Brainstorming Ideas

Some of my tried and tested techniques

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re a blogger, or at least a writer. The chances are that you know the struggle to come up with new ideas.

This is the question that I get asked all the time: “Where do you get all your ideas?”

The thing is that there is no simple answer. I’d love to say that a fairy-like muse swoops in and drops off ideas for me every day, but that simply isn’t true!

The truth is that I have to search my imagination and rack my brains to find my ideas, just like everyone else.

do have a couple of tried and tested techniques, though:

1. Write lists.

Write lists of anything and everything. Write lists of words that stand out to you. List names- you never know when you might be searching for that exact one for one of your characters. List settings, and situations. This is an absolute blessing when you’re really struggling for an idea.

2. Look for a prompt.

There are so many sites with these on, and often one prompt will just stand out to you. Once you have that, start freewriting- even if you think it’s rubbish. I guarantee that you’ll find a story fragment in there, if you just look hard enough!

3. Just start to write.

I know it sounds too simple, but freewriting, or stream of consciousness writing is a veritable goldmine. You will either find something to write about, or at the very least, you will find that you’ve emptied your head of all those thoughts, thus freeing up your mind to be creative. It only has to take ten minutes- give it a go. It’s never failed me yet!

4. Read.

If you’re really stuck, look to the stories you love- the books that you could read again and again and not get bored with. You’re bound to find a spark of inspiration in there- after all, there’s something in them that you connect with- something that keeps you coming back to them!

5. Play “What if?”

I really love this one! I simply look at a situation, (real or imagined) and write down a list of what if’s.

For example: If we take the Harry Potter books…

a) What if Harry ended up in Slytherin?

b) What if Voldemort tried to kill Neville instead of Harry?

c) What if Harry had listened to Malfoy and not befriended Ron?

d) What if Harry had refused to believe that he was a wizard?

e) What if Snape had actually liked Harry?

Here, you have five ideas, all primed and ready to go. Now, I’m not suggesting you try to rewrite Harry Potter, (although fan fiction can be really good fun, and an excellent way of keeping those writing muscles active when the dreaded writer’s block strikes!) but you could try this with any of your own stories- you never know, you might actually come up with something you enjoy writing more!

So, there you have it! Five of the ways I use to brainstorm ideas.

Have fun!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


NanoWrimo

And why I’m breaking the rules

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

This year, as with every year since 1999, thousands of writers around the world will take on the challenge to write 50000 words in November. I defy anyone that writes, to not know this.

The thing is that Nano can set you up to fail if you don’t approach it right.

I’ll be honest, I have failed at Nano more times than I have succeeded-

So, this year, I’m doing things differently.

I’m not aiming to write a fully functioning first draft of a novel in thirty days. Hell, it takes Stephen King three months to write a novel, and he is a writing genius, and prolific, to boot!

Instead, I plan to write the first 60,000 words of a novel draft.

This will not make a finished novel- not even close.

That’s the problem with Nano- it leads people (myself included) to believe that a novel finishes at 50000 words, when that simply isn’t the case.

Not even a middle grade novel averages 50000 words. You would need to add 5000 words to it to get an average middle grade novel.

Another issue with it is that a lot of people think that come the 30th of November, then will have a novel that’s completely ready to submit to an agent or a publisher.

This is not the case. There is so much more to writing a novel than just getting the first draft on paper- truth is, that is really where the hard work begins.

For this year’s Nano, I plan to just have fun with writing. I am just going to show up, every single day, and use this month to get my daily writing habit back on track!

Good luck, Wrimo’s!

Onwards to the 30th!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

When Writer’s Block Strikes

And how to find the path through it


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about “one of those days”.

The days when writing seems to completely elude you and you feel like you’re trapped and frozen with nowhere to go and nothing to turn to. The kind of days when you want to write, but the mere thought of it terrifies you, because you don’t feel like the words will come. You feel like you have nothing to say, and even if you did, it probably wouldn’t be anything worth reading anyway.

This, is your inner critic talking. This is the culmination of all of your doubts and all of the things that knock your self-confidence.

The truth is that you can write. You do have something to say, and it is worth reading.

The truth is that the very worst thing you could possibly do is to give in to the block. Because, one day will turn into two, and two will turn into a week, and so on, and so on.

