Okay, this may be no secret since I decided to dedicate an entire blog to it, BUT I love stories. I’m a storyteller and a story lover to the core. This passion is the essence of who I am, and I’m guessing it’s like the essence of who you are, too.
One of the most important things in life is finding out what you love and then holding on dearly to this thing. Fearless Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire & All That™.
I was typing stories on the computer before I even knew how to write. I was watching the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast over and over and over again, and then imagining myself as a princess, writing my own tales.
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” ~Julia Child
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d compile a list of ways that you can keep tremendously interested in storytelling. So read on Fearless Storytellers.
01. BE A KID AGAIN
In Kindergarden, when everyone else was learning to read, I typed Snow White fanfic on my family computer . In first grade, I wrote Lilo & Stitch and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book-style fanfic. When I got my first computer in middle school, I sat down and wrote stories about my Jungle Exploring Alter Ego™, Jane. (which is my middle name! Jane … not Jungle Exploring Alter Ego …)
Chances are, stories were magical when you were a kid, too. Take a second to think back on your childhood. Remember how psyched you were to be reading and telling stories? Remember when you read for excitement and wrote because you had stories to tell?
Yeah. Get back to that childish magic.
02. WRITING DATES
This may make me sound like the lamest person ever, but every Friday I take myself on a writer date. I grab a bagel and a dark roast coffee from Starbucks, put my phone on Do Not Disturb, bury into a seat, and indulge my storytelling self.
I read an online article about craft, take notes and intentionally process the information. I work on my Pinterest storyboard aesthetics. I write for an hour or two.
It’s one of the best parts of my week — even if I’m only there from like 2-4:30.
Take yourself somewhere and treat yourself to some time away from everything else but storytelling.
03. RETURN TO THE ROOT OF WHAT INSPIRES YOU
When I started writing (like eons ago … okay, more like 9-ish years) I was INCREDIBLY inspired by music and art. I would hear a song and dream up a whole novel. I would look at a picture and write a whole poem.
Somewhere a long the way, I sort of stopped doing that.
The other day, though, I was reminded of what used to inspire my writing. I still get inspired by music and visual art, but I don’t keep myself rooted in those things. I drift around a bit, tell myself I don’t really “need” any new story ideas right now, turn my focus back to my current WIP.
Inspiration is ESSENTIAL to creativity. Remember what makes your creativity wheels turn, and then go back there often.
It doesn’t matter if what inspires you doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter if you can spend three hours listening to music and completely lose yourself, only to resurface later with a bunch of story ideas and quotes and fun lines.
04. CREATE IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Paint. Take photographs. Bake. Knit. DIY the crap out of your bedroom decor. Whittle soap.
Write something else, like a blog post. Nonfiction. Poetry.
Fill your creative cup as many ways as you can. Writing blog posts doesn’t drain me — in fact I love blogging. It doesn’t leave me drained. Rather, it re-energizes and re-vitalizes me. Find another creative outlet so you don’t always have to rely on writing to be both a creative release AND a productive endeavor.
05. DIY WRITING RETREAT
Whenever I have a break in school (like Spring break which is coming up soon!!!) I love to plan a little writing retreat. I usually block out the first few hours of a handful of days and then guard that time. I snuggle up on the couch with my pets, brew endless pots of coffee, and write.
And it’s awesome! 10/10 would definitely recommend. Plus, I always look forward to these little writing retreats which makes the days leading up to them fun, too.
06. DIY WRITING WORKSHOP
It’s the same idea as a DIY writing retreat — block out some time and have your own writing workshop. Make a list of things about writing craft you want to lean. Grab a few craft books. Bookmark some writing articles.
My favorite resources for learning more about writing:
- Helping Writers Become Authors — I have learned SO much about writing (especially character arcs!!) from K.M. Weiland’s site.
- Well-Storied — This is a great resource that I used a lot to help up my writing game. There are craft articles as well as articles about living your best writing life (which I am ALL about).
