dan Roberts on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

Getting Ready for an Hour of Silent Writing

If you’re a writer finding it difficult to make time for writing, think about joining the Silent Writers Collective tonight for its weekly online writing retreat.  All writers are welcome to join in at 9 EST  and commit an hour (or more) to their craft.  Starting tonight, the sessions will be unmoderated.

You can work on your own project or use one of the exercises provided below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Totally Wow”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources: The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Wallace Stevens

“After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.”

— Wallace Stevens
from The Well Dressed Man with a Beard

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Wallace Stevens, The Well Dressed Man with a Beard, *~Dawn~* on Flickr, The Daily Post.

A Thousand Words: Totally Wow!

Creative Commons image by Ben Ferenchak on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Maybe it will inspire you to get happy and excited, really, really excited about something. Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen, and that you enjoy the hell out of it.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

Old Book Blossoms into New Vase

This week’s Once A Book project comes from the blog Atypical Type A by Alicia Parsons.

When Ms. Parsons was planning her literary themed wedding, she turned old books into these unique vases for decoration.  There’s so much I love about that whole idea, starting with the literary themed wedding. Fabulous!

Her tutorial, Make a vintage book vase, is easy to follow, requires only basic craft supplies, and makes a vase that is lovely to look at, but it is just for looks.  To make a vase that holds water and a stem or two, use a book with a spine wide enough to wrap around a small test tube or florist water tube.  Insert the tube before adhering the end pages in step 6.

As always, with Once A Book projects, if you try it, send a picture and I’ll post it here.

Resources: Once A Book, Atypical Type A, The Daily Post.


Baths, Books, Rules: Authors Share Their Inspiration

Writers Recommend is an online exclusive at Poets & Writers that asks authors:

“What Inspires You?”

For Heather Sellers, author of “You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know” (Riverhead Books, 2010), it’s a bath, a pile of magazines, lavender oil, and as much time as she needs.

Aimee Bender, author of “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” (Doubleday, 2010) says, “Rules. I’m a big believer in structure, and the idea that creativity loosens up when constrained a bit.

Stuart O’Nan, author of 14 novels, reads pages from his favorite book.

With responses from more than 100 authors, the answers are as varied as these three examples, yet there are a lot of similarities, too.  To read all the responses, and find some inspiration of your own, read  Writers Recommend from Poets & Writers.

Resources: Poets & Writers, The Daily Post.

The Power of Pop-Up

Peter Dahmen sculpts with paper.  He turns the flat, relatively mundane, everyday item into 3-D forms that fold up, reach out, curve over, bend under, and swirl around. The effect is phenomenal.

After watching the sculptures come to life in this video, it’s hard to imagine they are made from plain old paper.  Once again, I’m inspired by the power of the creative mind and the commitment it takes for artists to bring their ideas to life.

If you’re feeling very ambitious, there’s a tutorial.  I suppose creating something like this, with the planning and modeling already done, is a possibility, but just watching the process shows how much detail goes into each sculpture, even one as small as this.

Resources: Peter Dahmen, The Daily Post.

The Joy of Retitling the Classics

Of all the books on my must read list, classics cause me the most guilt.  As a writer, I know I should read them, but it’s hard to resist the temptation of the latest literary sensation.  I’d much rather read “A Visit from the Good Squad” than say “War & Peace.”  I know it’s to my benefit to read them both, but who’s got that kind of time?

I’ve just discovered a website that can help.  Better Book Titles is a blog for people who don’t have time to read. Website creator Dan Wilbur says, “I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!”

Reader Submission: Title and Redesign by the near-doctor John Molina. Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are

It’s a tongue in cheek approach, but Mr. Wilbur is a comedian, so it fits. For a few good laughs and an opportunity to get caught up on some reading, visit Better Book Titles at http://betterbooktitles.com. Be forewarned, if you’re easily offended, you’d probably prefer the library.

NOTE: My apologies for the lack of links and finesse on this post.  I’m in a mad rush to catch a plane and WordPress is misbehaving.  Links, tags, etc., are not working.  I was able to trick in a few, but rather than skip a post or toss my beloved laptop out the window, I’m posting plain today. There’s more info on Better Book Titles below.  Ah, technology.

Silent Writers’ Prompts and 67 Reminders

The weekly Silent Writers online writing retreat will be held tonight at 9 pm EST.  All writers are invited to participate, but those who find it difficult to put distractions aside and make the time to write will find it especially useful.  Writing for a specific and set amount of time on a consistent basis is not only satisfying, it improves skills and helps build a rewarding writing life.

To participate,  join in tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.  You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

If you can’t join in, but need a motivation boost to take with you, read 67 Things to Remember When Writing by Cristin Terrill on her blog Incidents & Accidents. She says, it’s a “small checklist of common advice to keep in mind when writing a novel so that you don’t make a total mess of things.”  The list is a semi-serious, semi-jokey compilation with an important message at the end.

Now, on to the prompts:

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Free Realms”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources: Incidents & Accidents. Simon Howden portfolio, The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Steve Wozniak’s Apple I

“Even if you do something
that others might consider wrong,
you should at least be willing to talk about it
and tell your parents what you’re doing
because you believe it’s right.”
— Steve “Woz” Wozniak
Designed and hand-built the first Apple computer

Apple I On display at the Smithsonian

Apple I computer, created April 11, 1976.

The Apple I Computer was Apple’s first product.  It was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak, and sold by his friend Steve Jobs.

Woz and Jobs initially built 50 computers and sold them at a local computer store for $666.66 each.  They sold every one.  In total, about 200 Apple I Computers were built, but they quickly became obsolete.

Inspired by their success, Woz designed the Apple II less than a year later, and it went on to become one of the great computer successes of all time.

The Apple I still fares pretty well, though.  In November 2010, an Apple I sold for $212,267 at Christie’s auction house in London.  It is the highest price paid for this model so far.

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Apple, The Daily Post