Websites to Help Develop Your Plot

The Best Websites to Help You Plot Your Novel | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

Never did I think I would become such a lover of plotting websites, as I have always been and will always be a notebook fanatic. I use pen and paper for every part of a story, and they always boost my creativity more than using something on the computer.

But the advantages of using certain websites and online software cannot be ignored.

You can use digital tools only if that’s your preference, or you can scribble out your wild thoughts in your notebook, and then transfer them to a more streamlined and organized software.

Not only can you use digital tools to make your thoughts neater and more easily accessible, but you can also use them as inspiration. Multiple websites, blogs, and digital tools were created with authors in mind. They have tips and tricks you can use to further your plot along and intensify it.

Don’t have many plot points figured out yet? Some of these have prompts that can get your gears moving.

Many of these sites I knew about before writing this post, but through researching for this, I’ve discovered and fallen in love with even more.

So I hope that’s the case for you all too!


General Advice

Tumblr / Pinterest

These can both be used the same way. I have a whole other post about the many incredible uses of Pinterest for writers here, so I won’t go into detail. Tumblr can be used the same way in that instead of users having boards, they have blogs. And these can be filled with prompts and advice on developing your plot.

Writerology

This site is run by Faye, a psychology graduate, and focuses mainly on creating your best characters and thus, your best stories. I love her Inspiration Station, which is a page consisting only of resources and advice posts.

Well-Storied

Well-Storied is a blog and advice treasure trove run by author Kristen Kieffer. It’s a blog I can spend hours on and not regret it. From building a plot to anything else you could ever possibly need to write your story, you can find it here.

Bryn Donovan

Another blog run by another author, Bryn Donovan uses her experiences and knowledge to teach other aspiring writers what she’s learned. Filled with advice all the way from writing prompts to your final edits, it’s a one-stop shop for writers.

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo

Most writers are aware of National Novel Writing Month in November when writers around the globe band together to write their own 50,000-word novels in 30 days. But what you may not be aware of is their Nano prep page, which has tips and blog posts posted all year long to help writers prepare to achieve their goals in November.

Now Novel

The primary function of this site is an online course that writers can use to finish their novel. But their less hyped blog page is what I’m going to recommend to you. Filled to the brim with well thought out posts about anything writing-related, it can help you every step of the way.

Life of a Story Teller

This site is a God-send. Run by blogger Sara Ridley, you can find advice, incredible blog posts, and downloadable worksheets (most of which are free). I’m a part of her Writer’s Tribe and am so glad I am.

Prompts

Plot-Generator.Org

If you’re ever feeling really strapped for ideas, whether it be for your main plot or any other tiny ideas, generators can be a great tool. This is my favorite site for them. At this one site, you can generate random story ideas, choose a specific genre and have it create a random blurb, or even generate character names or song lyrics. Simply put, it’s hella useful.

The Writer’s Den at Pantomimepony

Similar to the last site I mentioned, this site has multiple generators to urge your story forward. There’s one for plot ideas, for plot twists, and even first lines. They say their ideas may not make much sense but can get your creative gears working. And isn’t that all you want?

Writing Prompts.com

As the name suggests, this is a site filled with-wait for it-writing prompts. While not a generator for the above two, this blog has a specific category filled with posts that’ll prompt your writing. Some posts will give you specific dialogue to incorporate or simply a plot idea. Not only that, but the other writing categories on this site are just as useful.

Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck

This Tumblr page is incredible for super random ideas that could be applied to any sort of writing idea. With posts telling you to incorporate three certain things into a scene, or a certain type of character, this page is super entertaining to scroll through.

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Worksheets

Using worksheets for your writing may seem a bit middle-school, but trust me, they work. I won’t go into detail on each three of these websites because they each accomplish the same thing in their own genius way. But know they all have (FREE!) worksheets that can help you build your story’s plot and anything after that as well.

