Online Writing Resources

Recently a few of us met and were discussing writing tools–or toys, in some cases. We played a few storytelling games–Nanofictionary and Story Cubes–to get things flowing and talked about how useful these sorts of games can be for creating a low-pressure opportunity for a writer to break out of their comfort zone and practice writing outside the box. I thought I’d make a space here to share a few other storytelling tools I’ve used in the past.

If coming up with ideas is where you struggle, The Time Is Now offers weekly writing prompts in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. You can scroll through old prompts or sign up for the newsletter to get a weekly dose of inspiration delivered straight to your inbox from Poets & Writers Magazine. This newsletter saved my butt in college when I struggled to come up with ideas for graded creative writing assignments.

Write or Die is a very cool app that tracks your writing speed and punishes you for not keeping up with the pace you’ve set, either with alarming images and sounds or by steadily backspacing your work if you stop typing for too long. You can customize the punishments or switch to reward mode if negative reinforcement isn’t your thing. It’s . . . possibly a little too cool for me; I didn’t use it beyond the free trial, but that’s mainly because I discovered the next item around the same time:

Written? Kitten! is a very basic text box that rewards you every 100 words with a new picture of an adorable kitten! You can customize the image searches, in case kittens aren’t your thing, as well as the word goal. I’ve used it off and on for years to break out of writing slumps or just increase my pace without a lot of . Most recently I used it to complete this group’s first story challenge!

What are some of your favorite writing toys? Add them in the comments!

(And does anyone play 4thewords? I’m dying to try it out when I’m done devoting my evenings to figuring out Scrivener.)


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