21 Mar


Posted in Creativity, DIY MFA, Process, Writing

You’ve heard me mention the ORACLE in the past, but today I thought I would give you a more detailed look at what the ORACLE really is. First things first; the ORACLE stands for:


I store my ORACLE in a treasure chest because every time I visit, I like thinking that I’m going to discover a little piece of treasure.  What’s inside this box of tricks?  I’ll show you:

These are just a few things that live in (or near) the ORACLE.  The box is so jam-packed with stuff that some things no longer fit in the ORACLE proper and have been moved to various annex locations.  There are also some additional items not show in the picture, including: mood playlists on my iPod, a deck of cards (for playing solitaire), and of course the Idea Bank.

Why do I keep bringing up this ORACLE idea?

Because the ORACLE will be central to the structure of DIY MFA 2.O.  Just like DIY MFA is about giving you the tools to build a satisfying and productive writing life, the ORACLE is about building a diverse skill set for generating ideas.  Sure, I could give you prompts or exercises from my own ORACLE, but at the end of April, where would that leave you?  Instead, I’d rather give you tools and tricks I’ve developed that will help you come up with your own infinite bank of ideas.  That way, you’ll always have somewhere to turn if your creative well goes temporarily dry.

But before get carried away, we need to talk about some ORACLE basics.  This week, in preparation for DIY MFA 2.O, I’ll be doing a post series on the ORACLE.  Posts will include:

  • 5 Principles for Generating Ideas
  • 4 Results You Can Expect from the ORACLE (and I’ll let you in on which one will be especially important to DIY MFA 2.O)
  • The DIY MFA 2.O Schedule

In the meantime, I want to hear from you.  I showed you what’s in my writing toolbox, now show me yours, ‘k?  What are some things in your writing toolbox that you simply cannot do without?


Comments on this post

  1. Julie Musil says:

    I love the DIY MFA! Awesome. I can't do without my copy of PLOT & STRUCTURE, by James Scott Bell. When I'm plotting, I read through the book again. It helps me create a pretty strong first draft!

    1. Lydia K says:

      My box is filled with flawed ideas. I write about them, fix them, fix them some more, keep fixing, and the next thing I know, I've learned a semester's worth of fiction writing.

      1. Kerryn Angell says:

        Sadly I don't have an ORACLE. Part of the reason is the restriction of physical posessions while I'm travelling. I could create a digital ORACLE but I really like physical things when I'm in the idea generation, or unsticking phases.

        I did pick up Julia Cameron's The Sound of Paper recently.

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