I frequently use my Word Box for my authorly duties, and I'm going to give you three reasons why you should too!
But before we get started, what's a Word Box? Well, simply put, it's a box of words. (You're welcome! I thought you'd appreciate that :P) More specifically, it's a helpful writing tool you create that contains a bunch of words you think might be cool to put in a story.
To create a Word Box, grab a box or container of your choosing. As you think of things that might be neat to incorporate in a story, write them down on small pieces of paper, and put them in your box. It's that easy! When you need a little inspiration idea-wise, shuffle the papers, close your eyes, and pick out 3 words. Don't cheat! Keep those eyes closed! The fun (and helpful) part of this exercise is that you don't know what words you'll pull from your box.
So, let's talk about 3 reasons why you should make and use a Word Box!
- Using it can help with writer's block. This is one of my go-to aids for helping with writer's block. Not only does it get me away from whatever I'm having difficulty writing, it provides me with fresh ideas to spark my imagination and get the words flowing. The point of using the Word Box to combat writer's block isn't to create something you'll sell or publish. It's an exercise to get words on a page, give your brain a break, and tackle your main project with fresh eyes and creativity once you're done. The stories I write are usually just for fun, but I do keep them, because you never know!
- Help expand your writing comfort zone. Because you didn't cheat and you kept your eyes closed, some of the combinations you pick from your box can be quite humorous or challenging. Thinking of a plot and characters that include all three topics you picked is a great exercise that can often take you outside of your normal writing comfort zone. It can force you to think of creative, entertaining concepts that fall outside your usual formula. For example, I just picked 2 different sets of 3 from my box. Group 1 is assassin, depression, and recluse. Group 2 is fortune teller, cave, and wolves. Already, my brain is churning away at ideas that I wouldn't have thought about on my own!
- Develop into a legitimate project. Sometimes, you pick 3 words from your box that can develop into your next book or series. Silevethiel was actually created from my Word Box. I was submitting The Lost Heir to publishers and wanted to write something else in the meantime, but I was barren on ideas. I picked out the words snow, lions, and elves. These words fueled my ideas for an entire series, and The Vaelinel Trilogy is now one of the favorites among my readers. I can 99% guarantee that I wouldn't have thought of this story without the aid of my Word Box!
Do you use a Word Box or something similar? How has it helped you? If you haven't used a word box, do you think you'll give it a try?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!