Feeding the Creativity Furnace

This series of posts comes from prompts from the DIYMFA book club. Today’s is:  Do you have a tool that helps feed your creativity? Share it! 

Keep the ideas coming when you need a push of inspiration.

My creativity for writing comes from many places. When I’m in the middle of a project I find it easy to continue. All I need to do is to start reading where I left off and I usually am excited to get started again. Sometimes I start by editing and before I know it, I’m writing and have added more content.

Other times, when I’ve just ended a project, it’s harder to start up a new one. That’s when I need a little push. Here a few places I look when I need a little inspiration:

  • “Creative scraps” – When I’m out and about or just during the course of my day when I hear or see something that catches my eye out of the ordinary, I write it down. These could be an overheard phrase, something funny, beautiful, sad, or strange in my environment. I heard an author once say these are the gifts we are given as writers and we can’t let them
    go unnoticed. I carry a notebook in my purse and when I don’t have that I scribble on whatever piece of paper I do have, a notebook in a work meeting, a receipt, or voice recording on my phone.
  • Put the scraps where I’ll find them –I have a Word document on my computer that houses many of these little scraps. I add it to the list when I remember or have time. I save them on my desktop in a place I call “Writing Starts”. That way when I am ready to write and I can’t think of what I want to write, I have a list of my own prompts to start from.
  • I find other prompts – Some of my favorite prompts have come from Natalie Goldberg’s An Old Friend From Far Away. For a while, I did one page a night from that book. I also sign up for challenges like this one with DIYMFA to get a kickstart when I need it.
  • I write in spurts – I have not done them for a while, but sometimes I do Morning Pages from Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Other times I’ll write every day after work or some other time of day. After a while I will read through these pages and use the information that I find interesting, sometimes just a couple words or phrases, to start new work.
  • I save everything – I save all the pieces I write no matter how bad I think they are. I never know when I might come back to it for an idea.
  • I look for themes – I look at contests, anthologies, and literary magazines for the themes of their submissions. When I find one that interests me, I either start a new piece on it, or find one of the others written above (see I save everything) and expand on it.


Add Yours
  1. Not My Style – Catherine Lanser

    […] of something I’ve been working on finally come together while I’m not at my keyboard. I wrote about my process for making sure I don’t miss any flashes of inspiration a few days ago, which ensures that I am always ready to write when my fingers and mind are […]

  2. mirymom

    I keep a running document called “I Don’t Know Yet” where I keep all those creative scraps, as you called them. It helps me stay focused on the task at hand if I make a little room to keep the “new shiny” ideas that are tugging at the corners of my concentration before they get me off track.

    I also troll calls for submission. I often go on and write pieces from those prompts even if I can’t get them done in time for the deadline. I’ve explored some fun new genres and forms that way!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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