Saturday, May 3, 2014

Drawing on inspiration from a writing board

I keep a bulletin board over my desk. I use it as a sort of inspiration location for my writing. I tack up things that are useful, helpful, thought-provoking, or just pretty. I'm constantly out of space on it, so there are layers like an archaeological dig. You can see where I was a year ago in my writing just by excavating down a few levels.

Here's a quick peek at what's on my bulletin board today:

  1. A bookmark from a friend's wedding featuring some of the dialogue from The Princess Bride, which is honestly one of the best films ever made. The book's not bad, either. I use it as an example of a frame story with others, since it's a well-known film (the book is less known, but uses the frame as well.) The misspellings on this bookmark are a great reminder of the complete insanity that is the english language. 
  2. A pin we got by supporting a Tamora Pierce crowd funding campaign last year sometime. It's the crest of the Lioness. We have two others, too, but they are currently deployed as pins on the kids' bulletin boards. (Sidenote: One of my bulletin board tricks is to use pins from various travels and clubs as my pushpins, rather than just dull everyday pushpins.) Tamora Pierce is very inspiring to me as a writer, so this is a great everyday reminder. 
  3. You can't see it, but it's a graphic of The Hero's Journey. Always a good reference point and helps me shore up plot when I'm dragging. 
  4. An image I used as inspiration for my unfinished but in-process fantasy novel False Magic. 
  5. I love these Characters for an Epic Tale images from Tom Gauld's website.  Great source of ideas when the well runs dry.
  6. The library at Trinity College, Dublin. This room in particular is called The Long Room. Apt name, eh? We have visited it twice, and I imagine being lost among the stacks when I'm daydreaming.  It's inspiring both because…books. And because it reminds me of our travels, which I find particularly inspiring for writing (and another proser recently blogged about.) 
  7. A concept map of beer. Not exactly directly related to writing, but concept maps are a pretty nifty writer's tool. And, well, beer. All good writers need a vice or two, right?
  8. Another image I printed when brainstorming and outlining False Magic. I regret I didn't record the source, as these two images were key in helping me form ideas about setting and in writing one particular scene. I'd like to accurately reference them. Lesson learned, in the future I'll include a reference on the back of images I print for inspiration. Sidenote: I've been using a pinterest board for travel planning lately, and it occurs to me I can and should do the same thing for writing. If I had done this for False Magic, I'd have the links right there on my pinterest board (it's entirely possible I DID do this, will have to check!)
  9. Lovely Day for a Guinness. Reference #7. ;) 
  10. Yes, that is a dagger used as a pushpin. I got a set of them for the boy child for the holidays a few years back. Household favorites. He has the rest on his board. I think the axe is my favorite. I find that integrating whimsy and fun things into our lives in general helps me be a more creative person. 

I have all kinds of bag charms and keychains clipped to my purse, wallet, keychain. A LEGO Gandalf, a miniature red telephone box, a small skull from our trip to Stratford-on-Avon. These little things, touchstones in my daily life, act as daily sources of inspiration and creativity, and best of all FUN!

I encourage you to find ways to incorporate the elements that most inspire you, make you feel most creative, or even just bring a smile to your face, into your workspace and daily activities. I have a set of measuring cups shaped like Russian nesting dolls in my kitchen, a coffee mug that looks like a large camera lens, and more t-shirts with silly geeky pictures and sayings than you can shake a stick at. All part of my master plan to live a creative life. I challenge you do to the same! 

So -- what's on your bulletin board?

P.S. I have a new non-fiction piece that went live on BookTrib last week. Would love it if you checked it out! It's titled Don't be a Junk Food Vegetarian.


  1. That's awesome! I was already planning on doing something similar, only just as a recreation of my inspirational Pinterest board for my WIP.(I do highly recommend making those, by the way.) But putting up mementos and keepsakes is also a grand idea. SO looking forward to getting this done now school is almost out!

  2. I have a pinterest board for Pyromancy, mainly because Sheena had one, and it was so cool I just couldn't help starting my own. Who wouldn't want to read a book inspired by such awesome pictures? You can check it out here:
    So much fun. I love your real board, Karen, especially your awesome pins. I might have to start one of those too. :)

  3. I'm going to have to blog about touchstones one of these days. I dig this post.


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