Ever stare at your laptop and feel like the blank page is mocking you?
Yeah, that feeling. We’re writers, after all. We’ve all been there. We push ourselves until our creativity disappears and we’re left hanging on to the thin web of our sanity, screaming for our brains to KEEP WORKING.
(Maybe that’s just me?)
So how do we boost our creativity?
10. Ask yourself “what if.” Explore the options. Don’t settle for the first idea that crosses your mind. Keep probing deeper. “What if the good guy really is the killer? What would happen?” Dismantle a cliche and see how you can add a twist to captivate your readers. Don’t be afraid to explore deeper into your story.
9. Read, read, READ. Study how authors reveal twists, build characters. The best way to build your craft and creativity is by reading. No way around it. (I think I read that in a book?)
8. Replace and explore. One of my favorite brain exercises is to pick up a book and replace words and names at random. For example, what if I inserted a dragon into a biography of Julius Caesar? What would change? Would it alter the course of history? What if Caesar conquered Britain with dragons?
7. Bring out your inner kid and pretend. If my characters are feeling stale and predictable, I head out to the park. (Yeah, I’m one of those twenty-something weirdos who walk around in a dream world. Deal with it.) It takes a little while for the awkwardness to wear off, but soon you’ll find yourself falling into character. Close your eyes and imagine your character. How would they walk? How would they talk? How do they pronounce certain words? How do they react to surprises?
Still feeling stuck? Research how actors get into character and see if that helps you get deeper into the role.
6. Let your mind roam free. Freewrite. Make notes. Outline, if that’s your thing. Allow yourself to pursue any scene, any topic, any outcome you want. When there’s no pressure to create, your brain is free to go crazy. Want to hear a secret? Some of my favorite storylines were birthed from a freewriting session. 😉
5. Allow yourself to rest. When you’re excited about a story, it’s tempting to pull an all-nighter and write until you can’t think. Yes, all-nighters are blissful, but NOT EVERY WEEK. Not even every month. Go to bed at a decent time and let your body heal so you can tackle the story with fresh concentration. Also, I’ve found when I stop writing mid-scene, my dreams center around the story all night and I get to visit with my characters for eight hours. Yeah, nothing can beat that.
4. Know when to step back. Some days, our heads refuse to get into the story. Use those times to work on the necessary aspects of a writer’s life: scheduling blog posts and social media, beta reading, edits. Get distractions out of the way so your mind is clear.
3. Brainstorm with other writers. Get involved with a writing group, in person or online, and be brave enough to ask for help. Let’s be honest: writers live to talk about stories.
2. Write what interests you. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? “Of course my WIP interests me. Why else would I be writing it?” I struggled with this recently. My WIP wasn’t moving forward and I had to force myself to write each. agonizing. chapter. The problem? I was writing the book simply because people loved the idea and told me I “had” to write it. Not because I loved it. (I switched genres and characters and now I’m fascinated by the book. So that’s a happy ending.)
1. Be dedicated. Following a specific writing routine sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to write. Be there, be ready, and there’s a good chance your Muse will show up too.
What is your best tip for creativity? Share in the comments!