by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
Saving for a rainy day isn’t just good financial advice—it’s good writing advice. We all have those times when inspiration doesn’t choose to shine on us. But if we’ve been storing valuable things, we’ll be able to continue to make progress.
1. Ideas. Every single writer should have a system of keeping track of ideas. I have several.
- I always have a file on my computer for blog post ideas. Any time I’m at my computer and come up with a good idea, I open that document and record it. If I come across a cool idea on the web, I paste the URL and a quick description of what I think I could write about.
- I also have a documents for book ideas, guest post ideas, short stories, really anything I could write about. And I keep them separate and well labeled so I can find them when the idea file runs dry.
- I have a place on my iPad where I can record ideas.
- I have a place on my phone where I can keep ideas.
- Finally, incase electronics fail me. I always carry a small notebook in my purse. The trick here is to remember to transfer those ideas to my other files so I don’t lose them!
2. Writing Instruction Books. When I get stumped on how to do something or what should come next, I have a large library with physical books. In addition, I also have quite a few ebooks (some duplicates) so that when I’m away from home I still have access to what I’ll need.
3. Writing Prompt Books & Websites. I’m a big believer in writing prompts. Sometimes we need something to stretch our writing muscles before we can dig deep. That’s what writing prompts do for me.
4. Writing Friends. I’ve been careful to develop friendships with other writers over the years. These men and women are some of my most valuable resources. With them I can share my struggles, my fears, and my successes. I can also bounce ideas around with them and spend valuable brainstorming time when I get stuck.
5. Years of Classes and Workshops. Well, I may not have the actual classes, but I have the knowledge that has come from them. I also have my notes and often times, the recordings of the classes I’ve taken. If you’re not investing in writing classes, you’re missing out on a valuable asset.
6. Favorite Books. These are the books that have inspired me, humbled me, and challenged me to grow as a writer. They include poetry, novels, biographies, non-fiction, even beautiful books of photography. All of these make up a valuable source of inspiration.
7. Favorite Movies. We are becoming a more and more visual society. And there are movies that have inspired me as well as books.
8. Places of Peace and Rest. Where do you go to find peace? Don’t neglect going there regularly. Or, if it’s not possible, surround yourself with images that bring that place to mind.
9. Good Equipment. I can’t tell you the difference it makes to have good equipment. From the computer you use, to the word processing program, to the desk equipment. This isn’t a place to skimp or try to make do.
10. Inspirational Music. This isn’t necessarily religious music, it’s anything that inspires you. Put together a playlist on Spotify and keep it on in the background while you’re writing.
11. Alligator-tough Skin. Writing isn’t for the faint-of-heart. We must endure rejection, revision and those horrible voices that live in every writer’s mind.
12. Faith. I think this one is the most important thing of all. For me, it goes beyond faith in myself, although that is important. My faith in the God who created me for the purpose of stringing words together is my foundation every single time I sit down to write.
These are the things that I keep in my writer’s vault. I’d love to know what’s in yours.
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, coming in May WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.