If you were asked to describe a writer, one of the words that you would probably use is ‘creative.’ Naturally, this makes sense as we are creating our work.
However, the word creative comes with so much more meaning than just being a creator of something.
If we imagine someone creative, we might believe them to be poetic, artistic, imaginative, and unique. A creative person is a person dedicated to their craft, one who is passionate and energetic and sees the world in a slightly different, cooler, more bendy way than those ordinary, non-creative folk.
While that’s all great, and may well ring true to writers sometimes, there is nothing worse than feeling uncreative as a writer.
We’ve all been there. You know, when you sit down in front of your computer screen and frown at the blank page your hands poised with eager anticipation above the keyboard, and….nothing. Your mind goes blank, or, worse still, every word that you type is so offensively, eye-wateringly dull that if it were someone else, not you, who wrote them, you’d immediately tell them to quit forever and perhaps bind their fingers together with sellotape just to be sure that they’d never attempt to do it again.
The truth is that creativity isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally to all writers. We don’t go about our daily lives with lightbulbs flashing on in our minds every ten seconds with another brilliant, original, flawless story idea. We don’t always see the beauty in things or find the complexity of human nature endlessly fascinating. We don’t always want to read challenging literature and have intellectually stimulating conversations.
Sometimes we want to eat beans on toast in front of the TV just like everyone else.
Of course, the problem with this is that when it comes to your writing sessions, you want to be able to feel creative straight away. Unfortunately, writers are not ingrained with a creativity button that we can push on when we want to write, and, more often then not, when we try to force ourselves to be creative, it only makes the situation worse. Then, before you know it your very worst enemy, Mr. W. Block is waving at you from the corner of your office.
Most writers don’t have as much time to write as they would like. Therefore, making sure that writing sessions are as productive and prolific as possible is essential.
So what can you do to be more creative, and reduce those instances where you feel as though you are not only not very creative, but perhaps the most unimaginative, uninspired, talentless husk of a writer that ever lived?
Stop with the pressure.
Forcing yourself to be creative is like trying to get a dog in the bath. It’s an unbearable struggle, and you’ll probably give up exhausted, defeated and no better off than when you started.
Try and find the things that naturally make you feel more creative instead.
Some people love to get up at the crack of dawn to write. Others prefer to get cosy with a glass of wine in the evenings to help relax them into the creative mindset. You need to do whatever works for you.
Experiment, try different times, and settings and set different goals too. You might find that writing nonstop for twenty minutes a day keeps you at your most productive, or it may be that sitting down for a long afternoon of writing once a week means you can really get your teeth stuck into it and produce work to be proud of.
Music is excellent at steering us towards a particular emotional state and can be very helpful at making us relaxed, energetic or tapping into particular feelings that can inspire us to write. If you are about to write a tragic scene in your book, for example, you could find some truly heart-wrenching music to help you explore those emotions. If you are writing a fight scene, a song that’s full of energy and ferocity could be all the motivation you need to help your characters beat the hell out of one another.
Get rid of your distractions.
Your mobile phone, the TV, that pile of ironing that’s been sitting there for over a week and you can feel is definitely starting to judge you. A cute dog wagging its tail with a ball in its mouth. Trying on outfits that used to fit you for no good reason, baking a cake for no occasion, eating the cake while weeping quietly to yourself…whatever your go-to distractions are, get rid of them, now!
While trying to force creativity can squash it faster than a fat man sitting on an overripe tomato, distractions can be just as bigger culprits by giving your mind permission to focus on other, meaningless tasks rather than try to tap into your creative self. So turn off those screens, shove the ironing pile in a cupboard and give the dog a bone and make sure that you can properly and fully focus on the task at hand.
Do something that makes your heart race.
If you think your creativity has been flatlining of late, you might need to jump start it to get back on the old train to imagination town once again.
Often doing something that scares you, takes you outside of your comfort zone or is at least a little bit adventurous can be all you need to get those ideas flowing once more.
Most writers find their best ideas are born out of experiences, so the more you get out there and live an exciting action-packed life, the more easily your creativity will flow.
Declutter inside and out.
There are lots of blockages that can obstruct a person’s creative self, so identifying them and removing them will help you become a more creative person.
Find whatever works for you to declutter your mind and get rid of the everyday stresses and strains of life. It might be doing some meditation, it might be going for a run on the beach, it might be eating beans and toast in front of the TV or tackling that massive pile of ironing that’s been glaring at you for days on end. Do what you need to do to declutter, and you’ll find the path to creativity a much easier one to navigate.
Trying to be more creative is all about finding energy and positivity as well as freeing up space in your mind and your life to allow it to come naturally to you. So next time you want to get those creative cogs turning, try the above and see if you set your imagination free!