Never confuse creativity with productivity. Being productive is about having techniques in place in order to stick to goals (like writing 2,000 words a day or editing a chapter every week), creativity is much more complex and is a constant state of mind that can sometimes be hard to reach.
Writing requires you to have open, unlimited access to your creative mindset, but if you’re feeling lethargic and uninspired then your brain will shut off that chamber of your brain and leave you sitting in front of a blank screen, most likely questioning why you even thought you could be a writer.
More often than not this can be avoided, but you need to have techniques in place in order to get into the creative zone. These techniques will be very personal to you as a writer and will require a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you, baring in mind that it could be different every day.
Here are some techniques to get you thinking.
But what about when you’re just sitting at your laptop and all you can do is notice the same chips in the paintwork, the same pen mark on your white desk and the big smear on you’re window which you should really clean?
Then pictures and photos are your friend. Get some blue tac, and arrange them on your wall, maybe even change them around if you get bored of them. For me, the more colourful and abstract the picture the better, because it catches my interest, latches into the creative part of my brain and encourages my mind to wander. What are those two people standing on Brighton Bandstand doing? Are they lovers, friends, strangers? Why are they there? Are they looking at the sunset? What does the sunset look like? Will they stay there until night or are they only there for a couple of minutes?
And so on and so forth.
Another good source of inspiration is literature. If you read for at least 10 minutes every day, something that you have read in that small window of time will inspire you, even if it just makes you think, damn, I want to be able to do that…
You can either jump on that moment, or ignore it and continue to get frustrated over the fact that you haven’t written in weeks.
Get into the habit of creating playlists when you write, focusing on certain styles of music which get you into the zone of writing a particular scene or maybe songs that make you think of particular characters. These playlists can have as little as one song just on a constant loop. The quantity doesn’t matter just so long as the beat and melody is helping you feel whatever emotion you need to feel to get the words on the page.
Go somewhere new!
It’s normal to need to step away, especially seeing as creativity comes in such short bursts, you can very easily drain yourself. In any case, if you feel yourself struggling to dip into the creative pot the best thing you can do is take a walk and find a change of scene.
This can either mean that you take a trip down to your local coffee shop or you can literally jump in a car (or on a plane) and go somewhere completely different. The new surroundings take you away from the repetitiveness of everyday life and routines and really force you to think and feel about where you are.
My recent trips to Cornwall and Killarney are prime examples of how beneficial traveling is for your creativity.
Obviously I can’t create these for you, but I can give you an idea. A massive part of writing routine is coffee. Every day. All day. This probably isn’t a very helpful one for people that don’t drink coffee, but if you don’t maybe you should start.
I could spend ages talking about how great coffee is for creativity, but I already did that in a different post, so maybe give that a read.
Think like your character
This is probably the most weird and interesting one, but trust me, it works. it doesn’t even require a lot of work, all you have to do in a situation is take a second to stop and think, what would (insert character name) do? And before you know it you’ve created a whole scene in your head. Not only does this help get you into a creative zone but it also helps make your characters seem more three dimensional with real thoughts and feelings.
It goes without saying that the more time you spend training yourself to think creatively the easier it will be when you actually come to write. Granted, it needs practise and constant exercise and they need to be you’re own techniques that have been tailored to work for you, but once you’ve unlocked that part of your mind, it’s quite difficult to lose.
Copyright: Laura Davis © 2017, all rights reserved.