- Progress Log. Define where you are with a given project, and a timeline for achieving particular results.
- Listing and 10 questions (including, who? what? when? where? why?). List the different aspects of an identified writing goal.
- F//w (Free writing), Looping, (and Excelsior! ). Define a timeline, (Five minutes, ten, etc.); and write whatever comes to mind. When free writing, write as fast you can without stopping, dismiss grammar, spelling, etc.; and stop writing at a pre-determined timeline. "The more you write, the faster you become," says Dr. Long. Looping-analyze your free writing: "What surprises me?," "What disturbs me?," "What do I like?" Circle these finds and use them as your next writing prompt.
- Incubation, rumination, and marination-allow yourself time to go slowly. Practice all three; and maximize thoughts about your writing.
- Morning pages. This technique, attributed to Julia Cameron, author of the classic, "The Artist's Way," suggests arising earlier than usual, and writing about your project.
- Clustering and Mind Mapping (with colors!). Visit Writers Web for examples of Clustering (google mind mapping-writing) for various methods.
- Change the lead. Transform a minor character into a major character as a writing exercise.
- Change the point of view.
- Silent Socratic Dialogue: with a partner. Collaborate with a fellow writer. Each of you writes about your particular writing project, and your goals, for a defined time (five, ten minutes, etc.). Exchange notebooks. Partners write down questions about what the other aims to accomplish. Trade notebooks again and write responses to the partner's questions.
- Success team and create accountability. Identify several trusted people in your network (both writers and non-writers), who'd be willing to read your work and offer feedback and questions on an ongoing basis.
- Write in a different genre. "Our brains can't stand stagnancy," says Dr. Clark.
- Be someone else.
- Funding. As it relates to writing, "fill your well." Use pictures, postcards, etc.; and pair up with a partner. Define a timeline and write down how you perceive the particular images. Trade pictures and repeat the process. Share and learn from your different perspectives.
- Write over the top badly. Make it suck. "Give yourself permission to write terrible," says Dr. Clark. "It's ok."
- Tell your story-auditory; Tell your story-write a letter.
- Find models. Learn from writers already successful in your writing genre.
- Use e.ggtimer as an online tool for writing. Write until you've achieved your predetermined word count (300, 500, 1000 words, etc.). Define a minimal daily task list for your writing.
- Cartoon and storyboard.
- Interview someone.
- Ticking clock-stakes and conflict. Even with non-fiction there needs to be an element of conflict/suspense. (Dr. Clark recommends watching the classic Western, High Noon, even if you're not a fan of the movie genre).
- Baby steps. Break down your writing project into years, months, weeks, days, etc. "Baby steps add up," says Dr. Clark.
- Keep a Progress Log. Dr. Clark returns full-circle to the first point. A Progress Log is that important.
Twenty-eight branches comprise the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) system; which ranks among the nation's top 25 public libraries (according to the American Library Association).
CCPL offers free writing programs year-round, including fiction writing, writing for children, and online writing courses.
To access CCPL's online writing classes, visit Cuyahoga County Public Library, click on Resources, choose Resources A-Z, and choose Universal Class (home access requires a CCPL library card and PIN).