This is a guest post by Laura Ehrke, CE Writing Instructor.
April showers bring May flowers, but also days of forced indoor time just when we want to get outside. To quote another adage – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. For writers, this is the perfect weather to work on a project or experiment with something new.
Whether you plan to pen the next great American novel, write stories for yourself, or are just looking for a creative outlet, these five suggestions are fun and functional:
- Try a Prompt: A prompt a day keeps writers block away, or at the very least, boosts creativity. Who knows where they may lead – did you know that Frankenstein was written in response to Lord Byron’s writing challenge? Look online for “writing prompts” and you’ll find a plethora; one of the most impressive sites I’ve seen is blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts, which boasts over one thousand prompts—sortable by genre. Another fun idea is to pick a random image and write a creative narrative for it.
- Be Inspired by the Classics. Visit your local library or go online to Gutenberg.org to download free digital copies of literary favorites. Some of the most popular titles from the latter include: Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Great Gatsby, Dracula, Metamorphosis, A Tale of Two Cities, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write a new twist on one of these treasures or invent something completely new.
- Listen to a Writing Podcast. Listen to an array of topics about writing, from where to start to how to publish. Writer’s Digest lists twenty-three of their favorite sources at https://www.writersdigest.com/resources/best-podcasts-for-writers-101-best-websites-for-writers
- Read Famous Rejections. It’s comforting to know that even the best writers have been rejected, sometimes on several occasions, yet they persisted and published literary history. Read biting examples at: mentalfloss.com and litrejections.com; some of my favorites include:
- “An endless nightmare. I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book.” (War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells)
- “Stick to teaching.” (to Louisa May Alcott)
- “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” (to Rudyard Kipling)
- Enter a Writing Contest. Not only do writing contests offer a chance at winning a prize or receiving recognition for your fine work, they also carry a deadline. Give yourself this impetus to finish a writing project – plus, you may just win. Writing magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers post upcoming contest opportunities.
Laura Ehrke is a Writing Studio instructor at Harper CE and is a published novelist, blogger and writing coach. Her education includes studying British literature and poetry at Oxford University, a bachelor’s degree in communications from DePaul University and a master’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Chicago, with supplemental graduate coursework in writing at Northwestern University. Laura has been a featured speaker at several literary and cultural events, including Comic Con, Pop Culture Con, the University of Chicago Liberal Arts Panel, NaNoWriMo forums and library programs.
Inspired to start your writing journey?