Writer shares tips on how to get creative
Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, screenwriter, or dabble with poetry, spring is an ideal time to jumpstart your creative muse. The season is brimming with inspiration, so don’t miss the opportunity to explore something new for the sake of your own art. Here are some ideas to get you started.
one. Try a new cuisine. Simple and effective. Just make sure you dine in and skip take-out because it’s all about immersing yourself in different social atmospheres and being exposed to other cultures.
While living in Seattle, I tried new foods every week at Pike Place Market and around the city. Whether it was Afghani, Puerto Rican, Malaysian, Russian, French — you name it, I tried it. I also revisited many of my favorite spots. I spent time with the shop owners and made friends with the cooks, servers and bartenders.
The aromas and explosion of new flavors alone will work wonders for your writing, and it’s something you can experience right in your own neighborhood, no jet setting required. Bring your appetite, an open mind and your tablet, in case inspiration strikes while you’re digging into that new curry dish.
two. Meet your alter ego. Have you met the stark opposite version of yourself yet? Do not? Then it’s time to get acquainted with your alter ego. Jot down five things you think you would never do. Then explore what could happen if you actually did some of the things on that list. Ask the same questions about your protagonist or the villain in your screenplay. What would be out of character for them?
Incite a fresh plot twist or breathe more life into your narrator by introducing a game changing decision. Turn the tables or raise the stakes for your heroine. Invent new conflicts. This brainstorming activity is another effective way to get in touch with your muse, and you can do it right in your own backyard.
3. Declutter. I’m no psychology expert, but I do know there are enough studies out there that suggest a better correlation between a clean space and a clear mind. Open your windows, roll your sleeves up and get some spring cleaning done. Donate and repurpose what you no longer need. Even consider rearranging your furniture.
Mental clutter is just as much of a hindrance to your creative writing as physical clutter. Say “no, thank you” to plans, people, or commitments that drain you, interfere with basic self-care or distract you from your larger project goals. Freeing up space will not only increase your creative flow, it will also zap writer’s block.
A common misconception about creative writing is that your best work stems from writing what you know. Having published both traditionally and independently in the past, I won’t deny that my nomadic lifestyle has made my writing more colorful. Doing killer whale research, driving cross-country, singing in random jam sessions and holding a slew of oddball jobs undoubtedly enriched my life, and in turn, my creative work.
Method writing is a practical, not to mention exciting, way to unlock inspiration, but it isn’t the only way. Don’t fret if you haven’t had the opportunity to play the roles you want to write about. You aren’t destined to write bland, unconvincing stuff just because you haven’t traveled abroad or lived off-grid in Alaska.
Your words matter. Your perspective on this life is one-of-a-kind, and the world needs whatever it is you have to share, so find inspiration right where you are.
Start not with what you know or where you’ve been, but work with what you have, where you are right now. Start in the garden, plant some seeds, and watch what grows. You may surprise yourself.