“I’m not creative…” Have you ever said this to yourself? You may believe that creativity is essential if you want to write a book, but no matter whether you’re creative or not, there are easy tricks you can use to spark your creativity.
We’ll look at some of those tricks, but firstly, consider that perhaps you’re just not writing enough.
The more you produce, the more creativity bubbles up
This was recently brought home to me by a friend I hadn’t seen in years. We contributed to the same magazines, some 20 years ago. Although I’ve trained myself to be reasonably productive, she’s much more productive than I am, and also more creative.
In the past 12 months, she’s ghostwritten three trilogies, written 50 short stories, and writes for four blogs. This is in addition to writing several books for children with a collaborator, as well as publishing five cozy mysteries under one of her pen names. (She has several.)
“How do you do it?” I asked. “How do you become so creative? Tell me some tricks — I’m blogging about creativity tricks.”
She laughed. “You know the old saying, the harder you work, the luckier you get? The same applies to creativity.”
Here are three simple tricks you can use to inspire your own creativity.
1. Build a fence around it: limits make you more creative
Limits make you more creative, so set limits before you start writing your book.
For example, you might decide that your book will be about baking sourdough bread, rather than about “baking.” Or if you’re writing fiction, you might decide that you’re writing a cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth who has four children rather than “a novel.”
Even if you’re an experienced author, writing a book can be intimidating. You can choose to write about, and include, anything in your book. All those choices lead to indecision and procrastination.
2. Schedule time and space for creativity
Schedule time for creativity? That sounds strange, because your best ideas occur to you when you’re doing something unrelated to writing — I get great ideas in the shower.
If you want a regular stream of good ideas however, it’s best to schedule the time. Consider scheduling half an hour, or an hour, sometime on the weekend. Aim to brainstorm in an area which you don’t associate with writing.
For example, I write in my home office, but I do my brainstorming on the dining room table on Sunday afternoons.
3. Trust your intuition: it’s your unconscious mind at work
Creative people pay attention to their intuition. They trust it. They’re always listening for that still small voice which presents you with an idea, or an insight.
Meditation inspires creativity, and intuition. In this blog post, on writing goals, we talked about meditation:
Writing is much easier when you meditate (even if you think you can’t do it, the attempt is enough) because your focus carries over into everything you do and feel, for the rest of the day.
When you meditate for a short time each day, it seems to sweep the junk out of your head, so that you’re more open to intuitive and creative insights.
Writing is easier, when you trust your creativity
My friend’s right: the harder you work, the luckier you get.
You can’t be creative when you’re not writing. The perfect idea won’t slap you on the head like a whack from your fairy godmother’s wand.
Schedule time to write your book every day, and you’ll amazed at how creative you are.
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