The difference between a successful writer, and a wannabe, is that they showed up and did the work. They ignored that inner critic, and persevered with writing, even when the doubts flooded in, and when the muse went on strike.

The key thing to remember, is that each day that you show up to write, is a day where you are improving. It is a day where you are honing your craft, and exercising your skills as a writer.

So, when you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’ve hit a block in your wip, or the words just won’t come. Just try to give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to write something ‘just for fun’. It may only be a snippet, but you never know, one day, you might look back on it and see the potential in that piece of writing. It may even become the foundation of your next novel, short story, or even blog post.

Remember, no time spent writing, is time wasted, no matter how bad you may feel about it at the time.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Ten Ways You Know You’re A Writer

The good, the bad and the crazy…

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

I have always known that I am a writer. I think it’s something I was just born to be. I love reading. I love stories. Really, a life without stories, is more than I could bear to think about. It would be the ultimate torture. In fact, when I am struggling to write, it feels a lot like I can’t breathe; as if a part of me is crying, and I don’t know how to help it.

That’s the thing with writing. The stories inside you are desperate to get out, and the struggle is being able to actually get them out.

In thinking about writing, I thought I’d try to compile a list of reasons how you would know if you’re a writer.

1. You study people and things, constantly looking for inspiration and ideas.

Everything has a story, and you feel that it is down to you to discover it.

2. You always carry a notebook.

Whether paper, or digital, you need something with you to write down those little sparks of inspiration, before they flit away from you.

3. You have a notebook hoard.

This is a guaranteed sign of a writer. I’m serious. Dragons have nothing on writers when it comes to hoarding… Some of these may be filled, but others may only have half a page filled. You love them, either way.

4. You’re always reading.

This is the key to becoming a better writer. You have to read. There is no other option here. Read. Read a lot. Read everything and anything you can. Even if the story is bad, you may add to your vocabulary. There’s always a silver lining.

5. You keep a running list of characters, settings and situations.

Friends, enemies, natural disasters. They all go down. Your house, your school, the local park. These are all perfect story fodder, and you’re constantly adding to them as the ideas strike.

6. Your idea of a good night involves pyjamas, a blanket, snacks and your laptop/notebook.

Seriously, what else could anyone need? Am I right?! That draft won’t write itself, so a night spent like this, writing dangerously, is the perfect option for any writer.

7. You live in constant fear of your inner critic.

Mine is named Muriel. I wrote about her in this post. She is mean and nasty and loves to make me put myself down. She hates it when I’m doing well and writing easily. She loves to put doubts in my mind, and will, if I let her, stop me writing altogether.

8. You can detect spelling and grammatical errors like a cat can find the only person in the room that is scared of them.

Seriously, does the term ‘grammar nazi’ mean anything to you? And pfft! Who needs spellcheck?!

9. You spend half your time in a dreamworld.

Yep, you’re quite happy to spend hours at a time with your own imagination, working out plot holes and ways to make your stories just that little bit better- that’s if you aren’t just stuck in an entirely new story altogether.

10. You are happiest when you’re writing.

Writing is my happy place. It is my refuge. When I am happy, or sad, it is the first thing that I turn to. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up, and no matter how bad I may feel when I start writing, I always feel better by the time that I’m done.

So, there it is. My ten ways of knowing that I’m a writer. Can you think of any others? Drop them in the comments. I’d love to read them. 🙂

Looking At Suggestions For Desperate Writers & Artists Seeking The Thrilling Spark Of Inspiration

Discovering Thoughts And Ideas For Bright Sparks And Brainwaves



Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash


This is the question that plagues all writers, most of the time. I wrote in a previous post about how to find ideas for your writing projects. You can read that post here.

In this post, I thought I’d give you some more.

The thing is that ideas are one thing, but being inspired about them is something completely different. In this post I will look at several different ways in which we can find inspiration.

As writers, we are in a constant search and quest for inspiration. It is what sets us apart from non-writers. We are always seeking out those little falling stars of sparkle, which we can add into our writing.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, even in the smallest of things. Think about standing in a queue at the supermarket till. You have someone in front of you, and someone behind you. What is their story?

One way to spark inspiration can be to try looking at things from a different perspective. For example, how would a child, or an elderly person see a situation differently? How would an animal see it?

