Explore inspiration and writing tips on our blog.

Inspiration

The Creative Seasons for Writers

Lisa Papademetriou

I like to think of each period of creativity as a season, and I try to concentrate on only doing the right work in the right season.

Read More
Inspiration

Writing Your Destiny

Lisa Papademetriou

What you believe about yourself and the choices you make every day that support that belief are connected. This is why the story you tell yourself is essential. What do you believe is your destiny? What choices are you making that support that belief?

Read More
Inspiration

Regular Practice Strengthens a Writer

Lisa Papademetriou

Over fifteen years as a professional writer, I can tell you that the most important measure is whether or not I’m making regular, meaningful progress on my work.

Read More
Inspiration

When you're lost in setting - make a map!

Lisa Papademetriou

This book is going to be hilarious, I thought. It’ll practically write itself! It did not write itself. After a few false starts, I realized that I needed the one thing that all good fantasy books have: a map.

Read More
Inspiration

Plot Goddess

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was earning my MFA, I doubled down on my investigations of plot structure. As I was studying Aristotle’s foundational Poetics, I realized that the concept of plot was really no different from fate.

Read More
Inspiration

Crux

Lisa Papademetriou

I’m currently facing a crux—the habits I’ve developed over the past two and half years aren’t working for me. I’ve been writing less, exercising less, staying home more (thanks, pandemic), and yet not cleaning or doing productive house stuff.

Read More
Inspiration

Writing Scenes of Meaningful Time

Lisa Papademetriou

Every story is made up of moments in which our characters’ thoughts or situations change. A new idea or reality comes into being as our character learns information or faces a situation that changes their emotional state.

Read More
Inspiration

(Re)vision

Lisa Papademetriou

The trick about revision is to truly attempt to see your work anew, to employ a new vision.

Read More
Inspiration

Off-book

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve seen many writers create twenty, fifty, or one hundred pages—or even more—and then stall out. This is usually because the writer hasn’t done the work necessary to explore the characters in their work.

Read More
Inspiration

Small Goals Are Equally Important For Writers

Lisa Papademetriou

Summer's here. Naturally, being a writer, I can’t possibly ponder time off or travel without heaping it high with ambitious writing-related goals, such as “finish my To-Be-Read list” and “write novel”. This is why I am forcing myself to think in terms of smaller goals.

Read More
Inspiration

Protecting Your Focused Writing Time

Lisa Papademetriou

Recently, I learned something interesting: there’s no such thing as multitasking. People believe in multitasking and, in fact, most people think that they’re very good at it. But the evidence shows that what looks like multitasking is actually rapid task-switching.

Read More
Inspiration

Tips for Burned Out Writers

Lisa Papademetriou

I'm tired. I don’t have time for a vacation, but I really need a break. So I’ve deiced that for a little while, I’m going MVP—Minimum Viable Progress.

Read More
Inspiration

Writing Evocative Settings

Lisa Papademetriou

Settings are places, but they’re places that the characters have a relationship with and an emotional response to.

Read More
Inspiration

Are You Stretching Yourself As A Writer?

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes, writing can feel overwhelming. Halfway through, we wonder, “Why did I ever begin this project?” It’s only at the end that we realize that we could do it, that we did do it, and that we’re stronger than we thought.

Read More
Inspiration

In Writing, Failure Is An Option

Lisa Papademetriou

If I write a terrible draft and can’t figure out how to fix it, it’s fine to let it go. It’s also fine to fix it or change it entirely. Writing without expectations frees me to experiment and take chances with my prose.

Read More
Inspiration

Getting to "The End" of your story

Lisa Papademetriou

The long slog through the first draft can be so discouraging that I wonder if the project will ever come together. But then, suddenly—and almost always surprisingly—it does.

Read More
Inspiration

Dreams and Archetypes

Lisa Papademetriou

When we create characters, we often draw on these elements to understand the complex people we’re crafting on the page. And we sometimes want to use these archetypes to set up (or subvert) reader expectations and assumptions.

