NaNoWriMo Day 20 – Drop by your local library

unnamedA repository of creative nuggets, the local library is one of the most overlooked spots when  creative thinkers think of inspiration. While books can be a fabulous source or information on your topic, sometimes just perusing through the magazine aisle is equally or more valuable.

May I recommend that instead of flipping through magazines that may be related to your topic, you choose one that perhaps is out of left field to your topic? The is a method to this madness as reading blurbs about topics you are unfamiliar with, helps to tap into a different area of the brain enabling you to think of your writing challenge in a different way.

What are you waiting for? Head over now and check out a magazine or two, or three, or five. Read a blurb. Think about the writing and sentence construction. Is there anything you can draw on and use in your own story?

Happy Day 20 of NaNoWriMo!

Today’s word count: 33,340 words

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.

NaNoWriMo Day 19 – How To Begin Your Day

IMG_0354Start off your day with a crossword…or even a sudoku puzzle.

Personally, I find there’s an advantage to both.

A crossword helps you access different areas of your brain. While you are searching for clues and thinking of words, your brain makes new synaptic connections. This helps you think in a creative way and come up with a unique perspective.

Sudoku is great for helping calm down your mind. As you think of numbers to populate, the mere act of concentrating helps to maintain your focus.

Happy Day 19 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.

NaNoWriMo Day 17 – Keeping up with the challenge

In his book No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty has a few suggestions on how to leverage the adrenaline rush of the first few days and maintain the momentum.

1. Ride The Momentum
2. Don’t Delete. Italicize.
3. Start A Novel Notes File
4. Keep The Story To Yourself

The best plan, Chris suggests is to keep the novel moving forward.

Happy Day 17 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.

NaNoWriMo Day 16 – How To Break The Spell Of Boredom

The fact of the matter is we all get into a rut. And, routine starts to bog down our thinking! We get comfortable. Our ideas become linear. Our work becomes acceptable. Sure, we can go about the rest of our days in this robotic state, but do we really want to?

So the question becomes how do we break from this spell of boredom and start thinking creatively? The answer is simple: start using a pink pencil.

photo (7)When we become comfortable, we start taking things for granted. Whether it’s driving the same route to work every day, or going to the same coffee shop simply because it’s convenient, routine can hinder our creative outlook. You probably won’t see too many new items on the menu in the coffee shop, which means your day will start off like the last miserable day you had. And your mood will as well.

Using a pink pencil will help you break out of that routine. Every time you use it, it will make you pay attention. When you go into a meeting, you’ll think about what you’re writing down. Your colleagues (or clients) will comment on the pink pencil. It will start a discussion. The pink pencil is the stimulus for you to stand out in a small way, and mark my words, you actually may start to like it. And when you make one small difference in your day, you just may start making a bigger difference in your life.

Happy Day 16 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.



NaNoWriMo Day 15 – The Creative Process Dissected

The Creative Process

“I see the creative process as a necessarily thievish undertaking. Dig beneath a beautiful piece of writing, Monsieur Boustouler, and you will find all manner of dishonour. Creating means vandalizing the lives of other people, turning them into unwilling and unwitting participants. You steal their desires, their dreams, pocket their flaws, their suffering. You take what does not belong to you. You do this knowingly.”

An excerpt from Khaled Hosseini’s book And The Mountains Echoed 

Happy Day 15 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.


NaNoWriMo Day 13 – The lightbulb goes off

“If you give yourself too much time to plan, you may end up stumbling across a brilliant concept for your novel.”

There is a danger that you may get sidetracked by a brilliant idea. Yes, the last point is not a typo. Chris Baty found that some folks who started NaNoWriMo gave up without completing because “they’ve found a story they love and want to work on it slowly enough to do it justice”. When Chris checked up on these people six months later they’d inevitably stopped working on their book altogether.

The lesson here is don’t give up what you’ve committed to do. Starting NaNoWriMo is easy; staying through the course and completing your 50,000 word novel is hard. But when you’ve done it, you will achieve a sense of accomplishment and love of the writing craft. So, when you have that brilliant idea, make sure you write it down and come back to it after National Novel Writing Month is over. Better yet, try using the idea in your current noveling journey. It just may help you discover if your idea has legs.

Happy Day 13 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.


NaNoWriMo Day 12 – Try an offbeat writing space

unnamedI’m not one to sit in one spot on the same chair and write. Personally, I like to change it up. For me, different things (however small they may seem) make a difference. If you’ve been following the blog you remember the Pink Pencil post for boosting creativity.

In his book No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty also discusses quirky places for writing. Whether it’s on a treadmill, or on a park bench, it is surprising the unexpected places that creativity can hit you on the side of the head.

“However questionable the results can sometimes be, one of the joys of the noveling journey is applying your creativity to some conventionally uncreative spaces.”

Happy Day 12 of NaNoWriMo!

ThinkBLink by Shilpa Raikar.

NaNoWriMo Day 11 – Design ignites your creative writing

Every Image Tells A Story

Yesterday’s NaNoWriMo Day 10 post focused on writing prompts. While short writing exercises are an excellent way to get that spark and keep your fingers moving, there are other things that will keep the bees in your head buzzing with creativity. In fact, I’ve always found that engaging in different pursuits (whether seemingly creative on the surface or not) helps to ignite the creative synapses.

So here’s another avenue to explore. Instead of just writing books, have you considered looking at design books? Gorgeous visuals, typography books, etc., these all give the brain a nudge and spark a connection that is not just ordinary.

Here’s a few that I just picked out of my bookshelf. You can walk to your local bookstore and peruse through the design rack for your own inspiration.

Collage by Danielle Krysa
photoFrom the writer of The Jealous Curator, comes a collection of artwork by contemporary artists as they hunt and gather, cut and paste, mash up and transform. In your own writing, these principles also apply. You may think as you write NaNoWriMo “I’ve heard of this story somewhere. I’m sure it’s been done before.” But, the process of creating something new from what already exists has been done since the beginning of time. After all, wasn’t it Picasso who said “good artists copy but great artists steal”? In Collage, you’ll see the way artists give existing images an entirely new purpose, and create something fresh from images and ideas that were already established in their meaning.

Thought On Design by Paul Rand 

photo (1)

“Graphic design…
is not good design
if it does not co-operate
as an instrument
in the service of communication.”

Use that towards your NaNoWriMo writing. As you write, try to get to the point, without using wasted words. Everything should seamless integrate. There should be a rhythm a thought that should stay with the reader long after they have left the page.


Grafica della Strada: The Signs Of Italy by Princeton Architectural Press New York

“The Butcher, The Baker, The Ravioli Maker (which sounds infinitely better as la macelleria, il forno, il pastificio): in Italy, the sign for everyday business is everyday business is anything but ordinary.” This is what you must think about as you write: How do I not make it ordinary. How can I make each word bounce off the page and create a memorable experience in the reader’s mind.

NaNoWriMo is a long commitment and to keep your attention and ideas fresh, try out different things, including the one suggested on Day 9 – Reconnect With The Books You Love.

Happy ThinkBlink to all the NaNoWriMo writers!