Wouldn’t it be wonderful if inspiration flowed, on demand, whenever we needed it? Creativity is as essential to writing as water is to life but it doesn’t come on tap. Instead, to write, we must draw ideas from our creative well and keep refilling it so it never dries up.
The best way to top up your well is to immerse yourself with the tasks, people and places that bring you joy. Inspiration does not come through hope or wishes. It comes through action.
‘Action is the foundational key to all success,’ Pablo Picasso once said.
Filling the well
The more you use your creative brain, the more creative it becomes. Anyone who’s been writing for some time will tell you how they cringe reading back their early work. This is because, looking back with perspective allows us to see just how much we’ve grown.
By writing often, you’ll boost your creativity, improve your craft and evolve as a writer.
Here are five simple buckets you could use to top up your creative well:
- Go back to school: I’m not talking about resitting your Maths exam but researching a topic of interest. Learning something new is a fabulous way to inspire original stories. Delve into genealogy, medieval history, nomadic living or space travel. With the internet at our fingertips, it’s never been so easy to broaden our knowledge.
- Read widely: Other authors can be a great source of inspiration although it’s important only to appreciate their work, not try to copy their style or compare it. Read in and out of the forms and genres in which you write. The classics are wonderful but it’s important to read contemporary books too as themes, styles and genres change and adapt over time.
- Write down your ideas: How many times have you promised yourself you’ll remember a great story idea you had when you were in the shower or woke with it at 3am in the morning? Give your memory a helping hand. Keeping an ‘ideas notebook’ within reach will enable you to capture inspiration ready for when you need it.
- Do the crossword: Challenging yourself with word puzzles such as a crossword is a wonderful way to stimulate creativity. Words are not in their usual context and, looking at them on their own can trigger an avalanche of ideas.
- Take a break: It may sound counterproductive to stop writing as a way to boost your creativity but it can work. Stepping away from your project for an hour, day or week could allow ideas to brew, give perspective and regenerate your motivation. Pushing yourself can sometimes lead to poor quality writing and creative burn out.
To enjoy your writing, you need to be passionate about your writing project. To be passionate, you need to feel creative. It’s a never-ending cycle so keep your well full.