Read More
Inspiration

Writer Friends

Lisa Papademetriou

If you're a writer, it's essential to have writer friends. Friends who understand the highs and lows of your career, the joys and frustrations of the writing process, and most importantly, the need for coffee. (And lots of it!)

Read More
Inspiration

Magpies

Lisa Papademetriou

As writers, we always bring ourselves to our writing. We're like magpies, collecting bits and pieces of our lives and weaving them into a story. Even my fiction is inspired by people, events, and places that are real to me. This is the essence of "writing what you know."

Read More
Inspiration

Relationship

Lisa Papademetriou

As writers, we often say that we love writing. But that doesn't make it easy to meet the page every day. Like all forms of love, a love of writing is complicated, and—sometimes—messy.

Read More
Inspiration

Listen

Lisa Papademetriou

Every one of us is perfectly alone, living a unique life that only we experience. But we also live in community with a planet full of voices.Writing is the act of trying to make sense of these voices and to find meaning in their stories.

Read More
Inspiration

The World Around Us

Lisa Papademetriou

The art of writing depends on careful observation, not only of places, people, and objects, but of how things are like other things. Weather included. Whether someone’s eyes are stormy or the drizzle makes us feel gloomy or the cloud is lonely, the link between human emotions and weather is often fe

Read More
Inspiration

Meaning

Lisa Papademetriou

As we think about characters’ emotional journeys, we see that events can lead to personal change. This is why writing is so powerful—in choosing these events, we pull back the layers on the ways that human beings interact, grow, decay, and influence each other.

Read More
Inspiration

Get Busy

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the hardest moments of my day comes right before I begin working. That’s the moment that my mind starts scrambling for something, anything else to do.

Read More
Inspiration

Worlds Within

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s winter where I live in New England, and the snow has settled over the landscape in an icy patchwork. For those of us with similar weather, this is the season in which we naturally settle down and get cozy.

Read More
Inspiration

Brilliance

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s hard to believe that we’re already firmly into 2022. For me, the past two years have passed as if they were a dream. 

Read More
Inspiration

Purpose

Lisa Papademetriou

2021 is almost over, and many of us are ready for a fresh start. Life in a pandemic can feel like a grind and has left many of us (myself included) feeling unmoored from so-called “normal” existence.

Read More
Inspiration

Self Care

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was a kid growing up in Texas, I attended a summer camp for horseback riding. My horse was named Diablo, and he had a mind of his own. In fact, he had a taste for the scrubby shrubs that grew all around the camp, and would sometimes wander off the trail for a snack.

Read More
Inspiration

Little By Little

Lisa Papademetriou

The first summer during the pandemic I decided to take on a low-stakes self-improvement project. I signed up for Duolingo and started learning French.

Read More
Inspiration

SPIRIT Goals

Lisa Papademetriou

Most people who are interested in productivity have heard of SMART goals. This acronym outlines a framework to help people ensure that their goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Read More
Craft

Dynamic Characters

Lisa Papademetriou

This post covers Guiding Beliefs, Character Arcs, Backstory, Passions, Flaws, External Wants, and Internal Wants.

Read More
Craft

Stakes

Lisa Papademetriou

I recently went to see Eternals. This latest Marvel installment stars Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani (among others) and was directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao.With top-tier talent and a budget of 200 million dollars, Eternals managed to be something truly amazing: boring.

Read More
Inspiration

Burn On

Lisa Papademetriou

As writers, we’re often concerned with the quality of our writing. We explore craft and read great books and consider how they’re made, and how we can incorporate those ideas into our own work. That’s good.

Read More
Inspiration

Memories

Lisa Papademetriou

There’s something about fall that always makes me feel nostalgic. November marks the beginning of the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is tied up with memories both of past celebrations but also of all that the past year has given us. 

