By DiAnn Mills
Searching for ways to keep a writer creative and engaged can be a challenge. We want to avoid boredom and ho-hum writing at all costs. That’s why writers need a sandbox full of favorite toys to help dig into unforgettable fiction and nonfiction.
The perfect spot for us to write is where our mind leads. Our imaginations should never exist within the confines of our sandbox. If our space is cramped and dull, we need to dribble some of the sand outside the boundaries and see what develops.
Our excitement for a project doesn’t always occur with our fingers placed on a keyboard.
Search for new places to write and at varying times during the day. Add music, trickling water, or a change of scenery to build a mobile sandbox that can travel with us anywhere.
The erosion of rocks and minerals forms sand. We find it on beaches, in landscaping, in the manufacture of glass, and in an ingredient for concrete. It’s fine or coarse, different colors, and sizes. The person using the sand chooses its purpose and destination … like words strung together in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Our hearts and minds fill with ideas. While one grain of sand means little, adding more allows the expressive person to compile interesting stories and information pieces. Start a file of “grains of sand” to keep the writing muse energized.
Shovels move things around. In our unique sandbox we scoop up our treasures. Sometimes we let the jewels sift through our fingers to see where they fall. Other times we place them back in the sandbox for a burst of imagination on another day. But as we watch the concepts trickle and fall, we find the unexpected. Those surprising moments of inspiration carry us forward. We place the nuggets aside and thrust our shovel again into the sand to see where our artistry takes us.
No sandbox is complete without a bucket. The bucket is our storehouse of writing prompts—topical phrases or text to take us on an adventure. These tools get us in the mood to play and they vary depending on what needs to be written. Prompts can be as simple as reading poetry, getting lost in another book, or a special meet-up with writing buds.
Our bucket is filled with innovation. We can take it anywhere to find writing ideas. I once chose to pick blueberries when my plot refused to come together. Four hours later, I had my storyline and two pies. Consider a trip to the grocery, shop for something new, plant flowers, yank out weeds, host a party, bake, visit the beach, hike in the mountains, organize closets, work on a hobby, or other sources of activity.
The equipment in a writer’s sandbox depends on the genre, time restraints, personality, and a twist of whim. Whatever sparks the writer’s creative soul and helps to build an exciting project should be sprinkled with gems of sand and enthusiasm.
What is in your writer’s sandbox?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on: Facebook, Twitter, or any of the social media platforms listed at diannmills.com