E.M. Welsh 

Eva Deverell

Jami Gold

Character Development

16 Personalities

If I were to truly express my love for this website, we’d be here all day. So I will simply leave it at this and also link you to a further in-depth post about it here. This website is the entrance gate to all things MBTI, which basically breaks down everyone’s personality into–wait for it–one of sixteen personalities. It’s the best way to create characters and, for those slightly narcissistic like me, learn more about yourself.

Name Generators

Stuck in a rut when trying to name your characters? The best free ways to help are with name generators. Here are two that I really like. Hiveword and Random-Name-Generator.

Settings

Google Maps

If you’re writing a novel located in a real-life city, it needs to be accurate. You never know who’ll be reading it and if they’re from that city or not. My favorite way to do this is using Google Maps.

You can add favorites to the locations you’ll use more than once, use the directions feature to get your character correctly from Point A to Point B, and even get inspiration for places in that city you could use in a scene.

Hiveword

Like the characters name generator I mentioned above, this site also features a setting name generator. If you choose to go the fictional setting route, this will be SO useful for naming all your story’s locations.

Software

Scrivener

I have yet to write a post solely on my love for this software, but trust me when I say it’s coming. While not free, this software by Literature and Latte is something I splurged on a year or so ago and have never regretted (even when I was begging my mom for groceries).

It keeps everything for your story, including location notes & research, plot outlines, (literally EVERYTHING) in one easily accessible location.

Want to try a free trial? You can use my affiliate links if you’d like (or simply click the link above if you’d prefer). Here they are:

Story Planner

Created by a writer herself, this website contains multiple different plotting methods condensed into one “Novel Launcher” that will help you plan out your novel.

Novlr

Like Scrivener, this software isn’t free. Instead, it’s a monthly subscription service that allows you to safely write your novel both online and offline. It’s also filled with features such as distraction-free mode, chapter & scene breakdowns, as well as automatic backups to Google Drive and Dropbox.

Storyline Creator

This software offers three different versions, the most basic of which is free. Similar to both Scrivener and Novlr, it’s a one-stop shop for everything your novel could need.

Outlining & Mapping

Trello

Trello is something I’ve always heard of but never tried for myself until researching for this blog post. It’s simple but also incredibly useful and versatile, and I’ve already created a board for the novel I’m working on. The software consists of one main board that trickles into multiple sub-boards, all of which you can use for parts of your novel such as plot points, random ideas, and even character inspo.

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is geared more toward visual people, those who’d rather lay all of their plot points in a diagram or flowchart. While they have paid accounts, you can also use the most basic account for free. I’m not a huge flowchart type of person, but I did test it out for this post and it was definitely easy to get the hang of.


And there they all are. My fingers are exhausted after typing all of this, but I know how useful this list could be to some of you writers out there. Simply researching for this post introduced me to new tools that I’m excited to learn more about.

Let me know in the comments some of your favorite online plotting tools. I’d love to check them out and maybe include them in another post like this down the line.

Thanks for reading, and happy writing!

 

 

How to Create Your Best Characters

No matter what type of writer you are, no matter your genre or plot structure of choice, the most important parts of any story are the characters. They drive the story, they become part of the readers’ mindset, and they can make or break your work in progress.

There would be no plot if it weren’t for your characters, so it’s of the utmost importance that you make them as great as possible. Not great as in so pure and heroic they’re not realistic, but great as in the reader can imagine the characters in front of them. They can see them playing out the actions of the plot. They feel real.

So how does a writer do that? How does a writer make this intangible person out of words seem real?

Here are my tips.


Give Them Flaws

No person on earth is perfect (except for J.K. Rowling, obviously), so characters shouldn’t be either. Give them a downfall, a weakness. They can be brave as possible, but terrified of spiders. They can be honest but to a fault.

Be sure not to make them too annoying, of course. But don’t create characters that the reader can’t relate to.

Besides, a character’s flaw can lay the foundation of an entire subplot. The brave man has to fight a spider to save someone (bad example, I know), or the honest person has to lie to get what they want.

So not only do realistic characters help your reader relate to the story, they also help with your plot development. Win-win.

