Category Archives: Writing

These are posts related to writing.


Up The Stakes

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is U is for Up the Stakes.What makes a reader keep reading a story, or a viewer binge-watch their favorite series on Netflix? It’s the amazing art of upping the stakes. When you up the stakes, a reader can’t help but turn the page. What does it mean to up the stakes? Simply, you make something mean more for your character.When You Up the Stakes They are more invested.A writer might up the stakes in a thriller by revealing that the main character, a female army general, has just found out the man she married two years earlier is an Al Qaeda operative.A romance author might up the stakes by having the heroine find out that the man she just had a fender bender with is her new boss. And she hadn’t noticed when she Read more…


Travel

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is T is for Travel & Creativity.One of the coolest ways to increase your creative thinking abilities is to travel. The distance on the map isn’t nearly as important as crossing the cultural divide.Creativity is Connection“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”     —Steve JobsBy taking the time to experience a new culture, intimately, the things you think of as normal are suddenly just one way of doing things. I’ve experienced this firsthand many times. The first was when I was 16 and traveled to Spain for a summer. It was Read more…


senses

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is S is for Senses.The 5 SensesWriters usually try to sprinkle each of the 5 senses throughout the story to make it come alive. This gives the reader a more vivid reading experience. Writers often lean heavily on the senses of sight and hearing, while neglecting the senses of taste, touch, and smell. Some writers go overboard, overwhelming readers to the point of distraction.While balance is the key, once in a while, it’s a good idea to try something different to stretch your writing abilities. One way to do this is to eliminate one of the major sensory abilities. There must be a reason to do this which is integral to the plot. Make sure it’s not contrived.Bird BoxA year ago, I heard about Josh Malerman’s novel, Bird Box, on The Story Grid podcast. I Read more…


Quiet Your Mind

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is Q is for Quiet Your Mind.Recently a friend came to drop off a meal after my husband had a round of chemo. As soon as she entered our home, she lowered her voice to just above a whisper. She probably figured Dan was resting (which he was). Just before leaving she remarked, “Your house is so quiet.” I got a bit of a chuckle out of that and chalked it up to the fact that our daughter, Summer, wasn’t there. Summer is a force of life that you can’t ignore. She enters our house each night after college and work, like a parade. The truth is, that over the years, many people have remarked at the quiet atmosphere in our home.There are a few things that add to that:1. The TV isn’t running. We Read more…


change your perspective

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is P for Change Your Perspective..When you change your perspective you can be more creative, whether you are writing, doing visual art or any of the other artistic endeavor. Even outside of the arts, it’s helpful to change your perspective. In your daily life, you need to change your perspective not only to empathize with family, friends, and coworkers but also to problem solve.Saving the WorldOne example of this is frequently seen on the CBS drama (also seen on Netflix), “Madam Secretary.”  As the Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord encounters a new crisis every day. Despite the fact that these situations seem to leave her with no good solution, she needs to come up with a plan. Often, in the company of her family, she sees things through fresh eyes and devises a plan that Read more…


Ode to a Nightingale

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is O for Write an Ode.What exactly is an ode?It’s a tribute—an emotionally over-the-top tribute to something or someone (or even an abstract concept).  It can be free-form, but more often is set to a pattern of the writer’s choosing.How does writing an ode—or any poetry make you more creative?Poetry strengthens your language skills and pushes you to dig deep within yourself to help you best express your emotions. Often, in poetry, you will use symbolism, imagery and metaphors. It can also be very therapeutic, releasing blocks to your creativity. Doing this activity will challenge you. I recommend that you come up with short stanzas for different people and things throughout your day.When is the last time you wrote an ode?It’s not as hard as it John Keats makes it sound.Decide what or who you want Read more…


Nap for Creativity

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is N is for Nap Like Salvador Dali.Take a Nap to Wake Up your CreativityIf you think that Dali’s famous melting clocks look like something out of a strange dream, you might be right. Dali had a unique method of inspiring his creative endeavors. In his book, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship , Dali assures his readers who are working on a project that a good heavy sleep is when “you will secretly, in the very depths of your spirit, solve most of its subtle and complicated, technical problems, which in your state of waking consciousness you would never be humanly capable of solving.” Dali recommends waking very early, in order to take advantage of maximum daylight. He then goes on to describe an afternoon nap of less than a minute long—“less than a quarter of Read more…


Morning Pages

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is M is for Morning Pages.Julia Cameron introduced Morning pages to the world in her book, The Artist’s Way. At the time The Artist’s Way was published, the ideas in it were revolutionary. The purpose of the book was to “unblock” artists and writers and foster their self-confidence.Julia Cameron first published The Artist’s Way in 1992. Julia originally compiled tips and hints from artists, for artists, into a book and tried to get it published. It was turned down! Julia ended up self-publishing the book and the sales went wild. It’s sold millions of copies and is on the list of top 100 self-help books of all time. This is quite an encouraging story for self-published authors.What are Morning Pages?Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done every morning, first thing in the morning. Read more…


Learn Something New

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is L is for Learn Something New.The one thing that frustrates me in life (okay…one of the many things that frustrate me) is how many awesome things there are to learn, and how little time there is to soak up all of that knowledge. The great thing is that there are so many ways to learn something new. And when you do, you can learn to think more creatively.Learn Something New OnlineOnline classes are a great way to learn something new. They can usually be completed at a pace that works with your schedule. Sometimes there’s a charge for the classes but often they are free (unless you want to pay for a certificate). I love Open 2 Study courses and Udemy. You can take classes to enhance your career or just to expand your Read more…


Kids' perspectives

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is K is for Kids’ Creative Perspectives.Single, Double, or King?Our daughter, Emily, was a quiet, highly intelligent child. When she played, it was very grounded in reality. However, it was imaginative. For example, one day when she was about 4 years old, I saw her seated in the doorway which led to her room. She had a large box in front of her and a pad of Post-It notes. She sat patiently in silence. I asked her what she was doing. She told me that she owned this hotel and would I like to check in.Curious, I said, “sure.”She scrawled a number on a post-it and handed it to me. “Here you go. Room number three.”It was the cutest thing. Other kids played fireman and movie star and she played hotel. She played hotel a Read more…

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