Read More
Inspiration

Diving In

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s November, which you may or may not know is National Novel Writing Month. Every year, thousands of people sign up to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Read More
Inspiration

Waiting

Lisa Papademetriou

My birthday is at the end of August, and I had big plans: I was going on a hot air balloon ride. I’m not a big “bucket list” person, and this is really the only thing I’ve always wanted to do.

Read More
Help Tips

How To Outline A Novel

Lisa Papademetriou

This page explains why Bookflow is designed to show you how to write an outline, when to use an outline, and our Big Picture Philosophy of storytelling that’s based on beliefs about storytelling held by E.M. Forster, Aristotle, and Shakespeare.

Read More
Help Tips

How To Write A Scene Description

Lisa Papademetriou

Plus scene description examples. A large part of writing a good scene-by-scene outline lies in understanding what makes a scene

Read More
Inspiration

Habit Stacking

Lisa Papademetriou

This is one of the most common questions I hear when I speak to people about writing. The fact is that I often get inspired by starting to write. Like Octavia Butler, I don’t wait for inspiration to come to me and, frankly, that means that it doesn’t matter if it shows up or not.

Read More
Inspiration

Fill The Well

Lisa Papademetriou

This week, I felt like I just couldn’t bear to write this newsletter. I’m all out of ideas, I thought. I’m a creative raisin—all dried up. I felt as if I had nothing to say, and I wasn’t sure anyone would want to hear it, anyway. This is not a mindset that inspires writing, let me tell you.

Read More
Inspiration

Habit

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common questions I get from people who want to devote more time to writing is, “How do you fit it into your day?” These people are juggling work and/or family along with volunteer commitments and a million other things.

Read More
Inspiration

The Joy of Work

Lisa Papademetriou

You may not realize this, but the very first Labor Day Parade was not a national holiday—it was a strike. In 1882, many American workers were toiling for twelve hours a day, seven days a week in physically demanding, often unsafe conditions.

Read More
Inspiration

(Extra)Ordinary Life

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve often heard writers lament that they wish they had “more interesting” lives so that they would have more material to write about. It isn’t always easy to control the breadth of our life’s experience, but we can control the depth.

Read More
Inspiration

Writing Ourselves

Lisa Papademetriou

I never know what the theme of my novel will be before I write it. Oh, I usually have an idea of the thoughts I want to explore.

Read More
Inspiration

Patience

Lisa Papademetriou

I’m taking a sketching class. Why? Well, the truth is that a few nights ago I stayed up a bit too long looking at Facebook and I fell victim to online advertising. 

Read More
Inspiration

Productivity

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I attend a talk by a prominent writer, someone always stands up during the question and answer to ask about their artistic process. It’s always interesting to hear how writers spend their day and what makes them productive.

Read More
Inspiration

Scribbling

Lisa Papademetriou

I remember my husband’s confused reaction when I told him that I wanted to get a Master’s degree in writing.

Read More
Inspiration

Focus

Lisa Papademetriou

It strikes like clockwork—whenever I’m deep into the first draft of a novel or inconceivably busy with Bookflow, the Muse will start rapid-fire dropping new ideas into my ear.

Read More
Inspiration

Warmup

Lisa Papademetriou

My senior year English teacher was one of those amazing people who manages to change lives with the power of her passion for a subject. She loved reading poems, books, and stories, but most of all, she loved writing.

Read More
Inspiration

Order

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was a kid, I loved reading Peanuts cartoons. There was a whole series about Snoopy as he tried to write a novel. He sat atop his red doghouse with a typewriter and bangs out: Book One Part One Chapter One Page One. “What a great start!” he tells himself.

Read More
Inspiration

Rest

Lisa Papademetriou

For the past two months, I’ve been deep in the harvest season of my writing. I’m working on a new novel, due to come out in early summer 2022, and after all of the planning and brainstorming and outlining, it finally came time to write the thing.

Read More
Inspiration

Beating Block

Lisa Papademetriou

People often ask me how to move past writer’s block. Well, I have some news! There’s only one way to get over it—you have to write.