Give Them Quirks

This goes hand in hand with the flaw tip above. Everyone I know has a quirk, which is something not entirely normal that they do.

When I’m anxious or bored, I pick at the skin on my fingertips (gross, I know). When my sister gets scared of something, she covers her ears even if it’s not sound-based. When my brother gets embarrassed, it’s not his cheeks that blush, but instead the tips of his ears.

In my novel “Back to You”, the lead male character picks at his nails when uncomfortable.

Anything that’s subconscious and quirky can be used, and it only furthers how relatable your characters seem.

Discover Their Psychology

Create your best characters with Meyers-Briggs Personality TypesThis is my absolute favorite tool when developing a character. Using proven research on different personalities helps come up with ideas and traits that only make characters more real. Taking the stereotypical “type” of a character, you can build from there and make a character that’s both true and unique.

There are quite a few different psychological theories that one can use, but I’ve listed my two favorites here.

Meyers-Briggs

This theory is, to me, the most in-depth and correct. When I first discovered it and took the test for my type (INFJ for those curious), I spent hours researching it and reading into my type.

To discover your own type or that of your characters’, you go through each of the four rows and determine which of the two options is more accurate. From there, you take the capitalized letter of those options and put them in order. For me, I’m introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging (INFJ).

From there, the things you can learn about that personality type are endless. You can take the test for yourself, and learn more at www.16personalities.com

Jungian Archetypes

I’m far less familiar with Jungian Archetypes than I am with MBTI, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful. With Jungian types, there are twelve possible archetypes for a character.

These are based on one thing: their goal in life. Even if the character is unaware of their main goal, it’s still their driving force and, if they fail, their biggest fear.

To me, the Jungian type is more basic than MBTI, but it helps more when developing what a character strives for throughout your story.

Using both Jungian and MBTI, the possibilities for your characters’ development are endless.

Zodiac Type

I’m not listing this under psychology types because it’s a different type of science, but can be used the exact same way. You can take a stereotypic zodiac personality profile (like a sensitive creative for a Pisces), and tweak or add some traits to make the character your own.

It’s a solid foundation to build from, and, like the personality types, can give your character traits you may not have initially thought of.

Give Them Likes & Dislikes

What’s their favorite food? Do they prefer Taylor Swift, the Foo Fighters, or both? Do they have to have a nightlight to sleep? What’s their favorite TV show?

These are basic and boring traits about real life people that you may not realize mold who they truly are. They’re overlooked and underestimated, and things that will only make your characters more realistic.

You don’t have to say them explicitly in the story, but simply you, the author, knowing them, will make those traits bleed into the character.

Have a Visual Reference

Secret: I used to hate reading stories online where the author would upload the pictures they used for their character inspo. If I didn’t like how they looked (shallow of me, I know), it’d almost ruin the story.

Still, though, as an author, I know how much a visual reference can help while writing. Not only does it help keep physical descriptions consistent throughout the story, it can also spark your insight into them as a character.

You can also use their reference to determine how’d they dress. Do they like bold colors or muted tones? Do they like a tight fit or loose? You may not think about them, but answering stuff like this makes a character visual to both you and the reader.

Give them a Goal/Motivation

What are they striving for in the story? What’s their end goal? If they don’t have one, there is no plot. Everyone wants something in life, or at least the people worth reading about do.

In really intense and good novels, characters have multiple goals, and usually one needs to be sacrificed to achieve the other.

If you need ideas, refer back to the Jungian Archetypes.

Give Them Relationships

Even the most antisocial people have at least one person they deal with on a regular basis. Give your characters friends, exes, people they recognize and wave to in their neighborhood.

Their interactions with others make them seem more real and gives you a chance to expose more of their personality. How do they act with their friends? Are they super protective? Are they jealous of their best friend’s wardrobe?

Delve deep into how they feel about other people in their life, and it’ll only give the reader more insight into them as a character.

Make Their Actions/Reactions Understandable

There is nothing more irritating than a character choosing to do something in a story, and it not making sense to their personality. If the character is notoriously shy, they better have a damn good reason for being outspoken about something.

