Creativity Hacks for Authors
Written by
Emily Suess
November 2011
Written by
Emily Suess
November 2011

I'll admit that I'm a freelance writer first and a novelist second. (Or maybe sometimes fifth or tenth, depending on the day.) As a result, I pound out a lot of practical sentences on my keyboard. And, yes, sometimes the act of writing doesn't seem like a creative process at all for me. Sometimes the web copy and the blog posts are just a little too formulaic to inspire.


Thankfully, the web is full of sites that help me break out of the habits of web writing and start thinking about life a little more creatively. I call them my creativity hacks. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you. I hope you'll also share your favorite creativity sources with your fellow She Writers so that we can build a fantastic resource for each other when life gets a little mundane and we need that little extra push. 


Emily's Top 5 Creativity Hacks

Post Secret: Now, I know this site isn't exactly new to anyone out there. But you might not have thought of using the secrets posted there each Sunday to inspire your books and short stories. What if your protagonist sent in last Sunday's post card that read, "A complete stranger solicited me to watch him masturbate in his car for $200."


Creative Something:  Creative Something is a website by Tanner Christensen. Tanner writes posts designed to motivate and inspire creatives (not just writers). Although you won't find a lot of creative exercises, the topics often help put me in a more creative frame of mind.


Fuel Your Creativity: From typography to podcasts, creative ideas are explored from different contributors on this site. There is a lot of content to explore, and because much of it is focused on design not all of it will directly apply to your craft. However, I encourage you to check out Creative Tools tab from time to time and read some of the interviews. Like the about page says, "This gem is the place to turn to when you’re having one of your “I’m-going-to-implode-if-I-don’t-get-an-idea-soon” moments. Don’t lie. You know you have them."


Ficly: In case you haven't heard of this site yet, Ficly is a place for writing micro-fiction. The stories you write can only be 1,024 characters long. You can write in response to other author's challenges, and you can write sequels and prequels to pieces for a round-robin style writing adventure. You can also come up with your own challenges. I find this site to be extremely inspiring and a catalyst for generating gobs potential story ideas.


Bonnie's Story Spinner: OMG, have you seen this? The Online Story Spinner was created by a writing instructor, and it spits out dozens and dozens of computer-generated story prompts. Because the prompts also give you a starting phrase, setting, and four additional words to include in your story, they're great for those days where you need a little extra nudge to maintain or develop a writing habit.


Your Turn!

Tell us what sites inspire you to keep writing.



Photo credit: onetwo

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  • Emily Suess

    I can tell you it's not coffee, Cynthia! I just never did learn to like the taste of coffee. (I know, I'm an odd duck.)

  • Cynthia Hartwig

    Creativity hacks are terrific:  you gave me one yourself when you suggested that we She Writers interview our characters and see what comes out. A law suit where the TV reporter sues her employer for putting her in harm's way when she my antag, the owner of a ramshackle, roadside snakehouse in South Carolina, demos a not-so-tame king cobra named Kong was the result. Hey, inspiration comes from anywhere. And what's in that cup you're always drinking from?  Love your profile photo; it's intriguing.

  • Candyce Deal

    I like all these websites!  Thanks for sharing.  When I'm stuck I revert to a few favorite starters from Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones.  A few of my favorites:  I'm thinking about ...........  I'm not thinking about .......  or

    I remember ............  I don't remember .............