When I first watched the Tinkerbell movie, I let the DVD play through and found there was a bonus feature, talking to the artists responsible for making the movie artwork. They were told to get out of the office, and to go out into nature, where they could look at their inspiration from different perspectives. For example, one of them laid on the floor, to see what the world looked like from a fairy’s height.

Another thing you can do is to keep a running list of ideas, quotes, and inspirations. You never know when you might need them, and looking back over them could just provide that spark that you’ve been looking for.

As well as a list, take photos, look on Unsplash for images that can provide inspiration. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While I’m not exactly sure that I agree with that, I know that there have been times when a specific image has conjured up the inspiration for a story in my mind, and in those times, that image might well be worth its weight!

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, try stepping away from your desk. Go out, meet friends, go for coffee/tea/your choice of beverage. Take a walk in nature. Do what those Disney artists did.

Something I learned from Shaunta Grimes is to write down ten ideas a day. If you do this for thirty days, that’s 300 ideas, and while you may decide that some of these are absolutely useless, you’re bound to find a few gems in there.

Another thing that I have found very important to do is to put my inner critic back in her box. My inner critic’s name is Muriel. I wrote about her in this post.

The one thing that is almost more important than anything else, is to write every day. Another of Shaunta’s ideas is to set yourself a teeny tiny goal. Write new fiction for ten minutes each day. Do this, because in the long run, habit is more important and far more reliable and dependable than being inspired. You can be as inspired as you like, but if you don’t show up and do the work, then that inspiration is just stuck inside you like a butterfly caught in a jar, pattering out its life on the glass.

And THE most important thing of all… DO NOT GIVE UP!!

You are a writer. You can do this, no matter what anyone says, as long as you (to quote Dory) “Just keep on swimmin’”


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


In The In-Between

A Short Dramatic Piece

The curse of the blank page is something that shouldn’t plague me.

I am a writer.

Words are my thing.

They free me; so why, do I somehow feel so completely trapped.

As I stare at the blank page, so fresh with all number of possibilities, I wonder why it paralyses me like this, when it is meant to be the very thing that frees me.

Looking away from the screen and around the room, I glare at the sunlight gleaming into the room, and blazing off the page, making it seem even whiter than normal.

I didn’t want to give in to it, but the words simply wouldn’t come, and as the time ticked down, slowly bleeding my life away, I realised that I really had nowhere to go from here.

The feeling crippled me, making me feel impotent; broken.

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t imagine another day like today…

and that’s why I did it.

That’s why I am now laying in a hospital bed, in a coma, with only a slim chance of waking.

I know I should feel bad; wrong, even, but the only thing I feel is regret. Regret that I am laying here in this bed, rather than cold, in a casket in the ground.

Some people would say that it’s selfish, but really, when it comes down to it, if they haven’t lived the same life as I, then, do they really deserve to be able to comment.

It’s strange here; oddly white, and my body feels like it’s once removed. Which, I guess it is, in a way.

Once removed from me, and once removed from the world outside.

Should I be happy?

I’m not honestly sure. In fact, the only thing that I know for sure, is that I did not choose the state that I am now forced into living in.

People generally fall into two categories when it comes to this. One group believes the act to be selfish. The other believes that the act should be pitied.

I was never sure which side I would fall on.


If you want weekly updates from me, please click here 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Writing Space

And How To Set One Up

June 12

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I read a question that was asked on Quora earlier, about how to make a writing space. It got me thinking. There are so many different kinds and variations of writing space, which all depend totally on the individual’s personal tastes.

Some people like a very empty, clear and minimalist desk, with just their computer on it. Some can only write long hand. Some use a mixture of the two, and some like a very busy, almost cluttered work space.

I think I probably fall somewhere near the last category here. My writing space is in my bedroom. My bedroom takes up the entire top floor of the house. I have it partitioned, so that I have a craft room and a dressing room on one side, and then my bed, and writing space on the other.

So, my writing space, basically consists of a square of tables, with a small gap so that I can get into the middle, where my chair is. I have multiple screens, so that I can have all the things pertaining to my current wip visible whenever I want it.

I also have a number of books. Many are on book shelves, which surround my writing space, but I also have several piles on the tables, and these are the ones, which I tend to refer to while I am working. I also have a number of notebooks, and any number of pens and pencils lurking on my desk.