Yes, people can do things out of the ordinary for them, but personalities tend to remain solid. And if something about it changes, or is inconsistent, there needs to be a reason.

Make them Likable

…or at least relatable.

And yes, this refers to antagonists as well. No one is pure evil, except for maybe a select handful (looking at you, guy who cut me off in traffic yesterday). Yes, good vs. evil is definitely a thing, and it works.

But why is that person evil? Did they have a traumatic upbringing? Were they bullied as a child?

It’s not nearly as interesting to read about someone who’s evil just for the hell of it. I love it when the bad person has a reason behind their bad, where a part of me thinks “well, I’d probably be this way too”.

Same goes for the protagonist. Like I mentioned before, make them have flaws. Just like no one is evil, no one is perfect either. A character should get on your nerves at least once, or make you want to shake the book since you can’t shake the character.

People don’t like perfect, and they don’t like evil.

So utilize that gray area, and you’ll discover your best, most relatable characters.

People don't like perfect, and they don't like evil. So utilize that gray area, and you'll discover your best, most relatable characters.Click To Tweet

So those are my tips. Obviously, there are a million little ways to create your characters but these, to me, have been the most helpful over time. Hopefully, they can help you out as well!

Let me know in the comments if they help, or if there’s anything I missed that I should try out myself. I’m always looking to improve.

Thanks for reading!

How to create your best characters | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

Being a Writer with a Full-Time Life

[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]Anyone with half a brain would know that writing takes up a shit ton of time. First, you have to gather inspiration, then you have to write, then you have to have a mental breakdown midway through and wonder why you ever thought you could be a writer in the first place. Then you have to write again.

The whole process is very time-consuming.

But it is possible to write a book, a novella, or whatever else you’d want while living a life outside of your head. For me, I wrote my book “Back to You” while in college full-time and working part-time. It was my procrastination station, so basically I wrote most of it while I was supposed to be doing something else.

I will admit that it’s a damn miracle I was able to stay in school and keep my scholarships, but still. I did it! And you can too.

And here are some tips how 🙂


Designate Your Writing Time…

If you don’t set your life aside to write for a period of time, you’ll never get any writing done. I’ve written a whole post about creating your best writing process here, so check that out for a base guide if you haven’t yet.

If you want to be a writer, you have to have the discipline for it. It’s so much easier said than done, I know. But it’s really that simple. Forget about the load of laundry you have going, tell your partner to leave you the f*** alone for twenty minutes, give your dog a bone so they stop begging for your attention. When it’s time to write, WRITE.

Or else you’ll keep putting it off until the passion to do so is no longer there.

My best writing time is super early in the morning, right after I’ve woken up. So in the hour before I have to start getting ready for my day job, I try my hardest not to do anything but write.

…But Don’t Get Crazy

I am the WORST at this. When I was in college and writing “Back to You”, if I hadn’t written for a while and suddenly felt the urge to, I would abandon everything else. And I’m not talking about the good things to abandon like I mentioned above. I’m talking about hygiene, eating, social interaction, work (sorry boss, if you’re reading this). If I was in my zone, I would take too much advantage of it.

And by the time the day was over, I’d be alone in my bedroom with a growling stomach and a gross, depressed mindset. As introverted and antisocial as you may be which, believe me, I completely understand, you at least need to talk to SOMEONE once a day. I don’t care if it’s tagging your mom in a cute dog meme on Facebook. You just have to do something.

Utilize Free Moments

If you’re like me and have a day job, which most writers do, it’s hard to focus on anything but what you’re working on. You may feel guilty for thinking of a fight scene while you’re supposed to be inputting invoices, but you need to take advantage.

Some of my greatest ideas, and even not-so-greatest ones, have come to me at an inopportune time. But instead of pushing them aside and forgetting them, I quickly grab a post-it or my phone and jot it down. Yes you have a job and that should be your priority while you’re there, but you’re still a writer.