Read More
Inspiration

Prioritizing

Lisa Papademetriou

This week, I heard from a dear friend who gave me an update on her life. The subject line of her Email was “your burners are in my morning essay”, which was a callback to a conversation we’d had several years ago in which, I developed Burner Theory.

Read More
Inspiration

Spuddling

Lisa Papademetriou

In my novel The Dreamway, there’s a character named Spuddle. That’s actually an old, obscure word that means to make a fuss over something small or to work inefficiently.

Read More
Inspiration

Creative Destiny

Lisa Papademetriou

When we accept and own ourselves as creative people, we are accepting incredible power. We have the power to create worlds and shape minds. And this begins with the stories we tell ourselves.

Read More
Inspiration

Good Omens

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes, when we are writing, a good omen will appear. This is just further evidence that the Muses are watching, waiting, and secretly whispering their blessings over our work.

Read More
Inspiration

Intention

Lisa Papademetriou

As you probably know by now, one of the main reasons I created Bookflow is to help writers see into their plots more easily. I just love teasing out plots and figuring out the exact right events/series of events that will help our characters become the person they were meant to be.

Read More
Inspiration

Name Your Fear

Lisa Papademetriou

 The other day, I saw a social media post suggesting that writers name the little critical voice that lives at the back of their mind, the one who constantly has negative feedback and discouraging things to say.

Read More
Inspiration

Artistic Mess

Lisa Papademetriou

Last weekend, I gave a presentation on how to use Marie Kondo’s organizing method (based on her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) to approach the creative process.

Read More
Inspiration

Friends And Amare

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was earning my MFA, I chose a low-residency program because the model made perfect sense to me: Stay on campus for ten days at “writer camp”, then come home and do the work. Unless you are working with a co-writer, writing is something that can really only be accomplished alone.

Read More
Inspiration

Word Power

Lisa Papademetriou

I created Bookflow because I believe that the creative life is truly a life in which you are the crafting destinies. Not only the destinies of our characters but our own destiny. We all know that words are powerful.

Read More
Inspiration

Frustration

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I start a new writing assignment, I’m always over-optimistic about how long it will take to complete. This will practically write itself, I think. It’s simple! I have all of the ideas already!

Read More
Inspiration

Body Parts

Lisa Papademetriou

Writers are often advised that good writing involves showing, not telling. But it can be a struggle to convey complex emotions in ways that feel clear and comprehensible.

Read More
Inspiration

Unique Gifts

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes I read a book—or even just a sentence—so lovely that it makes me burn with envy. I want that! I’ll think. I want that beautiful sentence to be mine, to come from my brain! Then I’ll frown at my own sentences, suddenly unhappy with them.

Read More
Craft

Plot Structure

Lisa Papademetriou

The most common questions I get from writers are about Plot Structure: What is plot structure? Is the plot structure of a comedy different from the plot structure of a tragedy? Do I really need to create a structure for my story?

Read More
Inspiration

Step By Step

Lisa Papademetriou

Every writer I know has had this experience: you meet someone, and they inform you that they have a “great idea for a book” which they are willing to tell you if you agree to write the book and split the money with them. It’s terribly awkward when you have to tell them no.

Read More
Inspiration

Need To Write

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common questions I get from people who want to devote more time to writing is, “How do you fit it into your day?” These people are juggling work and/or family along with volunteer commitments and a million other things.

Read More
Inspiration

Poetry

Lisa Papademetriou

This Sunday is World Poetry Day. Even if you don’t consider yourself a poet, poetic language, imagery, and a sense of poetic rhythm are essential tools for any writer. Mary Oliver writes, “A poem on the page speaks to the listening mind.”

Read More
Inspiration

Creative Recharge

Lisa Papademetriou

I used to have a boss who took a fifteen-minute nap every day after lunch. She had a flat square pillow that she would place on her desk. Then she would place her head on the pillow and fall asleep for about fifteen minutes.