- Pub(lishing) Crawl — A literal gold mine of knowledge from a ton of your fave authors like Leigh Bardugo, Susan Dennard, Stephanie Garber, Adam Silvera, Marie Lu, AND SARAH J MAAS.
- Rachel Giesel — Lots of great printables and a focus on creating a writing life you LOVE.
07. REREAD A 5-STAR BOOK
Pick up a book you rated 5-stars on Goodreads but just haven’t picked up since.
I know it’s so hard to reread books when your TBR is threatening to eat you (no, seriously, I think it’s growing teeth and an appetite for smol writers) but it’s also so fun. It’s like falling in love all over again! (Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all your fave ships.) Plus, if you’re a writer, you can take a closer look at what makes the book tick.
08. MAKE YOURSELF A PHYSICAL “HAPPY SPACE”
There’s something super romantic about the idea of a little story nook! Whether it’s a few pillows in the corner of your room under fairy lights or a whole office, get a place that’s yours. Make it off limits for all non-story things — no homework, no worrying, no Internet. To make it super sacred, make a no-phone rule too.
09. ENGAGE IN ANOTHER FORM OF STORYTELLING
Yes — binge on Netflix! Play video games for 8 hours straight. Stories come in all sorts of different formats. While it’s amazing to hold a book in your hand and physically flip the pages, books are only the tip of the story iceberg.
Think outside the box (or, book):
- TV shows
- Video games
- Comic books
- Wattpad stories
- Short films
10. MAKE IT A PRIORITY
There’s power in making your passion a priority.
I’m not saying you have to put everything on hold until you get an hour of reading or writing in. I’m saying that it’s a good idea to have a chunk of time where your priority is storytelling.
Whatever you’re doing when this chunk of time comes around, drop it. Take this commitment seriously. Don’t give your passion scraps of your time.
Even if it’s one day a week where you set aside one hour, great.
Let me say that again: there’s power in making your passion a priority.
11. FIND AUTHOR INTERVIEWS, SUCCESS STORIES, & WRITERS JUST FANGIRLING OVER WRITING
I LOVE reading about the journeys of other authors.
At the end of the day, that’s what writing is about: the journey. You don’t have to be a successful author, because being a writer is success in and of itself.
I love hearing other writer’s gush about writing. Whether they’re published authors, authorpreneurs, or passionate writers, it’s amazing to listen to others who love storytelling as much as I do!
My favorite places to find authors and writers talking about writing:
- 88 Cups of Tea podcast — Since I’m at college, I do a lot of walking to classes. I love to pop in my headphones on the way and listen to other people talk about my passion. I also love to listen to podcasts when I’m at the gym, especially when I go for runs. I had a long drive to my summer internship this year, and I binged this podcast like crazy. It was awesome.
- First Draft Podcast — More author interviews! I recently learned about this podcast and UM, WHERE HAS IT BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
- Authortube! — I particularly love Kristen Martin, Angela Anne, Brittany Wang, Kim Chance, and Abbie Emmons.
- Paper Fury — Cait’s blog always gets me SO pumped about stories, whether it’s writing them or reading them. Her passion about fantasy is actually what made me branch out from YA contemporary in the first place! Her energy is really infectious.
- K.M. Allan — I’m so happy to have found K.M.’s blog last year almost immediately after I started blogging. Her posts are so helpful and inspiring and she is SUCH a talented writer.
- Uninspired Writers — Despite the name, M.L. Davis’ blog is incredibly inspiring and I love hearing what she has to say about writing.
*BONUS. SHARE YOUR PASSION
Not only is it super fantastic to listen to others share their thoughts about your passion, it’s also super fantastic to stand on rooftops and join in on the chorus of squealing. Because that’s all writers and readers are, right? Storytelling Squealers™.(wow, I’m trademarking everything in this post.)
I started my blog to help out my “author platform,” but it turns out that I LOVE blogging. I also love sharing photos and stories over on Instagram. I love this little community of storytellers and story lovers, and adding my voice and take on things has been absolutely fan-freaking-tastically amazing.