Tag Archives: creativity

Writing A Novel? 3 Tips To Boost Your Creativity

Are you writing a novel? It may well be therapeutic. Over the past decades, studies have shown that both writing and art have therapeutic effects.

Writing a novel may be good for you

Writing has been used as a therapy to recover from emotional trauma as well as to aid physical healing.

For example, a JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) article from 1999 was titled: “Effects of writing about stressful experiences on symptom reduction in patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized trial.”

The study concluded that writing offered: “clinically relevant changes in health status at 4 months compared with those in the control group.”

Many writers and authors have suffered from ill health for much of their lives. As the saying goes… much of the world’s work is done by people who weren’t feeling well at the time.

Julius Caesar, for example, arguably the most effective military commander in history, suffered from epilepsy. Not only did he command his legions, and live in the field with his soldiers, Caesar was a prolific writer.

Caesar wrote well. Cicero, no slouch at writing either, wrote of Caesar’s Gallic War (a seven-volume work):

The Gallic War is splendid. It is bare, straight and handsome, stripped of rhetorical ornament like an athlete of his clothes. … There is nothing in a history more attractive than clean and lucid brevity.

Tip: if you’d like to be as prolific as Caesar and Cicero, consider dictating some of your writing, as these busy men did.

Tips to boost your creativity while you’re writing a novel

Want to boost your creativity? These tips may help.

1. Be guided by your intuition: if you’re ill, journaling can’t hurt, and may help you to heal

Do you feel you’d like to write about your illness? If so, do it, with this proviso: if you’re under the care of a medical professional, ask his or her advice about therapeutic writing before you start.

In the study referenced in the JAMA article above, they assigned patients to write about the most stressful event in their lives. They assigned the control group of patients to write about neutral topics.

2. Use journaling to lessen your stress

Unless you’re under the care of a doctor, please don’t write about events that are traumatic. However, you can write about stressful situations, if your intuition nudges you to do so.

Many years ago, when my children were small, I suffered from panic attacks. In those days, doctors were happy to medicate for any reason at all, so I ended up on medication for some months.

My intuition nudged me to write, so I wrote in my journal.

I used prompts:

  • What do I need to know today?
  • What can I learn from… (an event)?
  • What’s my best response to… (an event)?

When my medication ran out, I kept writing. Over time, my panic attacks occurred less often, and finally stopped.

3. Follow your intuition for ways to build your writing muscles

Is your intuition nudging you to doodle or paint? If so, consider taking an evening class. When speaking about creativity with writers, art journaling seems a popular activity. There’s a lot of satisfaction in splashing paint onto paper or canvas.

En Plein air (outdoor) painting is fun, and gets you out into the fresh air. Want company? Most towns, no matter how small, have an art society. Members take their paints with them on hikes, or have urban sketching days.

Watercolor painting has definitely enhanced my creativity. Not only is painting fun, it builds your writing muscles, because you become more observant. I often pause during my daily walk to marvel at the many colors in a cloudy sky, or at the variegated greens in trees.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

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What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today?

There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific.

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Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

You’re an author and you’re writing to sell as many copies of your books as possible. However, you want to be as “original” as you can. That’s wonderful, because today, you can publish whatever you choose.

In days gone by, when getting published meant getting a publishing contract via an agent and an acquisitions editor, originality didn’t sell.

Publishers wanted “the same, but different.” If you insisted on originality, you were (everyone shuddered) a literary author, and everyone knew that literary authors cost everyone money, rather than making money.

An author asked me “how to be original” and I though it was a wonderful question. The short answer of course is: be yourself.

Writing to sell? Be yourself

Being yourself is more challenging than it appears.

Even Ray Bradbury (one of the world’s most original authors) had problems with it.

From Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing (a book that’s well worth reading):

It was only when I began to discover the treats and tricks that came with word association that I began to find some true way through the minefields of imitation. I finally figured out that if you are going to step on a live mine, make it your own. Be blown up, as it were, by your own delights and despairs.

Bradbury discovered how to be himself — an original — in his writing via word association.

So, let’s look at three tips you may find useful when you’re striving to be yourself, an original.

1. Try word association to discover what matters to YOU

According to the Collins Dictionary, word association is:

… an early method of psychoanalysis in which the patient thinks of the first word that comes into consciousness on hearing a given word. In this way it was claimed that aspects of the unconscious could be revealed before defence mechanisms intervene.

Word association works. So does listing things, without thinking about it too much. Whenever I get stuck in a manuscript, I make lists.

From Top 70 Writing Tips: Write More, Improve Your Writing, And Make More Money:

Whatever kind of writing you’re doing, listing will make it better and easier.

