Why Writers Need Community

This week at DIY MFA, we shift gears a little to talk about community.  There’s something about writers that makes them flock together.  Like if you put two writers in a crowded cocktail party, they will inevitably find each other, almost like they have this fine-tuned writing radar.  A “wradar” as it were. This isn’t… Read more »

Weekend Prompt: Mood Music

This week, we’ll be using music to inspire creativity.  This prompt will help you exercise your hearing, which many writers often overlook in favor of visual inspiration.  I’ve selected five pieces of music, each one leaning toward a different genre of writing.  You can choose a piece at random or select depending on the genre… Read more »

Writing Through the Senses

As mentioned in Monday’s post, one great way to get new story ideas or kick-start your writing is to use the five senses.  In addition to helping spice up flat descriptions, the senses are also a great source of inspiration.  Here’s a short sampler of ways you can engage the five senses to get a new perspective… Read more »

Setting the Mood for an Optimal Writing Session

When it comes to getting in the “zone” for writing, sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s really hard.  There are days when I’m just not “in the mood” and I can’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike.  Instead, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me set the mood even when if feels like… Read more »

Using Images to Create Character

This weekend we’re doing a character-based prompt. This is one of my favorite exercises because it never fails to spark new ideas for a story.  Just follow the steps below and let the creative juices flow. Weekend Writing Prompt: 1) Choose one of the pictures below.  If the picture has more than one person in… Read more »

A Simple Writing Exercise That Will Bring Your Character to Life

Here’s a secret writing exercise I only recently learned: If you want characters to feel real for the reader, you have to hint they have the potential to be the opposite of what they appear. Wait, what? The opposite of what the character seems . . . wouldn’t that mean the character is acting out of character?… Read more »

Create a Stash of Characters

Ever wonder where an author got the idea for that fantastic character you love?  Psst, I’ll let you in on a secret.  Want to know how I find my characters? I collect them. OK it might sound strange, but reall, how different is that from collecting stamps or seashells or bottle caps or baseball cards? … Read more »

Build Your Reading List

On Wednesday, we talked about casting a wide net in our reading and how we can learn from those writers who came before us.  Today, we put those words into action.  And guess what, to make this week’s prompt super-easy and fun, I’ve made a special worksheet! Click the link to download the Reading List Worksheet,… Read more »

A DIY Master Class

One of the most important parts of a DIY MFA is putting together a reading list that represents the area of writing that you want to focus on.  That’s the beauty of DIY MFA: you don’t have to read something that doesn’t resonate with you. I learned this concept from a professor in my MFA program… Read more »

The Essentials: Writing Books I Can’t Live Without

Today we’re focusing on building our writing library.  The way I see it, there are three types of writing books.  You have books on craft, books containing writing exercises and prompts, and books about the writing life.  A well-balanced home library should represent all three types.  Yet, not all writing books are created equal, and I don’t know… Read more »