Read More
Inspiration

Your Ideal Writing Time

Lisa Papademetriou

My husband and I live on different schedules. I like to wake up bright and early, before the rest of the family, to read, write, and drink coffee. Those quiet hours are a treasure for me, and when I oversleep and have to jump directly into my responsibilities, I feel off for the rest of the day.

Read More
Inspiration

The Bridge

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was forty, I went back to school for a master’s degree in creative writing. I was already well-published and had a background as an editor for major houses, and many of the younger writers in the program seemed baffled by my presence.

Read More
Inspiration

Willpower

Lisa Papademetriou

Everyone procrastinates sometimes. Even though writing is one of my greatest joys, sometimes I resist doing it.

Read More
Inspiration

Love And Courage

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s amazing how much of writing is driven by love. Character motivations, relationships, desires, decisions—when you understand what your character loves, you understand what they will do and why they will do it, which is the core of storytelling.

Read More
Inspiration

Creating Yourself

Lisa Papademetriou

Fiction is the art of showing related events that result in a character’s transformation. We are the result of our choices and our actions; that’s the lesson learned over and over both in fiction and memoir. As Heraclitus famously said, “Character is destiny.”

Read More
Inspiration

Discipline

Lisa Papademetriou

Discipline is the un-sexiest tool in the muse’s box. Talent? Everyone wants that. Brilliance? Of course! Luck? Sign me up. But discipline? Ew. Sounds boring. And painful.

Read More
Inspiration

Your Desire Line

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the main forces behind any plot is a character’s desire. When a character wants something, he/she/they will make decisions and take actions that revolve around getting that thing. We call this the character’s desire line.

Read More
Inspiration

Mental Clutter

Lisa Papademetriou

Many of the artists I know are messy. As a group, we tend to be magpies, picking up stories, memories, moments, and notable observations of all kinds and storing them away like shiny objects.

Read More
Inspiration

🌤Unleash Your New Ideas

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s the beginning of the new year, and many of us are scratching around for new ideas or digging deeper into ones we’ve already begun. When you’re writing a first draft or any piece of exploratory writing, there are two things to watch out for: the Critic and the Censor.

Read More
Inspiration

How Tiny Improvements Yield Big Results & Free Writing Challenge 🖋

Lisa Papademetriou

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear makes the argument that tiny improvements can yield big results. He offers the example of the 2003 British Cycling team.

Read More
Inspiration

Why Outline ➕ A Special Workshop Offer! 💥

Lisa Papademetriou

I outline every book. Sometimes I write the outline before tackling the first draft. Sometimes I write the outline before tackling the revision. Sometimes I do both.

Read More
Inspiration

Renew Your Creativity In 2021 ❄️

Lisa Papademetriou

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of Flow, a book about the creative mental state in which we are fully absorbed in our task to the point of losing all sense of time.

Read More
Inspiration

Do You Write With Passion Daily? 💕

Lisa Papademetriou

Meraki is a Greek word meaning to do something with great attention and pleasure—a sense of joyful passion. It can be applied to artistic activities, like writing or painting, but it can also refer to everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, or even making a cup of coffee.

Read More
Help Tips

How To Develop Your Plot: Six Writing Prompts To Help You Figure Out What Happens Next

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common complaints I hear from writers who want to write a novel is, “I need help with my plot! I don’t know what should happen next!” Often when writers struggle with how to plot a novel or story, it’s because we are overlooking hints and clues in our own work.

Read More
Inspiration

Remember Your Wonderful Things 🦃

Lisa Papademetriou

The other day, a friend posted that this year is not the year to expect wonderful things. It is a year to appreciate the things in your life that are wonderful. Many of us are struggling with the realities of this year.

Read More
Inspiration

You Are Not Alone 💕

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Really. I wonder why I sit down and labor over a novel or a newsletter, and I ask myself, “What difference does it make? Does anyone care?” It’s at these moments that I have to remind myself that of course someone cares.

Read More
Inspiration

How To Write Your Own Destiny

Lisa Papademetriou

When you’re telling a story, it’s vital that you keep a sense of your ending in your mind. You don’t need to know the exact ending before you write it, but you should have a sense of how it will feel to the reader. Happy? Sad? Mixed?

