Writer’s Toolbox

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

Last week we started talking about creativity and ways to boost that part of your brain.  This week, we’ll continue that conversation, focusing especially on ways to get over that writing hump.  You know what I’m talking about.  One minute you’re zipping along down the fast lane and then WHAM! You hit a speed bump or a traffic jam and your writing comes to a dead stop.  This week’s posts will show you ways to get yourself out of that writing rut and today we start with that very important concept:

The Writer’s Toolbox.

I started putting together my tool box a few years ago but it’s always a work-in-progress, ever changing as my writing needs change.  I call the tool box the ORACLE (which stands for Outrageous, Ridiculous And Crazy Literary Exercises), but I also like the metaphor behind the name.  In ancient times, people made pilgrimages to Oracles to ask the gods for inspiration.  I see my toolbox as being sort of like that; when I’m short on inspiration, I go to the ORACLE and ask the muses for help by picking out an exercises from the box.

My writer’s toolbox consists of an old, wooden treasure chest, which I’ve filled with tons of exercises and writing props.  This is what it looks like on the outside.

And this is what’s inside.

As you can see, there’s a ton of stuff in there, including paint chips, a kaleidoscope, a word box, dice, postcards and images clipped from magazines, and much more.  Since I took that photo, I’ve added more things to the box and have migrated some of the previous items to my desk.  The ORACLE now includes fortune cookie slips, tarot cards with pretty pictures on them, a creativity deck (called The Creative Whack Pack) and collections of writing prompts.

So there’s my Writer’s Toolbox.  With all these possibilities at my disposal, it’s hard for me to use the excuse: …but I don’t know what to write!  Many of these exercises have also proved really helpful in the classroom and with my writing group.

Do you have a Writer’s Toolbox?  If so, what’s in it?

If not, start thinking about what you might put in one.

Remember: It doesn’t have to be a lot at first (it took me years to amass the amount of junk that’s in my toolbox).  Just choose a couple of exercises, prompts, or even toys that help inspire you.


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