The thing is that sometimes, I like to work on a screen, and sometimes, I like to go a bit more old school, preferring to use pen and paper.

I strongly believe that there is room for both, and I generally just try and see where my mood is leaning. The only thing, in my mind, which is non-negotiable, is that I must show up.

We can spend as long as we want creating the perfect space to write, but if we don’t actually show up and get the work done, then really there’s no point in any of it.

I guess I’m not really answering that question very well, but I don’t think that there’s any kind of magic formula for a writing space. As writers, we’re all so individual, and it is only through some level of experimentation that we will find what works for us.

But really, when it comes down to it, all we really need is ourselves, a willing mind, persistence, dedication, and something with which to capture the words dancing within us.

What do your writing spaces look like? Let me know in the comments.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Accountability

And Why It’s So Important

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

For a long time, my life wasn’t my own, and revolved around someone else. I’m not saying this to try and get sympathy, or because I resent it, but it’s just the truth. This is the life of a carer. This was my lot.

The thing is that now; as I am becoming accustomed to not being a carer, I am having to re-learn what I’m doing with regards my own personal goals, and I am having to re-learn how to structure my time now that I’m not having to fit things in around my caring responsibilities.

Just lately, a very good friend of mine began studying again. She has been using timers to make sure that she is getting a certain amount of studying done per week. This seems to really be working for her, and so I decided to try a similar sort of thing.

However, I have found that working with a weekly target doesn’t seem to work for me. If I have a bad day, I can talk myself into the idea that there’s no possible way of my meeting my targets, and so I give up and start again.

So, this time, I am trying the same tactics, but I’m totalling up my hours for the whole month, and I’m hoping that this way, I can actually stick at it.

Accountability is so important here, especially with us writers, whose only goal setters are ourselves.

So, I’m posting this here as a practice in accountability, and this is my promise to myself that I will write another post on the 20th of June, where I will hopefully be able to tell you that I have succeeded and hit all of my targets.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Journaling

Journaling

And why I keep one.

I have kept a journal in one form or another, since I was about ten years old.

I remember when I first made the decision. I had told my uncle that I wanted to be a writer, and his response (apart from telling me that there would be lots of rejection), was to tell me that if I wanted to be a successful writer, then I would need to start the practice of keeping a journal. I stated that very day, in a little, spiral bound notebook, where I had to write the date myself.

I don’t look back at those journals often, but its a nice feeling, knowing that they’re there.. pieces of my younger self, preserved in paper form, within a book.

My way of journaling has changed, grown, and developed over the years. At first, I only used words; Now, though, I use a mixture of words, poetry, and images. I’m still learning about new, and different journaling techniques. I don’t honestly ever think that I’ll stop learning, and you know what? I’m totally okay with that.

Over the years, my journals have been supporter, confidante, and friend, sometimes when I felt like I had no-one.

The thing is that having a journal means that you always have a way to get all of those horrible, messy, nonsensical thoughts out of your head, and, trust me-it really works.

I don’t know if you already journal, or if you’ve never even considered it, but I would really, highly, recommendit. It is a lifelong practice for me, and I can honestly say that it has only ever served to enhance my life.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Timescales In Writing

Timescales In Writing

An Experiment

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I’m taking a writing course, and at the moment, I’ve been looking at genre fiction. The thing is that, while I’ve looked at genre fiction before, and I know what it is, something in the notes made me realise something that I’ve not really considered before.

That something, is time. Most of my writing projects have taken place over a seemingly infinite time period. What I mean here is not that I allowed myself infinite time to finish a piece (obviously, that would be ridiculous) but that the stories themselves don’t seem to have a specific time frame for me to work with.

I plan to change that. Today, I begin planning a novella in parts. Seven parts, to be exact. The idea is that each part will cover one day. The story will, therefore, be told in the time span of a week.

I have a few ideas bouncing around at the moment, but nothing particularly concrete, and you know what? I’m actually okay with that. While I will plan the story, I am quite happy to give my imagination free rein to come up with the story that it wants to tell. My only restriction is that it must all happen within the space of a week.

I don’t know how long it will take me to write this, but I will keep a log during this time, and hopefully I will update you soon.

Have any of you ever come up against this? Have you written something set within a specific time frame?

Let me know in the comments. 🙂


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.