Read More
Inspiration

Celebrating National Novel Writing Month

Lisa Papademetriou

Every November, my social media feeds are overrun by people participating in National Novel Writing Month. It was founded to promote an internet-based challenge to write a full novel during the month of November. Many people love it, but I have my reservations about the challenge.

Read More
Inspiration

Into The Storm

Lisa Papademetriou

The trouble with motivation is that it is a desire to do or accomplish something and it’s very hard to make ourselves want to do something that isn’t intrinsically immediately fun. It is VERY easy for me to find motivation to eat chocolate.

Read More
Inspiration

Is This Your Second Spring?

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s mid-October, and my part of the world is on fire with red, orange, and yellow leaves. As I always say to my neighbors at this time of year, “October is the reason we live in New England.” The air is crisp and every leaf is a spark of light.

Read More
Inspiration

The Mindfulness Of Scenes

Lisa Papademetriou

Many people have asked me why I divided Bookflow into scenes instead of into chapters. That’s a great question. As readers, we notice the breaks in chapters, not scenes. That’s where we like to place our bookmarks. So why should a writer think in scenes?

Read More
Inspiration

The Joy Of The Struggle

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I speak to kids about being a writer, one of them will invariably ask, “What do you like about writing?” Once, I shocked some poor kid by replying, “What makes you think I like it?” The fact is that I don’t like writing; I love writing.

Read More
Inspiration

Why You Should Write Every Day (But Only For Two Minutes!)

Lisa Papademetriou

Have you ever said to yourself—today is going to be a great writing day and then sat down to capture your thoughts only to discover that those transcendent ideas have slithered away like minnows through your eight-year-old fingers?

Read More
Inspiration

What Are You Saying Yes To?

Lisa Papademetriou

I read a book called Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. It is, as the title suggests, a nonfiction book about the importance of focussing only on what is most essential in life. McKeown reminds us that the way we spend our time is usually a choice and that every choice is a tradeoff.

Read More
Inspiration

Did you forget to make a plan?

Lisa Papademetriou

What’s your big-picture writing goal? If you’re hoping to finish a project and/or get it published, do you have a plan to make that happen?

Read More
Inspiration

Why You Should Never Trust The Process

Lisa Papademetriou

I know a number of writers who own a tote bag and/or coffee mug that says “Trust the Process” on it. I’ve always taken this to mean that the artistic process can be circuitous and messy, but if you trust and believe in it, you will ultimately find your way through your project.

Read More
Inspiration

The Best Way To Bust Through Your Creative Block

Lisa Papademetriou

A while back, one of the writers on our private Facebook group mentioned that she was feeling guilty for not writing as much as she felt she should. I know that feeling well. The worst part of that feeling is that it does not make you want to write.

Read More
Inspiration

Six Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Writing Time

Lisa Papademetriou

Based on questions I get at cocktail parties, much of the non-writing world seems to imagine that the writer’s life involves sitting under a tree with a notebook and quill pen waiting for inspiration to strike.

Read More
Inspiration

What's The Real Reason You Write?

Lisa Papademetriou

When I tell people I’m a writer, they often reply, “How exciting!” That always makes me smile, because—as anyone who has done it knows—writing is anything but exciting. True, having a book published is exciting.

Read More
Inspiration

How Are You Celebrating National Book Lovers Day?

Lisa Papademetriou

If you want to become a better writer, there are really only three things you need to do: write a lot, revise a lot, and read a lot. I’ve written before about how important it is to produce a lot of material. The first step to quality is quantity.

Read More
Inspiration

Why You Absolutely Need Writers In Your Life

Lisa Papademetriou

Once, when I was in my early twenties, I went to a party and met a guy who worked for an Eye Bank. I was surprised and impressed to meet this young doctor who clearly performed transplants for people, and was even more shocked to learn that nearly everyone at the party worked for an Eye Bank.

Read More