IWSG: The Writer’s Pensieve for Pensive Writers

InsecureWritersSupportGroupToday’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s a way for insecure writers like myself give each other advice and encouragement. Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

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Michelle Joelle, author of the blog Soliloquies, recently wrote a post about what’s in her pensieve. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Harry Potter, a pensieve is a large cauldron in which you can deposit thoughts, ideas, or memories, which then take on the appearance of a weird, sparkling liquid. Dip your head in this liquid, and it will let you relive the past and help you sort through your thoughts.

So today, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve put into my pensieve.

  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage: I recently completed this lecture series from the Great Courses on how the English language actually works (as opposed to the blackboard grammar we were forced to learn in school). I’ve purchased several lecture series from the Great Courses before to help with my research, but this one was by far the most useful. It opened my eyes to how beautiful English is despite its purported faults.
  • Kerbal Space Program: I write science fiction. That means I need to know something about space travel, and the educational video game Kerbal Space Program is teaching me everything I need to know. So far, I’ve learned how to design a basic rocket and achieve orbit. Next, I’m heading for the Moon. Each lesson the Kerbals teach me goes straight into my pensieve to help shape my next Sci-Fi story.
  • Royalty Free Music: The point of royalty free music is to allow people to include it in their audio/video projects without having to worry about paying royalties to the original musicians. I listen to it because it’s created to evoke specific moods, so it makes the perfect soundtrack for writing time. I’m particularly fond of Kevin MacLeod (and I couldn’t help but notice some of his work is in Kerbal Space Program!)

A few other random things have fallen into my pensieve as well: an adorable, plush piglet, a certain friend’s wedding, the Thesaurus Rex app I just downloaded on my phone… The next time I immerse my head in that cauldron of sparkly liquids, I look forward to seeing what story might have blended together from all this stuff.

So what do you have in your pensieve right now?

11 thoughts on “IWSG: The Writer’s Pensieve for Pensive Writers

  1. I’d like to spend a day with your pensieve. I’d learn a ton! Mine is full of memories of my crazy days following the Grateful Dead around and walking across Europe, among other things. I recently read a Grateful Dead Tour memoir, so it got me dipping into that pensieve file again. Fun!


    1. If I may, you might be interested in Roget’s Thesaurus (not the one in dictionary form). It doesn’t organize words by synonyms but by concept, so if you look up a word like fire it will give you flames, burning, smoke, hell, and a whole bunch of other concepts associated with fire.

      It’s by no means complete, and I wouldn’t throw out your lists, but I’ve found it to be a super helpful tool because I have that sieve-like memory too.

      Here’s a link if you’re interested.


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