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10 Fun Ways to Put the “Magic” Back in Writing

When I’m connected with my Writing Muse, all is “write” with the world.  My characters surprise me with new and better plot twists; cliff hangers magically present themselves at the end of every chapter; ideas transmute into sassy one-liners that make me think, “Wow!  I wish I’d said that!”

One day I stopped typing -- literally lifting my hands off the keyboard -- to ask my Muse:   “Why can’t EVERY day flow this magically?”

I got an answer.   I typed it down:

“Every day CAN flow like magic.  Before you begin to write, set the clear intention to make each writing session PLAY.”

I took that advice literally.   The next day, before switching on the computer, I sat in my writing chair, closed my eyes, took several deep and measured breaths, and announced to the Fiction Folks who live inside my brain:  “Today, we are going to have FUN!”

Imagine my shock when they cooperated.

I’m a firm believer in what Albert Einstein said:  “No problem can be solved by the consciousness that created it.”   So when I lead creativity workshops to help writers rediscover the magic in their writing, I make them get out of their chairs.  More importantly, I make them get out of their heads.  It’s always amusing to watch their faces go blank –- then dark with mutiny -- when I announce, “Today, we are going to twist our bodies like accordions!”  (Things really get interesting when they realize I’m serious.)

So today, while you’re in your head and in your chair, I’m going to make you PROMISE ME to try some of the exercises below.  Don’t wait until writer’s block sets in, or the Grim Reaper of Deadlines is stalking you.  Experiment with these creative ideas on a good writing day, when you’re relaxed and more likely to be receptive to play. 

Who knows?   Having a little fun just might inspire you to write better than ever!

10 Fun Ways to Put the "Magic" Back in Writing


Tired of losing the staring match with your cursor?  (Oh, yeah.)  Pack up your Writing Muse and take her on an official play date.  Go to Paint Ball.  Or a museum.  Or a treehouse (my personal favorite.)  Dress like a Storm Trooper.  Act like a 7-year-old.  Give yourself permission to color outside the lines.  (Note to First-Time Paint Ballers:  Drop by the pharmacy on the way home.  Buy a tube of Ben Gay.)


Lonely for conversation?  (From real people?)  Visit a busy restaurant at lunch time. Take your critique partner with you. Speak about your characters as if they’re business acquaintances. Brainstorm how to kill one off.  Do this REALLY LOUD.  Enjoy the horrified stares!


Search a magazine or the Internet for a representative photo of your Inner Critic. (Make it something creepy and ugly, like a cartoon bug.) Tape this colorized likeness to a cork board. Arm yourself with push pins. The next time that Pain-in-the-Tush criticizes your writing, poke its eyes out! 


Are you writing about heroes, but feeling far from heroic? Volunteer for storytime at a local elementary school or children’s library.  Let the exuberance of youngsters (whom you don’t have to raise) work its magic on you!  Take all those warm fuzzies back to your computer.  Start typing!


Buy a hoola hoop.  (Betcha know where this one’s going, huh?)  Okay, so you’re lousy at hula.  Do jumping jacks instead.  They’re free.  I promise you, the shot of joy-juice (endorphins) that you get from aerobic activity will do wonders for your creativity.  (Extra Perk:   you’ll work off the sugar from the caffeinated beverages that you’ve been guzzling – so you can guzzle even MORE!)


Try a different POV to solve your writing dilemma. Write as the banana on the kitchen counter. Transport your mind into a three-year-old child’s. What’s it like to stare at the knees of your heroine all day?  Pick a favorite fictional character. How would Scooby Doo save the day?  Rhett Butler?  Bella Swann? (By the way, if these cheesy POV exercises lead you to write the next bestselling vampire novel, be sure to cut me in on the royalties.)


More fun with critics:  Are you experiencing brain freeze because some tasteless loser wrote a snooty critique?  (Remember, gentle reader:  success is the best revenge.)  Put away the poisoned pen, and adopt a cat. Cat’s are compassionate, loving companions who are Zen Masters of Purr Therapy.  As an added bonus, cats require filler for their litter boxes – and you have the ideal material!  It’s called, “A Rejection Letter.”

Allergic to cats?  No problem!  Hamsters are adorable and deserve to have tidy cages, yes?

A bestselling Romance author once confided to me that her preferred method of dealing with rejection letters and lousy reviews was to plaster them to the walls of her guest bathroom.  Now that she’s super successful, all her friends and literary allies can troop through her loo, laughing at the meatheads who weren’t bright enough to recognize her talent.


Ever hear the saying, “Books aren’t written, they’re re-written?” (Yeah. That advice used to annoy me, too.) Try this: the next time you’re faced with a re-write and your Inner Child is pitching a fit, give in to the tantrum. Throw Nerf balls at the wall. Jump in the swimming pool and yell under water. Punch a pillow. Rip up the objectionable critique with your bare hands, and torch it in a appropriately fire-safe container. (It’s truly gratifying to watch bad reviews burn – uh, so I’ve been told.) Now that your brain’s clear, go write something!


Liberate your subconscious! Wash the dishes. Weed the garden. Vacuum the air ducts. Make a grocery list. The point to these activities is to distract your conscious mind from your problem with some menial task. This strategy allows your subconscious to “muse” over your problem. I cannot tell you how many times a brilliant idea has popped into my mind while I’m scraping fried egg from the bottom of a pan. Since I hate kitchen work, my Merciful Muse is quick to rescue me with inspirations.


Still stumped?  Dear me.  (Ever consider a brain transplant?)  For those of you who’ve reached Def Con 5 (translation: a chocolate fondue, a bottle of wine, and a full-body massage couldn’t wrangle one measly word out of you), try some positive reinforcement. Every time you do finish a scene, stuff a $1.00 bill inside a mason jar.  If you’re independently wealthy, stuff $10 inside the jar. By the time your manuscript is finished, you’ll have a sizable nest egg. Use that money to reward yourself. (Or send it to me. Your choice.)

Want to learn more secrets about writing a novel that sells? Check out the e-book, How to Write a Novel that Sells and these characterization worksheet templates for fiction genres or Romance novels. 

If you're a Romance writer, you may also be interested in my bestselling ebook series, The Secrets to Getting Your Romance Novel Published, including a discussion of the 14 bestselling Romance novel storylines in How to Write Wildly Popular Romances,; 50 Tips for Making a Hero Lovable in How to Write Romance Heroes with Sex Appeal, and How to Write Sensual Love Scenes.   ‘Til next time, keep the faith, and keep writing!