Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


How do I fill the well? Let me count the ways...

I don't seem to have a shortage of ideas, only a shortage of time to pursue them. Here are ten ways I keep my well overflowing:

1. Travel to a setting I love and immerse myself.

2. Travel to a new setting and explore not only the physical details, but also the people, the way of life, the diction, etc.

3. Read a good book and figure out why it's so good.

4. Go to a conference or workshop and open my mind to inspiration.

5. Talk to my parents about their childhood experiences and take copious notes.

6. Paddle a kayak on still water.

7. Get up early and listen to the birds.

8. Listen to baroque music to put my mind in order.

9. Listen to my grandson, Connor, play the piano--classical, jazz, ragtime, hymns and Broadway tunes. He's amazing!

10. Spend time with fellow writers.

11. Communicate with my fellow spuds.

Oh, I guess I said ten ways, but I can't possibly leave out the spuds!


Well Filling

I'm a creature of habit. Okay, make that a creature of ruts. I eat the same thing every day for breakfast (multi-grain Cheerios and a glass of orange juice), swim laps at the neighborhood Y, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and banana for lunch, write in my journal before going to bed. I like to think that doing a lot of the same things each day frees my mind to work on more important things...but maybe I'm just lazy.

In any case, I find that doing something new, stepping out of my routine, can spark my creativity. For example, a few weeks ago I had my taxes done which brought me to downtown Minneapolis. I'm hardly ever there during the middle of the day. I took a long walk through the skyway, worked out at the downtown Y rather than my local one, had lunch at a new restaurant, and saw lots of interesting people and shops. It made me feel more alive, more energized, and made me wonder why I don't do things like that more often.

There are also people in my life who give me the same feeling. Being around them and hearing about all the creative things they are doing makes me feel more creative.

I've taught classes on creativity to kids, and one of the techniques I suggest is "Try Something New." Perhaps I need to take my own advice more often.


What fills my well?

• A walk with a friend
• A good conversation
• Viewing an art exhibit
• Travel and exploring new places
• Reading a good story
• Non-goal oriented art, craft, or sewing projects
• Learning something new
• Poetry


Filling the Well....

This round of posts is about how to fill our creative well when it seems to have run dry. Honestly, I always have ideas. They come from everywhere, from books or the internet or the evening news. I'm always hearing things that strike me as something interesting that needs further investigation. But sometimes my droughts occur in the middle of a project. I've started with a great idea and I know where I'm going. But you still have to come up with stuff for Chapter Thirteen or Fourteen that might not be totally covered in the very detailed synopsis. Which means I do have to try and fill the well midstream. Not an easy thing to do. Ever. So what do I do?
Well, I take a break and read. Sometimes being able to see how another author filled the gap between two parts will give me an idea of how I can do it, too.
I've been running a lot this winter. Luckily, the weather has been insanely mild and, except for a handful of days on the treadmill at the gym, I've been able to use the high school track nearly every day. I walk a half mile there, run my laps, then walk home. And there's something about the fresh air that helps me think, because I've done a lot of well-filling at the track the past few months.
Another thing that helped me this winter was all the Skypes I've done with middle schools. They have all been Q and A's about The Compound. And it's amazing how someone's questions can spur the mind and open new doors I never thought were there, especially since my current project is the sequel to The Compound. I realize it's a gift to be able to interact directly with my core audience.
Whatever helps to keep that well from running dry...