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How to Brainstorm with Word Art

How to Brainstorm with Word Art

I recently finished my first draft of Illuminate, which was very exciting! Don’t get me wrong—there is still a ton that needs to happen before it goes to agents in the spring. But there’s a thing that happens when you finish your draft: You have to start thinking about the next story.

The way I write is by focusing my creative energies on one story at a time (“time” can be exclusive, or “per day” if I am drafting and revising two different projects). This means I don’t usually have a pocketful of future-stories I’m eagerly waiting to work on.

As a result, whenever I finish a project, my confidence plummets. What if that was the best book I’ll ever write? What if I never have any more good ideas?

This time around, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the slump. I wanted to jump right into the next thing. So I set out to make some word art, and the result was awesome.

How I did it:

  1. Find paper. I like grid paper myself because it’s got some structure (unlike blank paper) but it is less rigid than lined paper.
  2. Find colored pens. Buy ALL the colored pens.
  3. Write “Things I Like (In Stories)” on the top. Please include the disclaimer so that some stranger doesn’t stumble on your journal and report you to the police.
  4. Go to dafont.com and find fonts that suit the words.
  5. Write the words.

Here is my word art:

Inspiration

How this helped me:

  • It was a relaxing productive exercise. I could do it while I watched TV but I was still using braincells to search for new words. This got interesting once the page was almost full and words weren’t spilling out of me anymore, and I found myself analyzing some of my favorite stories to find more things I liked.
  • It teased my imagination. If I wanted to, I could grab five words at random and have a very interesting soup to make a story from. This tells me I’m far, far from out of ideas!
  • It is pretty and looks fancy, but it was actually really easy to put together. My bright colors and fonts distract the untrained eye from my terrible handwriting (see the title), so it looks cool even though my talent is basically 0.
  • On that note, there was something really satisfying about doing it by hand. I think it’s because doing it by hand added an extra level of intentionality.

If you decide to give this a shot, I’d love to see what you come up with!

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Alyssa

Alyssa was born in small town Milton, Florida, but life as a roving military kid soon mellowed her (unintelligibly strong) Southern accent. Wanderlust is in her blood, and she’s always waiting for the wind to change. Stories remain her constant. Alyssa received her bachelor’s in English/Creative Writing from Berry College and her master's in Creative Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University. Alyssa is represented by Amber Caraveo at Skylark Literary. Her debut The Eleventh Trade – "a powerful story of love, loss, friendship and hope, centered around Sami, a young refugee from Afghanistan now building a new life with his grandfather in Boston" – will be published Fall 2018 by Macmillan (U.S.) and HotKey (U.K.).

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