Have you ever wondered how writers manage to write every day without running out of ideas or words? Have you found yourself thinking that if only you had more time, more energy, more discipline you would be able to unleash the creative writer inside you?
The good news is that anyone can take steps to stimulate his or her personal creativity; no matter how limited you are with time and energy and even if you are not particularly self-disciplined, you can easily incorporate these habits into your everyday life. All it takes is the desire to begin.
So let’s review 5 simple steps you can take to cultivate your creative genius:
- Read. Read books by authors you admire and by unknown writers whom you may or may not add to your list of favourites. Read newspapers—study the headlines, the first paragraph of an article, how the writer closes the piece. Read billboards on your way to work; read advertisements and articles in glossy magazines. Read the dictionary and thesaurus (not all at once, mind you, but in little bits, when you’re looking up a new word, for example, or hunting for another way to express an idea).
- Ask questions. What makes you like or dislike a book or an article in a magazine or newspaper? What do your favourite authors do to draw you into their worlds? Why would a character say that? What ‘voice’ appeals to you? Do you prefer first person narrative or third person point of view? Why did the newspaper headline grab your attention? How did the magazine writer manage to give as much information as possible using the least amount of words? Question everything you read and everything you hear.
- Observe. If people call you ‘nosy’ because you are a people-watcher, tell them that you are simply honing your observational skills. Observation is a necessary skill for writers to develop. Watch a grandmother bending down to comfort a crying child, study the faces of teenagers engaging in an animated discussion, gaze at two lovers strolling hand-in-hand through the mall; what you observe today may well find a place in your writing tomorrow.
- Listen to audio books, or to sporting events on the radio. Listening instead of reading or watching forces you to engage another sense to stimulate your imagination. Listen to the sound of the words, how they roll off the tongue; listen to the cadence and pitch of the speaker’s voice, to the broadcaster’s words, carefully chosen to capture the action and paint a picture for the listener.
- Carry a notebook and pen or pencil with you. Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed–use it to capture your thoughts just before you drift off to sleep, or when you awaken with dream-webs still fresh in your mind. Carry a notebook in your purse or pocket, and use it to jot down unusual expressions you heard at the local coffee shop or to describe a scene you witnessed on the subway ride to work. Don’t worry about perfect phrasing, spelling or grammar—as long as you can decipher what you wrote, the notebook will have served its purpose.
By incorporating these 5 straightforward habits into your daily life you will soon find yourself with a wealth of material to stimulate your creative muse. To your writing success!