Even if you’re not at work. If you’re out shopping or stuck in traffic…anywhere you are. Inspiration is hard to come by, so indulge in it.

Use a Notebook

With how crazy life can get, it’s hard to get down to the basics of writing. Getting on the internet to research a novel can turn into replying to work emails. Reading a novel for inspiration can turn into a full-day reading binge. And it’s even worse when you’re working full-time, and have that thought “well…I just need a break from everything” and only avoid writing more.

That’s why I’ve always been such a notebook fan (obsessor).

Keeping a journal, writing your thoughts down, transports you to the most basic, pure form of writing. You can’t get distracted by a notification in the corner of your screen, or be only one click away from stalking your ex. It’s you, your thoughts, and pen and paper. You’re not a blog runner, or an accountant…for that period of time, you’re simply a writer.

Yes, of course, there are apps and software that will mute notifications or keep you from going onto Facebook for the millionth time that day, but in my opinion, nothing will ever beat a notebook.

I’ve linked some of my favorite notebooks below.

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Keep Things Separate

If you do use a notebook for your writing, don’t let it be the same as the one you use for your life. The worst thing for your creativity is to have that doctor’s appointment reminder, or those test notes, staring at you while you try to create.

Use two different notebooks. Keep separate computer folders. Color-code your life; green for finances, pink for your novel.

Do everything in your power to have it where, when you’re writing, that’s all your focused on.

Turn Writing Into Your Life-Break

This is something I still struggle with. When I was younger and wrote, it was an escape for me. It calmed me down, and made me forget about my life.

But now that I’m older and published and want writing to be my life, it’s harder to lose myself in it. I stress myself out, become too perfectionistic, and think about so much more than I should.

When you’re writing and creating, that needs to be your escape. It doesn’t need to be a job to you because you probably already have one of those. It needs to be fun, for the most part, and give you a break from stress.

For me, something that helps is not saying that I’m a writer, but saying that I enjoy writing. That way, it makes it less of a job and more of an enjoyment thing. I’m sure there are tons of other psychological hacks that help, but this is the easiest for me.

Write For Yourself

I’m putting this as the last tip because, if you take anything away from this post, THIS NEEDS TO BE IT.

It goes hand in hand with what I just mentioned, that writing needs to be fun for you and not a job. And the best way to do that is simply to write for yourself. Lose yourself in the creative part of your mind, not the stressed part that is constantly thinking about how a reader may perceive what you’re working on. Don’t think about getting it published, or whether or not this one subplot will piss readers off.

Just write.


And that’s that.

Unfortunately, most writers, even the published ones, don’t make nearly enough money. The average writer makes maybe $10k per year, so unless you’re married to some major earner, you need a solid income. You need a desk job, a side hustle. Or if you’re a stay-at-home spouse, you have to keep the house clean and make sure the kids/pets have everything they need which is a job in itself.

Life is overpowering and fast, and it’s so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. Because if you don’t, you’ll never get to write that story that’s been inhabiting your brain for so long.

Life is overpowering and fast, and it's so important that if you love to write, you make the time for it. Click To Tweet

So I hope that some of these tips help you out! They’re all easier said than done, I know, but hopefully, they provoke you just that much more to get writing.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for us people who love writing!

Thanks for reading 🙂

How to balance being a writer with your full-time life | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

When a Writer Should Abandon their Work in Progress

The vast majority of people say that a writer should never abandon their work in progress. They say to fight through the mental block, through the frustration, and just finish.

Half the time, I agree.

But the other half of the time, I do think that it’s okay for writers to sometimes abandon their current work. If it’s simply because you’re stuck, or lazy, then no. Don’t give up.

Sometimes, though, at least with me, sometimes a story and its writer don’t click. They don’t mesh well. And that’s when I think giving up isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Giving up writing as a whole? Don’t you dare. But giving up writing that one project? Maybe consider it.

If you’re not sure if you should give it up or not, here are some signs I think will guide you to your answer.


