Fiction writing is hard work. Depending on your approach, it can be harder than non-fiction in numerous respects. It takes effort, planning, and dedication. It requires a thick skin. But most of all, it demands creativity and passion. Yet, even the most creative and passionate amongst us can run into troubles from writer’s block to the stall of procrastination. So, just how can we humble authors jumpstart our creativity?
Exercise 1: Use Writing Prompts
DailyWritingTips.com defines a writing prompt as “a topic around which you start jotting down ideas.” Prompts come in all formats, from single words to complete paragraphs. You can use anything as a writing prompt, including pictures. The idea is to create a central focus upon which to let your imagination go wild.
Exercise 2: Review Unfinished Projects
If there’s one thing every author has, it’s a filing cabinet. It doesn’t matter if you keep one in your office or digitally; you have one. It’s the place you keep old projects. More importantly, it’s where you keep the unfinished projects spared from the oblivion of the circular file.
When you’re having trouble making headway, you can jumpstart your creativity by reviewing and revisiting unfinished projects. Rereading older work can trigger ideas for current projects; it can even lead to dusting off that old project and turning it into a finished masterpiece.
Exercise 3: De-Stress
According to WebMD, stress has detrimental effects. We all know stress stinks, but as authors it’s easy to forget how it stifles creativity. We cope with two types of stress:
- Healthy Stress: Do you work better under pressure? Then you benefit from what we call healthy stress. A little pressure causes you to enter the zone. It stimulates your creativity, increases your productivity, and helps you output good work. There’s nothing wrong with healthy stress in small doses, but too much pressure can result in unhealthy stress.
- Unhealthy Stress: When we face continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between them, it becomes unhealthy, negative stress. Negative stress leads to distress, which causes physical and mental symptoms ranging from headaches and trouble sleeping to anxiety and depression.
When your creativity is stalled, take a break. Dedicate some time to rest and relaxation. A little de-stressing can make all the difference in restarting your productivity. And if you happen to be able to escape to the beach (or any place other than where you write), go for it!
Exercise 4: Concentrate on Details
When brainstorming a new project, it’s easy to get caught up in the big picture. We focus on the overall plot and the message we intend to deliver. But looking at the big picture for too long can kill our creativity when we sit down to write.
As you look at the big picture, take time to concentrate on the details. Create a character. Picture a setting. Jot down details from your mind’s eye. Those little details are the sparks that will keep your creativity ignited.
Exercise 5: Explore Other Worlds
If your creative juices are low, replenish them by exploring the worlds of other authors. Kick your feet up, grab a book, and go on an adventure. Sometimes the best way to find your way is by getting lost…in someone else’s work.
Feature Image Credit: ximagination via 123RF Stock Photo