Creativity for Writing and How to Cultivate It

What motivate and drives our creativity? Wikipedia defines creativity as “the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile” and states that creativity “involves the production of novel, useful products.” The English word creativity is derived from the Latin term creo “to create, make”.

When Plato was asked: “Will we say, of a painter, that he makes something?” he answered, “Certainly not, he merely imitates.” The way I understand it is that the painter imitates what he sees in nature. I venture a step further to describe creativity not only as imitation, but the re-imagining of something new from the inspiration.


Plato, The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. Raphael 1509

It is difficult to be creative with our writing when our minds are constantly occupied with making a living and fulfilling our responsibilities. How can we release bursts of creativity when we’re operating in a rote daily pattern? How do we nourish our creativity?

And how do we fight the writer’s block? I say the best way to fight a writer’s block is to spread Crazy Glue on your chair—then you will see your fingers flying over the keyboard! Seriously, the best way to fight a cramped mind is to try to catch every passing thought we have and every thing that happens around us.


Newton’s Principia © CC BY-SA 2.0

“Isaac Newton’s law of gravity is popularly attributed to a creative leap he experienced when observing a falling apple.” ~ Wikipedia

Here are some examples to consider:
• Voice a thought: We go through the day by asking questions. The brain will pursue these thoughts by expanding and researching ways to advance the concepts. So ask yourself many questions.
• Create a world you aspire to: We reveal our passion for living by being indignant about people suffering. Look around you at injustices committed on the planet.
• Correct an injustice in your mind: When I came up with the theme for my trilogy, I asked myself why did Spaniard Jews have to suffer at the hand of the Inquisition? How did they evade the Inquisition or how did they fight back? Did they have choices?
• Visualize a different life or mentally escape from your own life: Most readers of books and viewers of film escape from their present lives into a realm of fantasy or imaginary world for an hour or two.
• Leverage childhood experiences: How we can take a negative or positive event from our childhood and turn it into a story? Look into yourself and bring out a pleasant or traumatic event, then flesh it out with fictitious characters.


Photo credit by “made by”

Throughout the day we have fleeting thoughts. How to encourage creative expression to germinate into stories? One useful habit is to carry a small notebook for when the muse strikes. We can use everything happening in our lives and put it to work creatively. Many times during the day we get those passing thoughts that are connected or unconnected to our everyday life. If one idea in particular strikes our fancy, then we pull out the notebook and write it down.


Photo credit by DreamstimeYou

You can jot down these thoughts and ideas by noting the following:
• Time—When did it take place?
• Environment—Where did it happen?
• Daydreams—One of the things that got me in trouble in school was day-dreaming, but it kept my mind limber. Use your day dreaming to your advantage. Imagine you want to travel to the Caribbean. Use a traumatic experience you may have had and set it somewhere in Jamaica for example. So let’s say a couple travels to the island with their eleven-year-old son where he disappears.
• Passions—Put in the story your love of tropical islands with all the colors and lush scenery.
• Recurring ideas—A thought that persists and won’t leave your alone. A strong belief in something you want to fight and redress. A belief that makes you red in the face and the carotid artery bulge in your neck.
• Whom would it help?—The people you’re fighting for: bullied children, the downtrodden, the destitute, and the persecuted.

Creativity is fifty percent daydreaming and fifty percent catching it!

Another way to stimulate creativity is to change from your everyday routine by adding something different each day. For example, instead of turning on the TV when you come home from work on Monday, try reading a few pages from a favorite book for fifteen minutes. On Tuesday try stretching it for twenty minutes. And so on for each day of the week.

If your creativity is still blocked, using movement will dislodge those precious nuggets to come into your consciousness.

• Take a walk and admire your surroundings or think about improving it. Example: Imagine yourself in a warm and lush forest with fruit trees and singing birds when suddenly everything becomes dark and cold.
• Lie on the floor and stretch your limbs. You’ll be surprised how your brain goes into overdrive and the many thoughts that will flood your thinking. Example: A murder occurs in a gym in plain sight. How could the murderer have accomplished the dark deed without anyone seeing him or her?
• Go down to the nearest coffee shop with a good book and read for an hour. You’ll be surprised how a certain section or chapter in the book will motivate you to write something you’ll be content with. Example: Observe the people going in and out of the coffee shop and speculate about their destination. Will they find a peaceful day at work, or will something dreadful happen to them?
• Work the soil in your garden or prune the plants or trees. That devotional attention to detail will stimulate your thoughts, and you’ll be surprised to find ideas flowing freely. Example: Imagine a gardener digging the soil when his spade hits metal in the ground. He discovers a chest with letters from a different time.

Keep in mind these techniques and cultivate them to stimulate your innate, creative output.

Now go and write, and let your creativity soar!

Photo credit by Google

Photo credit by Google

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