It Feels Like a Chore

If you’re a writer, you should generally enjoy writing. Not all the time, of course, as sometimes your passion will make you want to put your head through a wall. But, for about seventy percent of the time, you should enjoy writing your WIP.

And not only writing it but even thinking about it. If thinking up a plot twist or a character arc for the story doesn’t somewhat excite you, then maybe you and that story aren’t meant to be. It could be that the idea is too much and it stresses you out, or that you haven’t come up with something yet to excite you about the story.

But if you feel as if you’ve put in every bit of your mojo into that story and still it isn’t fun for you, it may be time to reconsider.

You Can’t See Your Characters

This is a huge one for me. I know that I’m truly clicking with my story when I can feel my character. When I can imagine them standing in front of me, and think about what they’re thinking about. It’s when they’re a person and not a character. It’s when your characters direct your writing more than you direct them.

As weird as that sounds.

You Don’t Think About It

If you’re stuck in traffic, or waiting at the doctor’s office, or mindlessly doing the dishes, what do you think about? For many writers, they think about their story. Not all the time of course because, you know, life…but still. Occasionally thinking about it when you’re not actively writing shows that you care about the story.

There’s a difference between a lack of inspiration, which I have a whole post about here, and your heart simply being done with a story. So tread lightly.

You’d Rather Think About Other Story Ideas

This is not me saying you can’t have a bunch of plot bunnies running around in your head. If I said that, then I’d basically be saying don’t be a writer.

What I mean by this, is that it’s more enjoyable to deeply think about a story other than your current one. If you’re writing two at a time, then disregard this. Obviously.

But when you don’t have fun thinking about your current WIP but do have fun thinking about another, maybe you should consider switching.


There’s No Clear Destination

With many stories I write, I have at least an inkling as to where it’s going. I may not know all the pitstops or the actual destination, but I have an idea. Like going on a road trip and knowing you want to end up in Washington, but not knowing which city you’ll end up in.

If you’re in the beginning stages of your novel and don’t know the end goal, that’s normal. But if you’re midway through and still have no idea where to take it, it may be time to cut your losses.

It Doesn’t Work

I know, I know…this sounds like a cop-out. But it’s true. At least it is for me.

I know myself and my writing habits, and I always start and scrap at least 2-3 stories in between ones I complete. It’s just how I am, and how I get rid of all the plot bunnies that accumulated during my time completing full novels.

And try as I might to finish these in-betweeners, they simply don’t work out.

This is why I made this post, to write out the feelings that I have when giving up a WIP and see if anyone else felt the same.

When I realize I’m subconsciously doing some of these things, it’s time for me to reevaluate why I’m writing my WIP. Which, in the end, may help me decide whether or not to move my concentration elsewhere.


The relationship between a story and its author is a fickle thing. It’s temperamental and frustrating and sometimes seems more bad than good. But there is a time to listen to it, and there’s a time not to.

Only you know if you should abandon what you’re working on. I can’t make that decision for you. But I do think there is a time when a writer should commit the “ultimate sin”, and abandon their story.

More often than not, a writer should never give up on their WIP. But, occasionally, it may just work out for the best.

Let me know in the comments what you think about this! Do you think I’m a piece of crap for telling people to give up, or do you agree with me? I’d love to know!

Essential Oils for Writers & Other Creatives

Disclaimer #1: I am NOT an essential oil guru. I know nothing about using oils to cure cancer or to put my kids asleep at night (especially because I don’t have kids). I love essential oils, I do, but that doesn’t make me an expert. 

Disclaimer #2: Some oils are not good for children or expecting mothers. The ones I know of are peppermint, rosemary, and clary sage. Basically half the list below (sorry!) So if you have any hesitancies toward using them for any reason, you may want to look deeper into it.

So. Here we are. Essential Oils.

They’re something you’ve most likely seen all over your Pinterest feed or tried to have been sold on from a girl you graduated high school with. Nowadays, they’re everywhere.

And I’m not mad at it.

Whether or not you believe in their super-magical claims, essential oils do serve a variety of good. Creativity and inspiration for writing (other tips on that here) are just a couple of those. And I’m here to explain the singular oils that help along, and then after give you some of my favorite blend examples.

