New ideas and research are on the menu today! We’ve discussed the nature of creativity and inspiration several times. Creativity, as a skill, grows with exposure to and participation in new experiences. Plentiful, thoughtful, and varied reading improves writing skill. What we offer here is a list of resource websites that cover a wide range of unusual material to encourage a little “new” inspiration.
Here’s the caveat. Not every site will appeal to every writer. Also, these sites are listed not for their factual/accurate reporting, Pulitzer-worthy articles, or edifying subject-matter. They’re included here as sources for creative inspiration. Plow through them, visit your favorites frequently, and harvest writing prompts like wheat! Shake those nuggets down and come away with the bounty, friends!
Please, suggest other sites you find inspiring, interesting, or powerful. Most sites in this list are not writing sites, but content-oriented sites meant to share interesting information (not always true, but intentionally entertaining).
Also, take time to read about the sites themselves. “About” pages are often under-used, but they’re a wealth of information. You may find those to have hidden gems of interest as well.
Go forth and be inspired!
“Soft” Fact (or non-fiction with appeal to the Internet masses):
http://www.atlasobscura.com/ – Atlas Obscura: These beautiful people have an excellent site here with a mantra of curiosity: “There is something NEW under the sun, every day, all over the world.” Visit them to read more!
http://www.howstuffworks.com/ – How Stuff Works: This one should be pretty familiar. If this is a new name to you, get to know it! How Stuff Works is far more than a practical resource. This site, and the long list of other “stuff websites” (Scroll to the far bottom of their page to see the full list), offer unique perspectives and creative explanations in a variety of fields. Get lost in here; it’s great stuff.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history – This Day in History: Specifically included for historical fiction writers, but of equal value to other genres, this page of History.com delivers a couple dozen headlines to research… for every day! It also comes as an app. Beware, though. All this good stuff can be highly distracting!
http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/ – Stuff You Should Know: You can find this one listed among the “stuff websites” at How Stuff Works. This particular division focuses on random bits of knowledge applicable to current events. We highly recommend the podcast too.
http://mentalfloss.com/ – Mental Floss: mental_floss is a magazine with an excellent website. In their own words, “mental_floss magazine is an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times.” They cover a wide range of topics with enough simplicity to appeal to most audiences.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ – Psychology Today: Not everyone may find psychology interesting, and some others may find this a bit too wide-appeal for a deep study, but this is an excellent jumping-off point for ideas and base-level research. Browse the “Topics” tab at the top to find articles of interest to you.
Dramatized “Fact” (Worth the read whether it’s true or not!):
http://www.ancient-origins.net/ – Ancient Origins: In their own words, “We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.” For fans of alternative history, myths, and legends, this site has a hoard of material for review.
http://www.cultofweird.com/ – Cult of Weird: Not everyone has a fascination with the morbid, but this site is a treasure trove of the strange and unusual. Their statement: “Cult of Weird is an online museum of the bizarre and your source for daily weird news and oddities.” Well said, folks, and good work!
http://notalwaysright.com/ – Not Always Right: “Funny & stupid customer stories that show the customer is NOT always right!” Anyone who has worked in retail will appreciate these, and those who haven’t endured this will have their eyes opened to some really inspiring behavior!
http://www.omgfacts.com/ – OMG Facts: This site, admittedly, follows the definition of clickbait. However, just because the material is packaged to catch the eye doesn’t mean it can’t teach you something. If anything, just asking how this type of entertainment works can give an interesting lesson in marketing.
Images stimulate creativity as powerfully as experience, in some cases. Since individual tastes vary, here are a few free sources of unique artwork in several styles. If you find these inspirational, look for the nearest galleries or museums to you and see some in real life.
http://www.eyestorm.com/Pages/EyeHome.aspx – contemporary art
http://www.wga.hu/ – classical art
http://www.art-3000.com/ – free gallery
http://www.pw.org/ – Poets and Writers: This resource page is a glorious thing! The magazine is wonderful too, though there are enough offerings on the website alone to keep you busy and directed for years! Inspiration-wide, check out the Tools for Writers tab. There are prompts here, but also invaluable resources no matter where you’re at in the writing process.
http://nanowrimo.org/ – National Novel Writing Month (and mini divisions): Not only is this a wonderful exercise in drafting huge word counts during the event months, NaNoWriMo is active through much of the year in groups, activities, and associated pages. Below are the mini divisions.
https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in (Camp during select months)
http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ (For younger writers)
http://www.writing.com/ – Writing.Com: This is a well-developed writing community in its self-contained site. While the format lends well to short-fiction writers and poets looking for critiques, peer reviews, and contests, the real inspiration gems can be found in the writing prompt generator and the contest prompts. It’s free to join and posting material is not required.
This are pages suggested by fellow writers for their inspirational quality. Please visit them and give us any feedback you have on what they have to offer by way of prompts, type of information, or content. This will allow others to more quickly find material applicable to them and their projects.
http://www.theparisreview.org/ – The Paris Review; and other magazines online and in print that publish
https://www.prosebox.net/ – Prosebox; online writing communities (like Writing.com too)
https://www.pinterest.com/ – Pinterest; I personally treat it like a library of too-read or keep for later articles
http://www.logicalspiritualism.com/Default.aspx – Logical Spiritualism; some articles and tips can sometimes spark ideas, even if all they do is point out what concerns are “selling” at a particular time
http://all-that-is-interesting.com/tag/now/ – All That Is Interesting; actually kind of excited about this one, as it appears to be powered by sincere curiosity and wide interests
http://www.faeriemag.com/ – Faerie Magazine; other specialty interest sites are good too (also helps to find out about intended audience and/or competition in the genre)
http://diymfa.com/ – DIY MFA; recommended especially for the “writer igniter” prompts, but sites like these are professional and powerful as tools, like Poets and Writers (specifically for writers)
Police Blotters; no real website for these, but they’re much like the Not Always Right experience stories. These belong to a category of source material that’s a little closer to primary, but not quite there.
http://www.writerswrite.com/ – Writers Write; inspiring in the community sense, really
http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/ – Overheard In New York; fun, spastic, and unique material from one of America’s most-storied cities.