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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jump-Starting Your Creativity Engine

     From time to time, I'll share pieces that I've published in writers' magazines for my blog.  I wrote this article for the writers' magazine The Creativity Connection back in January 2001.

                    Five Easy Ways to Jump-Start Your Creativity Engine

Sometimes I’m not sure what to do with all the half-written thoughts and fragmented phrases scribbled in my journal.    

You can call it writer’s block.  To me, it’s more like I my engine has stalled.  Because this happens to me more than I care to admit, I have found five tricks to help get me back on the writing track. 

1.      Take a walk.  Walking helps me think.  Besides, it’s a great way to get exercise and take a break from sitting in front of the computer.  While I walk I might think about a word or phrase that I have written.  I quiet my internal editor, and then I allow free thought to take over.  Or, if I don’t want to think so much, I might make observations as I walk.  Seeing and hearing things along the way may help me find just the right words to finish a poem or an article.

2.      Take classes.  I like to take workshops offered at our literacy center.  Not only have I have met other writers, I’ve also had instructors help me find direction for my ideas.  Similarly, taking online classes may be worthwhile, although I haven’t tried these yet.

3.      Re-write a story.  For instance, changing the point of view can liven up a story.  Sometimes, I like to switch from third person to first to give the story an up-close personal feeling.  Changing from past to present tense is another way to re-shape your piece. 

4.      Study writer’s magazines.  I like to read Writer’s Digest and The Writer magazine, to name a few.  I save informative articles and pull them out whenever I need help.     

5.      Read a favorite novel, some short stories, or poems.  I like to analyze why I like them.  Sometimes, I practice mimicking the technique, which helps me re-invent or strengthen my style.
   
Out of the five, going on a walk is the easiest and least expensive.  Walking can help bring focus to creative ideas.  Likewise reading, whether it’s for enjoyment or education, is a great way to help channel your ideas.  Moreover, taking classes can give birth to new ideas or give direction to your work.  Although classes involve a little more effort (and money), the payoffs are worth it.  Re-writing stories and studying magazines is a little like doing homework, but the results may just spark ideas to explore and to write about.
    
These five ideas work for me, but the bottom line is to discover what works for you.  What can you do to jump-start your creativity engine? 


1 comment:

  1. I'm struggling with this in a very major way right now. Thank you for the suggestions. My mentor also recommended the walk, or just sitting somewhere beautiful (indoors or out).

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