Obviously, any essential oil could be said to help someone’s writing, as everyone has different needs for when they write. To keep this post from going into detail about every single oil possible, I’m only going to mention the ones that I’ve tried and think help me out.

Most of the links in this article are that of the affiliate variety, but please don’t let that lessen what you may take away from this. It charges you nothing extra. I’ve been using these oils/blends for longgg before starting this blog. Now, I’m just trying to make an extra penny with spreading the word about them since, you know, authors don’t make shit.

So yeah 🙂


Peppermint

I will rave about this oil ’til the day I die. I always buy the big bottle of this stuff, and make sure to keep it stocked. I’ve gotten everyone I know hooked on it, including my dad. It’s energizing, clarifying, and stimulates your mind in a way that makes you want to be productive with your writing.

As with any essential oil, there are multiple ways to use it. My favorite ways are sprinkling a few drops in my shower in the morning, as well as putting it in my diffuser with some of the other oils I’ll mention below.

Rosemary

This oil definitely isn’t as in your face as peppermint is. But while it’s more low-key, it’s still incredibly invigorating and helps boost mental energy and focus. It’s also capable of reducing tension, so if you’re feeling too stressed or under pressure to be your most creative, rosemary is an oil to consider.

Orange/Lemon/Grapefruit

Some people on Pinterest swear that the three of these have completely different side-effects. For me, though, they’re interchangeable. I usually choose one of the three based on what smell I’m craving (that sounds kinda weird, doesn’t it?).

Even so, these three fruity scents help uplift your mood and, mixed with other types of oils, can majorly aid in energy. Too much of a sweet scent can negatively impact your focus, though, so use them lightly.

Frankincense

Aside from being good at everything else, hence why this is dubbed as the king of all oils, frankincense has many mental benefits. It can calm your mind and your nerves, giving you plenty of free space in your head for creativity. There are also claims that it helps improve your memory and concentration, as well as giving you the clear mindset you need to write that bestseller of yours.

Clary Sage & Bergamot

The last of the oils I’ll mention are these two which, while completely different, do have the same sort of effect on the mind. These, like frankincense, have incredible mood benefits. They’re known to boost mental strength and confidence, as well as get all that mood-lowering gunk out of your head. Clary Sage is more of a hormone balancer, while Bergamot has more of a calm & uplifting sort of smell. But they’re both awesome.


The Best Blends

These are my favorites from the hundreds I’ve found and tested from Pinterest. You can use them in equal parts or one oil more than the other, whether that be through a diffuser or with a carrier oil in a roller ball. It’s all up to you and your preferences. So just know that these recipes are mere guidelines, and you can customize them however you like.

Smells are personal, you guys.

Peppermint + Orange or Lemon (my all-time fave)

Peppermint + Lemon + Rosemary

Frankincense + Orange + Lemon + Peppermint

Grapefruit + Rosemary + Peppermint

Lemon + Rosemary + Frankincense

Bergamot + Lemon + Orange

Basically, as you can probably tell, just throw together some of the ones I initially listed and see if it smells good and works for you. That’s the fun part of essential oils. You can feel like a scientist. They have premade blends you can always buy, but to me that’s not nearly as fun.

I truly believe they help me focus and boost my creativity, and even if they don’t, they still smell awesome.

So let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these or if you have any others you think I should’ve included! I’ve only recently gotten into essential oils this past year, so I still find it interesting to research.

Thanks for reading!

Using essential oils to boost creativity for writers and other creatives | a blog post at www.authorcjmiranda.com

Random Ways to Jump Start your Creativity

[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]We’ve all been there. You want to write, you need to write, and yet nothing will come to your head to write. It’s one of the most frustrating things.

But, as I mentioned in a previous post about developing your best writing process which you can find here, the best way to be a writer, is to write.

If you let your stubbornness win and succumb to the loss of creativity, then both you and your mind lose. Your creativity and your imagination are comparable to a muscle. If you don’t exercise them enough, you risk losing them.

