One of the cool things about the writing community is that we all approach our craft a little differently and we all think of our own creative process in a unique way. I often relate my creativity in terms of an old temperamental faucet.
Side story: When I was a kid, one of the houses we lived in was a particularly old farmhouse with one of those old dishwashers that you'd wheel over to the faucet and hook up to the sink. One night, I got up to get myself a glass of water. When unhooking the dishwasher, I guess I managed to touch the metal faucet and the dishwasher's electric cord at the same time. The shock threw me across the kitchen and into the refrigerator. The thing is, I was so confused and disoriented, I got up and did it again. I guess I managed to stagger back to bed but in the morning, it all seemed so weird that I figured it must have been a dream. That is until I had to explain to my folks why the refrigerator door was dented. They had to replace the refrigerator door panel but we kept the dishwasher. Go figure.
Ok, back to WTT...
Most of the time, even when I'm trying to keep the faucet turned off (say, when I'm at work crunching data), there's still a drop or two that manages to sneak out (that's what sticky notes are for). Sometimes the darn thing gushes and it's hard to catch all those ideas, especially if I'm previously occupied. But sometimes, as old faucets are wont to do, the thing seizes up and not so much as a trickle will...trickle out. When I'm trying to do something else that's one thing. But what about when I finally carve out a little time and I really want to write? How do I get that faucet to open up?
That's right. My go to faucet lubricant (ok, that sounds a little weird) is a good long walk.
Walking helps get my creativity going. And this isn't just some personal peculiarity. This is SCIENCE:
"Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person's creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking."
For more on this, please click here.
So my main tip is this:
If you're stuck in your story, bogged down in your blogging, or cranky about your creative capacity, take a walk!
But we all know it's not always that simple. As with any technique, you'll need to figure out how to walk. I know that sounds silly, but there are things you can do (or not do) as you walk that can help. Here's what works for me:
- Ease into it - At first, don't concentrate on the project or issue your working on. Try to let your mind just kinda flow. Look at trees and people and birds. Enjoy the sun. Hum a tune. Clear your head. Let your brain breath. Then, once you've calmed down, consider your dilemma.
- Let your hands and mouth go - It might be a little embarrassing but I find that it helps if I let myself gesticulate and make faces and talk to myself. Sure, I get some looks. But so what? I'm creating!
- Have a medium handy...but not too handy - I've preached before (and will again) about the wonders of a smartphone as a writing tool. Jotting down notes and ideas while walking is a perfect example. BUT, until those ideas come I have to keep the phone in the pocket. If I don't I'll end up on Facebook or checking scores or some other thing that distracts me in an uncreative way. A notebook and pen or some other kind of archaic method will work just as well, I'm sure.
How about you? Do you walk? Do you gesticulate? Have you electrocuted yourself on faulty kitchen appliances?
Please check back next week when we will be joined by the nicest guy on the internet, your friend and mine, the always insightful Jeff Hargett!
Also, if you want to get involved with Writing Tip Tuesdays, please shoot me an email at adamgaylordwrites
We have great tips from a bunch more great writers coming up so stay tuned!