Writing Life: Creating a Book Cover

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.It’s the eleventh of November. And that means we’re almost halfway through NaNoWriMoNo, you didn’t read that word wrong and it’s not Pig Latin.

For millions of writers each year, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo., a free program for creatives everywhere. And for these intrepid wordsmiths, instead of spending the month planning for Thanksgiving Dinner and Black Friday shopping, they’re racing toward the 50,000-word finish line.

That’s right: NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete an entire novel (50,000 words or more) in the 30 days of November. Not an easy feat.

To keep ourselves motivated, we writers use lots of tricks, like word sprints, write-ins, pep talks, and more. Falling under the “more” category is to use visual motivation to generate creativity.

What does “visual motivation” mean for NaNoWriMo? It could be a word count checklist, a map to the finish line, pictures of characters or settings, or even a working book cover.

You might be wondering how a book cover can help motivate you to keep writing through dry spells and busy days. For me, seeing the cover of my work in progress helps make my book real. It pushes me to write, to fill the pages between the covers because I want to hold it in hands, flip through, and revisit my characters and their (usually wacky) lives.

There are many talented artists who offer their creative services to writers. These phenomenal peeps can make your vision of a cover a reality. But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, like me, I’ve got a fast, easy, and free way to create your own NaNo book cover.


Click here to read my post from last year that walks you through the process step by easy step.

If you’re already doing NaNoWriMo, send me a buddy request! And if you haven’t started, don’t worry — it’s not too late. Every year, hundreds of writers manage to fit 50,000 words into the last few weeks of November.

And even if you don’t hit 50,000, the number isn’t what matters anyway. The idea is to get started writing and write every day. So even if you hit 50, 500, or 5000, that’s more than you had when you started.

Did you try making a cover using my tutorial? Let me know how it went in the comments!




It Takes a Village: Call for Help with Creative Writing Resources


I’ve started compiling a list of creative writing resources, and I’d love your help in making it grow. You can see the list I’ve started by clicking here or looking at the page-to-date I’ve copied below.

It’s not hard to see I’ve got a long way to go!

If you have a favorite creative writing resource, let me know by contacting me or commenting on this post!

Creative Writing Resources

Hey creative writer! Looking for resources to help you squeeze the most from your creativity? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the top resources I’ve found to help you start (and stick with!) writing. Be sure to check back frequently as the list is growing every week!

Resources from Kaecey

Other Resources

  • Writer’s Digest University: Choose from hundreds of asynchronous, online writing workshops on a variety of topics!
  • The Creative Penn: Tons of advice and help on writing, publishing, and marketing your work — plus help on adopting an “author’s mindset.” Be sure to check out the podcast — super inspiring and helpful!
  • Save the Cat tools: If you haven’t read the book, read it. Then navigate to this site to download helpful tools!

via Creative Writing Resources

Writing Prompt: What to Write When Nothing Comes

Maybe you’ve been lucky and never drawn a blank when sitting down to write. But if bored_by_publicdomainpictures-netyou’re like me, you’ve sat. And sat. And looked up prompts. And doodled. And refreshed your coffee. Or tea. Or water. Or whiskey. You’ve told yourself, “Go!” then stared numbly at the screen. So you surfed the net, checked and deleted email. Answered the phone. Did the dishes. Dreamed up fanciful and creative menus for your family that you’ll never make. And decided to go to bed early (or late).

And promised yourself that tomorrow you’ll be able to get something down. trick_by_publicdomainreview.org

If this is sounding a little too familiar, I have a trick that helps when you find yourself thinking, “I have nothing to write about.” I’m going to describe it as it relates to poetry, but it could be used with any genre. I have found that when I’m stuck with nothing for my fiction, writing poetry can help shake things loose.

Okay, ready for the trick? Here it is:

Write the opposite.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “What? This gal has really lost it. Write the opposite of what?!

Let me explain…

Take a poem – any poem. It can be one you’ve written, it can be a classic, it can be one you love, or one you hate. Go through it line by line and write the opposite of whatever the sentiment is in that line.

Here’s an example using Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken:”


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both ….

To write the opposite, I could do something like this:

In the purpled woods, two roads collided 

and glad was I to find the path so clear ….

That is an off-the-cuff example that could use (a lot) of work. Regardless, it demonstrates what I mean. At least I hope it does!

To complete the exercise, I would go through every line. If all of sudden in the middle of this task something sparks and I’m inspired, I might drop the exercise and run with my new idea. If not, I’d keep at it, line by line. Then revise and make changes, look for better words and better imagery.

And at the end of the day, I’ll have a poem. At the very least, I’ll have made good use of the day and worked my creative muscles. Writing the opposite it harder than it sounds. It forces you to be creative, look for ways to describe emotions, places, and people. And it can result in some phenomenal poetry!

Don’t believe me? Give it a try! And let me know what you think.

I’m curious – what do you do when the muse is silent? I’d love to hear other tips and tricks! 

Writing Prompt: An Exercise in Perspective

public-domain-dragonOne of the best things about being writers is that we get to play with reality. When we craft fiction, poetry, and even creative nonfiction, we can bend and twist the boundaries of our identity, the identities of our speakers and characters, and even the world around us.

Of course, there are varying degrees of reality contorting. One could tell the first-person account of the life of a three-winged dragon in the fictional land of Ingatek, or one could write a poem that relays a factual account of an observation but simply tell it from the perspective of a different person.

“Playing” like this can be fun, exciting, and it works the creative muscle in our writers’ brains that makes us stronger writers. Even hardcore nonfiction writers can benefit from the cross training taking on different perspectives provides. Being able to see the world and events from another’s point of view forces us to notice different details, make different interpretations of events and relationships, and possibly reconsider our own place in the scheme of things.

So today I offer a simple writing exercise in perspective. Use it as a quick warm-up for the day’s writing, or take it and run with it as far as your imagination (and time) will allow.public-domain-child

Exercise:Consider a locale you frequently visit – it could be the library, a bar or restaurant, a park, or even a neighbor’s house. Create a list of at least twenty-five descriptive words associated with that particular place. Write fast and try to complete your list in 3 minutes or less. Using your list, write a short story or poem about being in the place from the perspective of a young child. Keep in mind appropriate vocabulary, how children relate to adults and other children, how a child’s breadth of experience (or lack thereof) might impact what/how he or she experiences in the same place as adult. And have fun with it! You never know where a writing exercise might lead…

Do you often write from different perspectives? Is there a specific process you use when “getting into character” that helps your writing feel more authentic? I’d love to hear about your method in the comments! And if you try the writing exercise, let me know how it goes!