Around this time last year, I was struggling with writer’s block. It’s the worst feeling when you really want to be able to put pen to paper but have no motivation or ideas to guide you. In an attempt to fight that and get back into writing, I thought I’d invest in a writing kit, something to prompt me into a new story or even just for me to mess around with.
At work, I stumbled across The Writer’s Toolbox and it seemed to be exactly what I was searching for! Boasting creative games and exercises and ways to get you from the first line to the last, I was intrigued. So, as writer’s block is a common occurrence, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this kit so you can see if it’s something that you’d find useful!
You can check out The Writer’s Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan for yourself here!
(this link is not an ad/affiliate).
- A booklet (full of advice, how to use the box and examples of what other’s have done with it)
- A 3 minute sand timer
- Three sets of sticks (First Sentence, Non Sequitur and Last Straw)
- A set of Sixth Sense cards
- Four spinners for the Protagonist Game
There are three games to play in this kit, each designed to work on a different aspect of writing.
The sticks are separated into three colours (green, blue and brown) to represent First Sentence, Non Sequitur and Last Straw respectively. You start by selecting an FS stick to get you started and writing about it for three to six minutes, just seeing where it takes you. Then you pick an NS stick which should be used to create a surprising transition or to move your writing in a new direction. This can create a sort of conflict in your writing. Use it to write for another three minutes then pick up another, repeating this process as much or as little as you like. When you’re looking to round your writing off, choose an LS stick which will help to create a dramatic arc and is a natural way to lead to a resolution.
Sixth Sense Cards:
Shuffle the deck and pick out three cards at random, placing them face down in front of you. Turn one card over and write for three minutes and then repeat the process for the other cards, trying to link them together.
Personally, I like choosing one card for each sense and trying to come up with something that links them all together – another one of the many ways to use these cards!
Spin each of the four spinners to come up with combinations of protagonists, goals, obstacles and actions. This is recommended for writers who struggle with plotting their stories.
I’ve been messing about with this box for a while now and can definitely see its benefits. I really like the variety of the exercises which give you the opportunity to focus on different areas of your writing if you struggle with something in particular. You can also use the resources in whatever way works best for you, using more or less cards or sticks than the booklet states to suit your needs. The booklet that comes with the kit is another really useful resource as, while it does contain how to’s for the exercises, there’s also some more general writing advice which is helpful. There are tips on finding your voice, finding inspiration for a story and how to keep your story going, defeating that all encompassing writer’s block.
There’s not much to dislike about this kit but I would note that not a lot of the prompts really fit with my writing style/preferred genre. Now, this probably won’t be a problem for a lot of users and is still fine for more general use but if you’re after something to practice writing a specific genre or to help you work on your own WIP then you might want to look elsewhere.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking out this kit if you’re someone who could do with a bit of help with writer’s block. It’s a wonderfully flexible box of tricks that you can use in any way that helps you.
Have you use this toolbox before? What did you think? Is it something that you want to try? I’d love to know!