Creative Rites

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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RE: Creative Rites

Postby fish1onthefly » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:55 pm

I am really new but most all my writing ideas come from my experiences. I guess I write about what I know. I am a bit long in the tooth as they say so I guess I am lucky to have a lot of water under the bridge to dip into!

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wilhem spihntingle
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RE: Creative Rites

Postby wilhem spihntingle » Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:46 am

I usually have access to a pen where ever I'm at. I get an idea and I write it down on anything I can find, sometimes even a store receipt, if that's all I have handy. Music is a big tool for me. If I get stuck while I'm writing, I'll stop and then lie in bed and think it over. I'm always thinking about the story. Sometimes it takes a while, but eventually it comes together. My biggest challenges are usually how to tie scenes / chapters together. Steven King's book "On writing" was by far the best thing I have ever read that has helped me.



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RE: Creative Rites

Postby gearhead » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:49 am

The only possible rite I might have now is going to a coffee shop, really just the idea of getting out of the house. I *can* write at home, and I have, but leaving the house makes it seem rather official, like I'm headed out to the office (which happens to be full of stangers, plus really good coffee and sandwiches). I also find that when there are other people around doing things it makes me feel somehow oddly accountable for some measure of productivity. This works particularly well at the nearby Starbucks as there often seem to be young-ish/-er people in there working on what I have to assume is college coursework. There's another coffee shopt that I infrequent (hours don't coincide with my evening schedule) which is definitely on the indie/artsy side, and the general vibe of the whole place puts me going in the creative process. Overall, though, leaving the house is just a good deal for me.

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RE: Creative Rites

Postby noblew » Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:30 am

I watch, I listen, I think and I dream.
I think about the plot, a character, a situation whenever and wherever they pop into my head.
This has meant that at times I've barely escaped with my life while driving. (My apologies to the Australian driving public.) I've often thought I should have a big bumper sticker - BEWARE: WRITER ON BOARD.

I like to go to places that I've set the story in and get a feel for the place. I take lots of photographs, I sniff the air, make copious notes re flora and fauna, and I imagine myself as the character and walk it through. I also try to talk to locals and get a feel of their attitude, speech patterns etc. I like to place myself in the story physically if I can.

I'd better make it clear: I write stores set within my home state. I write historical crime stories, based on true events.

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RE: Creative Rites

Postby Horror_Writer » Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:58 pm

I come up with something when I'm moving. That's pretty much it.

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RE: Creative Rites

Postby MindMyst » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:57 pm


This is a very good thread with lots of ideas that work. Myself,... I usually get on a controversial subject, and research it up a bit to see if I can back up my initial opinion. I like to "flesh it out a bit" with some ideas from both sides of the issue, and then I put down the first draft into a working file.

Even if I don't get time to work it up to finished, publishable form, I find that I can use it for other avenues of fodder such as dialog ideas between characters, or more often than not, I'll chyunk it up into a humor piece, or a set of stand up lines for comedy.

Anything current is fair game. And, everyone takes a side on various issues. So, unless you live under a rock, you should be able to find several decent stories on any given day of the week.

Have a great spring,


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RE: Creative Rites

Postby crazylady » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:30 am

It's funny how I came across this thread today - Yesterday I questioned why I come up with ideas in the oddest of places or at the oddest of times. I now know that I am as normal as the rest of you. Hahaha...

My creative want-to-write because the ideas are exploding in my head time comes twice a day - 1. In the shower and 2. The first twenty minutes I lay in bed to fall asleep. God help me when I set aside specific time periods to write. That is when the critical editor side of me invades to chop and delete without mercy leaving me exhausted and stressed.

So, I've come up with a solution. Two notepads - one in the bathroom with a "write in the rain" pen and one on my bed side table - Now I write not only in the buff but also in the dark. I have a sign that has been with me for years (don't know where I got it but it makes me smile) "write naked" it says and so I guess after years I am finally doing that - thank goodness it's dark or I'd scare my characters away for life. Hahaha...


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RE: Creative Rites

Postby garden_ladybug » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:48 am

Oh, too funny "write naked."

My sign says "Write? Right!"

I wish some days I could be as disciplined as some of you...I "hear" a story in almost every person or situation, it's hard to turn it off.

For example it's lunch time at my office and out of my window I see 9 men walking around in short sleeves and sunshine all on cell phones. My first thought was what if all these guys are actually talking to EACH OTHER as they're walking around...?

I have notes everywhere.

On the back of my bank check stubs, store receipts, vet office receipts - wrote a short story waiting for one of my cats to get her shots - margins of notebooks. I do try to keep one notebook for my writing but you should see it, it has all sorts of colored paper scraps stapled inside at all angles, looks like a school notebook literally gone wild.

I like 3x5 pieces of paper; I can scribble down a piece of dialogue or idea - like these guys walking around on their cells - and it may fit into a story I'm writing later.

I'll transcribe the ideas to those cards and shuffle through those slips at night sometime when I TRY to set aside a block of time to write. My cats like to steal those slips of paper so it's a bit of a game to keep them in the right piles. One night Margaret moved one of the slips and it turned out to be a good combination of ideas. (Hummm, maybe she's writing when I'm not home.)

It is interesting to see what catches my attention. I have this one radio announcer's sentence scribbled on the front of a file folder: "the events will be held all week including tomorrow wednesday, all thursday, followed by friday as well as all day Saturday." No, don't have a clue, just know the announcement got me ticked.

It's like collecting flowers, or old books. Sometimes I save something just because I like it.


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RE: Creative Rites

Postby heathermoreland » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:59 am

When I need an extra boost to energize my imagination, I usually start by brewing a pot of coffee. It's a ritual. I slowly and methodically move the coffe pot into my writing position, which is angled halfway off the counter. I clear my mind of all matters on this earth, staring intently at the surrounding flavors of coffe to choose from. While I grab a coffe filter, my mind begins to wonder slowly from the still quiet, inching along, drifting into a world that has no boundaries.

A fraction of my brain is focused on painstakingly methodical preparation of the coffe, the majority of my mind begins to lapse over into the imaginary. I don't try to focus on where my mind is going to take me, to do so would be placing boundaries on something unknown that needs exploring. I allow myself to be carried away through my mind's playground.

Sometimes, it is frightening... But fear cannot be heeded in the loose of the imagination. To do so causes a different route to progress, one that is not as daring, mysterious,awe inspiring, and passionate as what would have taken place if allowed to explore.

By the time I've added four sugars, a ton of hazelnut creamer, and a half pound of whip cream on top of my coffee I finally have an idea of what to write. I run to my computer, cofffee cup in hand, whipped cream mustache on face and begin pounding away at the keyboard.

Silly, huh? ;)

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RE: Creative Rites

Postby specialkitty » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:09 am

I sometimes just sit and stare at a blank piece of paper. I'll also pick up a book, sweep the floor, or yes, stare at the ceiling. If I'm at my computer, I expect it to magicially key in the words for me. Somedays I don't write at all then I feel guilty. I want to be a successful writer but sometimes there there's so much other stuff going on in my life, I find it impossible to concentrate. I know I'm not alone in this and that is some comfort.


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