Friday, November 9, 2012

Sparking Your Creativity

Recently, a writer friend of mine asked for some advise. She's going through a bit of a creativity crisis and she wanted to know how I dealt with such things.

This is how I responded:

I think all writers deal with creative doldrums on occasion. It's just part of the game. There is no sure fire way to spark creativity but in the end, I suggest that the best thing to do is to take a good hard look at what you find inspiring. 

For me, when I'm running short on ideas, one of my best sources of inspiration is a trip to the book store. I can spend hours in a good book store. After searching through the shelves of my favorite genres (usually sci-fi and fantasy) and seeing so many great ideas I usually can't help but have a few of my own. If nothing else, cover art can sometimes trigger an idea!

One pitfall you have to avoid with this technique is coming to the conclusion that all the good ideas are taken. That kind of thinking can kill a writer (or at least their creativity). I'm a firm believer that new ideas, if they exist at all, are exceptionally rare. But, there are always new spins, new angles, and new takes on not-so-new ideas.

Another big creativity sparker for me is to read. I know that as a full time student with a part time job it must be damn near impossible to find time to read. That having been said, you don't have to dive into War and Peace . Recently, some of my favorite reading has been much shorter. I get a sci-fi short story in my inbox every weekday from Short stories are a great way to pack in high quality reading from a bunch of different authors with a relatively small time commitment. I don't know if you're in to sci-fi but there are plenty of other markets out there for any genre of short fiction.

The last thing I suggest, and something that works wonders for me, is to take a long walk. Something about getting away from my desk and letting my mind wander as I tromp around seems to help get over most writing hurdles.

I hope that my suggestions help her and I hope they help you too!


  1. Walking or exercising always helps for me. And sometimes I just need to veg and watch TV and let my mind wander for a bit before it finds it's new ideas.

    1. Giving your mind a break can be a good thing, that's for sure.

  2. I think you offered sound advice, Adam. We're all inspired by different things. The trick is to immerse yourself in those things that inspire you.

    I've found that sometimes all I need is a trigger. It can come in many forms and from many places: a line of dialog, a person's reaction, a towering oak, grazing livestock or a bird taking flight. And what inspires us tomorrow may not be what inspired us today. New experiences (or experiencing things from a new perspective) is usually required for me.

  3. Sometimes I just have to start writing down first sentences-- one after the other. If the muse is kind, one might just spark a story (or two!).

    1. Yeah, most of my stories start as random sentences on post-it notes or the back of receipts. God help me if I can't find a pen.

  4. DeviantArt! LOTS of good ideas there!

    Malls are good too, but I get a lot of my good ideas from dream snippets.



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