What kind of lists? Start by making a list of all the things you could list.

Pick one item from the list, and make a new list of what you could list about that.

Writing a report? Write a list of everything you need to mention in the report. Then write a list of what you should NOT mention.

Try it yourself. When you get stuck, make a list of words. Ray Bradbury made lists of nouns; I like to use adjectives as well.

2. Keep a journal: describe people, activities, places and your dreams

According to research, you can only keep around seven things in your mind at any one time — even though you can recall everything that ever happened to you. It’s all locked away in your subconscious mind.

Keeping a journal is a great way to rummage around in the attics of your subconscious mind to find stuff that you can use in your writing. Original stuff, because no one has, or ever will have, your experiences.

You can use a journal in many ways. For example:

  • Describe a problem you’re having in an area of your life. There’s no need to strive for solutions. Those solutions will develop, simply because you described the problem.
  • Take a moment to jot down a few sentences to describe people and places wherever you are — whether you’re in your office, in a store, or in your local park. Most of us have stopped seeing what’s right in front of us. Try sketching what you see, that helps to improve your observation skills too.
  • Write a sentence or two about any dreams you remember when you wake up in the morning.

3. Believe in yourself: write the truth, as you know it, and write fast

From Dr. Frank Luntz’s Words That Work:

… good communication requires conviction and authenticity; being a walking dictionary is optional.

Whether you’re a new author, or are a pro, write the truth as you know it, or perceive it to be. Trust yourself. Your authenticity makes you an original.

Write fast too. Stop thinking so much — do your thinking while you’re writing. Bradbury (from Zen in the Art of Writing again):

The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style…

When you’re writing to sell, being original takes courage

As we’ve said, being yourself is challenging.

It’s exhilarating too. Have fun. 🙂

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

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Do you love your life?

If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine.

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Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Write A Novel: How To Write What You Really Want To Write

Write A Novel: How To Write What You Really Want To Write

What if you want to write a novel, but you’re frightened of the struggle?

Several months ago I coached a novelist who was terrified of beginning another novel. She’s written three novels, and is pleased with the sales, but couldn’t face writing another.

“I want to write, but I can’t,” she said. “I’ve been putting off starting for six months. Maybe I should give up, and write a nonfiction book?”

Write a novel from your heart: what do you REALLY want to write?

Writers write. Writing may not always be comfortable, and at times you wish you were doing something else — anything else. Sooner or later however you realize that writing is just something you do, and you’re happier writing than not writing.

So, I asked the novelist to dig into her subconscious to discover what she really wanted to write. What if she kept a dream journal for a week?

Dream journal to access your creative self

Your creative self is part of you; a powerful part. If you’re not writing, chances are that your creative self is putting blocks in your way.

A dream journal is a simple way mine your subconscious mind, and uncover your creative blocks.

Funny story. A few years back a client commissioned me to create a plan for a series of horror novels, with the main characters, and the first three books in the series plotted out. He was targeting the Young Adult market.

Problem: generally speaking, I avoid horror stories. My favorite horror tale is Casting The Runes, by M.R. James.

So, I decided that I’d better leave generating ideas to my subconscious. I kept a journal beside my bed, and each night, I imagined myself waking up in the morning, with the perfect idea for a horror series.

This worked rather too well. (I’ve often thought that the subconscious mind has a sense of humor.) For the two months I that worked on the series, I’d wake up at least three times a week, shaking from a nightmare. It got so bad that I slept with the light on.

I’ve used dream journaling since, without any drama, so I’ve no idea why the nightmares occurred. 🙂

A dream journal exercise to help you to write a novel you really want to write

The dream journal exercise is simple. Before you go to sleep, write in your journal: “I need a plot for a story that I’d love to tell.”

When you wake up, scribble a sentence or two about any dreams you remember. Keep your notes brief, there’s no need to analyze your dreams, you’re just nudging your creative self.

If you wish, and if you enjoy drawing, draw or paint any images from a dream.

The blocked novelist I was coaching started writing a new novel three days after she began dream journaling, so that process worked for her. I chatted to her after Christmas, and she’s still using her dream journal. She says that the process has helped her in many areas of her life.

Resistance is common when you write a novel

“Resistance” is the feeling that you want to write, but you can’t. Unfortunately, resistance is common when you’re writing a novel.

Here’s the thing — it doesn’t matter why you’re resisting writing. You don’t need to know why. You just need a way to prime the pump of your creativity again. Try journaling, dream journaling, or even bullet journaling — the process may work for you too.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

More info →
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Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

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Author:
Genre: Writing

Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.

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Resources to build your writing career

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