A Writer’s Tools for Finding Creativity - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

A Writer’s Tools for Finding Creativity

For a writer, inspiration can be everywhere, until, without warning, it is suddenly nowhere to be found. Being creative is a lot of fun, but it’s not always easy. And even the best writers sometimes need to shake up their habits or rely on new tools in order to find their creative spark.

Modern writers often rely on their laptop computers as their primary writing tools, but laptops aren’t perfect. They can inspire creativity, sure, but they also have limits and structures within their apps and a huge potential for distraction and time-wasting. By expanding their toolkit a bit, writers can tap into different sources of creativity and unlock new ways to be productive, creative, and insightful. It’s time to liberate yourself and your creativity from the laptop, so here are a few tools that every writer should have.

A paper notebook

The writer’s notebook is a classic writer’s tool, but it’s one that is being neglected all too often by modern writers. With laptops and tablets around, we sometimes forget just how useful an old-fashioned notebook can be. But make no mistake—writer’s notebooks are powerful creative tools even in the modern laptop era!

With a pen and paper, a writer can move in any direction. You can write sideways, group thoughts into columns and categories, built maps of concept and thoughts, sketch diagrams, and more, all without dealing with the restrictions of word processing programs and other basic apps. So next time you’re in search of inspiration, try going old-school!

A clipboard

The humble 11×17 clipboard is useful for more than just sign-up sheets and stuffy office settings. It’s the perfect lightweight hard surface for writers to tote from place to place as they seek inspiration outside and in coffee shops and cafès. It can turn a soft-sided notebook into a more versatile solution, and it can back up individual sheets of loose leaf notebook paper, sketch paper, or even graph paper. Some clipboards even have dry-erase surfaces that can be marked up on their own.

A bulletin board and index cards

Bulletin boards and index cards have long been popular tools among screenwriters. An index card for each scene in a movie script can be laid out on a bulletin board and quickly rearranged. But writers of everything from epic novels to argumentative essays can use the index card and bulletin board strategies, too. It’s a fantastic way to break down your thoughts and play with structure and plot in any form of writing.

Of course, the screenwriter’s method isn’t the only way to use a bulletin board or a set of index cards. Tack up notes to organize yourself or to keep reminders of to-dos, or turn the index cards into flashcards full of writing exercises or creativity-inspiring questions. You can do anything with these tools that you’re moved to do.

Colored pens

We’ve already talked about just how powerful a writing utensil and a piece of notebook paper can be for a writer. Without the structure of a word processor, a writer can sketch out ideas and explore thoughts without as many restrictions.

Adding colored pens to the equation can give you more ways to get creative. It can also give you ways to organize the sometimes-confusing things that you write and draw in your notebooks, making those noted easier to revisit, understand, and use.

You can also use colored pens with your index cards. Color is a powerful organizational tool, and you can use different colors to distinguish different types of scenes or paragraphs, deadlines, and much more.

As a writer, your creativity sets you apart from the crowd, so just like in your writing, don’t limit yourself to traditional means. Sure, a laptop is a great asset, but feel free to experiment with other tools that might give your writing a whole new meaning.

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