Category Archives: Writing

These are posts related to writing.


Jar of Ideas

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 J is for Jar of Ideas.As a teenager, I attended The Perpich Center for Art Education as a Literary Art student. Nearly every day in our Literary Arts classes, the teacher would pull a slip of paper from a jar of ideas. It might be a question or a quote. It could even be a single word.Then, she would start a timer.The timer might go for as little as a minute, but that was rare. More often it would be set for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Once in a great while, we could write for 20 minutes. Using a timer as we write from the jar of ideas forced us to shape what we wrote to the confines of the timer. We had to begin, build, and wrap up our piece within the Read more…


Investigate

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 I is for Investigate your CharacterMy 16-year-old daughter, Samantha Erickson, wrote a list of questions that she asks about the characters she creates. I was impressed when I read it and I’m grateful that she has allowed me to share the list here.(1) I think this is a great method for getting to know your character intimately. When you investigate your character, you see not only what they do but why they do it.Private InvestigatorImagine you are a private investigator and your latest assignment is to investigate your character. You’ve been asked to find out everything about him. If he sneezes, your client wants you to collect the Kleenex. You don’t just start asking him questions. Instead, you hang back, casual-like. Watch your character in his natural environment. The phone rings and he jumps Read more…


History

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 H is for History.History can be a wonderful source of inspiration.Who hasn’t dreamed of going back to another place and time in history? Reading and writing about it is the next best thing. There are plenty of people who have done this before, so to stand apart from the crowd, it helps to approach it from a unique angle.During my 30-day digital detox in January, I limited my streaming to one Netflix program each day. With the extra time before going to sleep, I read books to my husband. One of the series we read was The Jack Turner Suspense Series. In the first book of the series, When Night Comes, Turner, a WWII expert is lecturing at his old college while working on a book. He finds himself going back in time in his Read more…


Give your character a flaw or two

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 G is for, Give Your Character a Flaw or Two.One of the things that can sink an otherwise good story is a perfect character. It’s just not realistic. Even a hero needs a flaw or two. How deeply your character is flawed will depend on their role in the story.Are they the hero?Just because they are the star of the story doesn’t mean they get a pass on revealing the wounds in their soul. In fact, it’s more important than ever that we learn they’re just like us—human (even if they are an android or an elf). We need to be able to relate to the hero of the story, and nothing is easier to relate to than a flaw. Maybe your hero is insecure because he didn’t make the cut on the team, Read more…


Friends

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 F is for Friends & Creativity.Friends & Writer’s BlockIn the last couple of days, I’ve felt blocked. Although I have a lot to get done, the words just don’t seem to want to come. The bad news of my husband’s health declining sent us into reaction mode. I’d previously scheduled some one on one time with 2 wonderful friends this week. Each of these women is so special to me. They have been such supportive friends. Despite the fact that I did too much of the talking, they were each gracious and understanding. Afterward, I felt very motivated to get my projects done. It got me thinking about to the value of friends in our creative process.Henry Ford once said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”That’s one Read more…


Dictation

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. 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. Today’s post is for the letter D. D is for Dictation.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.The first time I was introduced to dictation was when my husband was on a cancer treatment that caused his fingers to crack and become and infected. He had been trying to write as much as he could to preserve his thoughts and beliefs for his loved ones and their children. He wanted to leave a legacy. Without the ability to hold a pen or type, even that was being taken from him. It seemed so cruel.One of my husband’s friends gave him a wonderful gift. It was Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software. I Read more…


Map Your World

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be doing the challenge here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. Today’s post is C for Cartography. Map your world.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.CartographyCartography is the study of maps. If you’ve ever read an epic fantasy with a map (even a crude one) sketched on the inside cover, you know the power of maps. They give both the writer and the reader an understanding of where everything is in the world of the book. It’s this that makes cartography so compatible with world building.Creating a map of your world right from the start will help cement in your mind where everything is, and where your character will travel. When I read a book in which I feel I can travel around in the world without getting lost, I suspect the author created a map in his/her writing process. Hugh Howey’s Wool is like that. It was easy Read more…


Art

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be doing the challenge here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where 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 A is for Art History Inspires Creativity.Visiting a gallery, perusing a coffee table book filled with prints of paintings, or noticing a child’s drawing on the refrigerator, can be a wonderful way to get your creative juices flowing. Most people know that great works of art all have a story behind them (even if the story is made up). Writers can also be inspired by art to create their own stories. The Girl with the Pearl EarringDutch artist, Johannes Vermeer painted The Girl with the Pearl Earring (image on left) in 1665. In 1999, Tracy Chevalier wrote a historical fiction novel based on Vermeer and the girl in his painting. The painting and the book became even more popularized in the 2003 film, starring Scarlett Johansson, and the Read more…


Putting Your Best Font Forward

When you are working on any writing project which will be read by others, you will want to create a style sheet. This is a quick, 1-page list of the basic grammar rules, font, and formatting you will follow when you put together your writing for publication (whether on your blog, in a book, or any other place it will be seen).Often, people wait too long to do this, making extra work during the editing phase of the project. Are you one of those people? Do you have an idea in your mind about how you want your blog posts formatted, yet find inconsistencies throughout your blog? It’s a common problem shared by yours truly.A style sheet becomes even more important when I’m working on a book. I’ll ask myself whether I’ve hyphenated a certain type of phrase or capitalized other instances of a word within the script. Will numbers be spelled out or left in numeral form?*In today’s post, I will be giving you a behind the scenes look at me putting together my next book, Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with your Cancer.Putting Your Best Font ForwardWith print projects, I often forget about the importance Read more…


Things I've learned from my digital detox

This is the last post in my series of posts on digital minimalism. I will share the key things I’ve learned from my digital detox. One of the things I’ve learned from my digital detox is that…Multitasking doesn’t workWhen you multitask, you are actually rapidly interrupting one task with another. Your brain then has to recall what you are trying to do and how to do it. In the example of watching an adventure film, baking cookies and working on your novel, you aren’t actually doing these things at the same time (no matter how coordinated you are). Your brain has to stop one activity and then reset itself to begin the next one.Everyone has had the experience of talking to a friend while doing something. Then you stop and say, “What was I doing” your conversation interfered with your task. Now your brain needs to reset itself to the task at hand. Many a turn has been missed by my husband while he was talking to me in the car. Often, we think that we’re saving time, or being more efficient. The truth is that even if we do save time, it’s at the cost of quality. Multitasking is one Read more…

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