leslie nikole
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leslie.nikole at icloud dot com


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sometimes it feels like i've been writing the same thing over and over again for months on end. this one story, which started off as a short spurt of ideas, has now grown into a monster, including scary tangents and wordy overgrowth that makes audrey II look like an actual average house-plant. for a while i would sit down and hack at it, churning out pages and pages by hand on lunch breaks and subway rides. but for what? where am i really with this story? what do i have to say for these pages upon pages of well...filler? 

it's been disappointing to say the least. 2015 wasn't exactly a good year for writing.

i feel like i spend a lot of time writing fluff, all these lines that fit together quite nicely as i'm writing them, but seem extremely over the top when i look back at it the next day. i've gone through so many spurts with starting written projects, getting people excited (or worse, involved), and not following through. some say i shouldn't beat myself up. a few remind me about that book i wrote once, a book i wish people would stop asking me about. every time i put ink to paper, the pressure i write with is of one to return to a confidence i once had in my writing. i want everything i write to be moving, inspiring, clever, and well thought out; it feels impossible most days. i've tried nanowrimo, various writing groups through different facilities and genres, but writing still feels like a gift i promised to deliver so very long ago.


but with the intention of trying and getting from behind the cash registers at the bookstore and onto the floor, i've stumbled upon a few great aids, notably bonnie neaubauer's the write-brain notebook.

let me tell you something about bonnie neaubauer, i picked up a copy of her first publication of the write-brain workbook (which i forgot on the f train a few years ago) when i was still in high school and fell in love with it. low and behold, ten years after it's publication, neaubauer was able to republish a second edition in full colour real workbook style that is suitable for all ages with her prompts. this book is literally amazing, it's full of colour and overflowing with fun ideas that come alive on the page as if to jump start your imagination. realizing how dark my writing has gotten in the past few months, this edition of the write-brain workbook has definitely woken up some happier and wackier ideas that have been suppressed by the idea that i can't write anything. if you miss those worksheets your teachers gave you in language arts class, pick up a copy of the write-brain workbook and explore your imagination without being in black and white.

newfound classics also include the series of prompts from the san fransisco writer's group, found in the original 642 things to write about and its sister, 712 more things to write about. these are popular, especially given that they offer anywhere from a quarter to a whole page to complete prompt exercises. more something more muted, but equally thought provoking, go for one of these two. on days where i felt like i've done nothing all day, it's easy to uncap a pen and flip open to a random page to at least try doing something creative for the day. mind you, neither of these editions are for children, but there is a 642 things to write about: young writer's edition. also, if you're starting a journaling project and don't know where to start, the 642 things to write about me edition is also super useful. the prompts are just as crazy and borderline questionable as the non-reflective edition, but they also can get a little intense very quickly, for example, "write about a good-bye that you didn't know was a last good-bye" is one of the prompts that's followed by "write about the morning you least wanted to get out of bed". see? proceed with caution.

last but definitely not least, the 642 tiny things to write about edition is perfect for everyone. about the same size as a pocket sized moleskine, this tinier and commuter friendly version of the prompt book is divided up in the same format with just a bit of room to jot down little ideas while you're on the go. i like to keep it in my bag just in case i get stuck somewhere and finish whatever book i'm reading at the moment. personally i'd suggest keeping a small notebook with it, some of the prompts are easy to get into and then you run out of space.

so, now that i've blabbed to death, what are your little creativity boosts you're trying out this year?

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