Your creativity and your imagination are comparable to a muscle. If you don't exercise them enough, you risk losing them.Click To Tweet

And for people who have an undeniable urge to write like many writers do, the loss of them will send you into a serious funk.

So. How do you exercise something so intangible? How do you make a stronger, more proactive imagination? Here are some of my tips!

Note: These tips are geared toward writing, but can be applicable to other creative hobbies. Just tweak some details here and there 🙂

Read

For all you bookworms out there, you’re welcome. My favorite way to spark creativity is by reading someone else’s. The smallest details in books can spark the grandest ideas. You could read one bout of dialogue, and create a whole subplot worth of ideas simply from that.

Essential Oils/Candles

I’m not some essential oil guru, but I do love them and think they’re pretty freaking powerful. That’s why I have a whole post dedicated to my favorites here.

Think what you want about their health benefits, but I know, hands down, they can affect your mood. Hell, I have the attention span of a squirrel, and certain blends in my diffuser will have me concentrating for hours.

Same goes with candles. If you’re writing romance, maybe light something romantic. If you’re writing something happy, sniff some lemon or orange essential oils. There are soooo many things you can do with them.

You can find some of my favorite blends below, or simply follow my essential oil board on Pinterest here.

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Pinterest

I know I knowww, I mention this website in pretty much every post. I even have one whole post dedicated to it here. But, I can’t not mention it. It’s so helpful for so many different things, including jumpstarting inspiration & creativity.

You can look at pretty faces that may inspire characters, pictures of places for setting inspo. All sorts of stuff.

Talk to People

This may be a bit daunting, especially for writers who are a notoriously introverted bunch. But the story ideas you could get from your grandparents’ old memories, an aunt’s wild college night, or a friend’s old relationship, can’t be ignored.

Drink

First and foremost, this is not me telling young writers to drink alcohol to better their craft. So please don’t report this article 🙂

Some writers work better with a hot mug of coffee by their side, others with tea and others with a large glass of wine/whiskey/whatever. I usually write with coffee as it gets my gears turning (sometimes too quickly), but sometimes when I’m too focused on perfectionism or can’t get out of my head, I will turn to a large glass of wine.

It all depends on your mood, how you’re feeling, and what you need to accomplish. But these drinks can definitely help.

People Watch

Don’t be a creeper, please, but be a little more observant than normal. If you see someone talking on the phone, wonder what they’re talking about. If you see a couple fighting, try to imagine what stirred the argument. And take inspo simply from that.

Listen to Music

Some writers swear by this. Not me, unfortunately, as I need silence to write. But if you think it could help, make a playlist with songs reminiscent of what you’re writing. If you want to write something sad, try listening to slow ballads instead of upbeat stuff. It’s pretty obvious, but some people completely overlook trying something like this.

Free Write

Open a blank word document, and type “the” or “it” and see where your mind takes it from there. Don’t think too hard, don’t focus too much. Just let your imagination take over, and see what genius it may come up with.

Remember Old Favorites

Whether it be an old book or movie, maybe even a play you saw, remember why you loved it so much. What plot points excited you? What frustrated you? And take ideas and inspiration from that.

Look Into Psychology

This may just be the psych nerd in me, but I absolutely love doing this. Browse through personality theories like MBTI & Jungian. Research personality disorders, mental disorders, human bias’ and the unconscious mind. You don’t have to learn or study anything, but merely looking into why people are the way they are may strike something in you.


So that’s it from me! Obviously, there are a million and one ways to strike up inspiration, but these are some of my favorites that truly do help. So I hope you found something that may be of use to you 🙂

If you have any other little tricks to help boost your creativity, please leave them down in the comments! I’d love to learn more, and I’m sure other readers would as well.

Thanks for reading!


Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, which means I may make a certain percentage off of your click/purchase. This doesn’t cost you any extra. Don’t be mad; authors make barely any money 🙂

Some quick & random tricks to jump start your creativity | a blog post at authorcjmiranda.com

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