Writers often say that they are introverts and prefer to work on their writing in a quiet spot by themselves. Okay–when you actually do your writing. But before you write, and between your writing sessions, maintaining relationships with other writers, and with other creative people and events, is so important to stimulate and maintain your own creativity (not to mention inspiring you to develop interesting characters, setting, plot, and more). Today’s tips are ways to develop and use those creative writing relationships.
- Find someone who is already good at the kind of writing you want to do, and ask them for pointers, and perhaps even develop a mentoring relationship. Yes, you could read their work and analyze it, but actually discussing it together and learning directly from the writer can be much more effective.
- Learn to take constructive criticism, and make use of it, when people point out something that needs improvement and give you helpful ideas on how to improve. Joining a local writers’ group–and especially a good Feedback/Critique group can be so helpful and inspiring. Just be sure you participate and share your thoughts with others. Give as well as take.
- Learn from master writers. Find people who are experts in what you are interested in and learn as much as you can from them. Then practice writing every day for a thousand days. By then you’ll be in the habit and can stop counting 🙂 You know what they say–it takes, on average, 10,000 hours of practice to become skillful at most trades, artistic endeavours, etc. And while you’re at it, spend time coaching and/or tutoring others who aren’t quite as far along as you are. Teaching is one of the best ways to invigorate your own skills and knowledge.
- Don’t *compare* yourself to people who are ahead of you or behind you. Just keep doing your own very best. At the same time, though, do learn from both groups–it’s amazing what you can learn and how much you can be inspired by the creativity of those who at first glance may seem to be beginners. Often young people and/or beginners are far more relaxed and creative thinkers than the “experts.”
- When you are actually doing your writing, go to a quiet place, sit down, and write until your first draft is finished. Get in the “flow.” You’ll be amazed what unexpected ideas come out of your fingertips. Many writers find that their “characters” seem to come alive in the process and provide them with creative, unexpected story directions. Don’t keep stopping to make “corrections” or do “editing.” There’ll be plenty of time to do that (and of course get help from your writing team) once you’ve let your creativity flow.
- Ask people lots of questions about all kinds of things you are curious about; interview people; listen in on conversations and do lots of people-watching when you’re waiting in line, sitting at the park or a restaurant, on the job, wherever you are. When you see or hear something that might have potential for future writing, jot it down right away (keep a small notebook or recorder handy) so you don’t lose that moment of inspiration. Oh! If you encounter creative people and events in your dreams, jot those down, too.
- Be generous with your knowledge and time. When you’ve learned something new or you have developed skill in a creative endeavour (writing a story, artwork, blogging, poetry, etc.), help someone else to learn or do what you know how to do. You don’t have to be an expert. Teaching someone something you’ve just learned is not only generous, it makes you even better at it, too. You’ll be building a reputation and respect as a skilled writer and a caring person, and that will turn into sales down the line!
- Attend and actually participate in group activities. If you are nervous in groups, start with a small Feedback group or small workshop group. You could even go to a “write-in” where everyone just sits and writes for a couple hours, then spends 5 or 10 minutes at the end sharing their experience and ideas. Then participate in larger writers’ groups, courses, retreats, conferences. At first you might just be listening in, but take a deep breath and share a comment or ask a question. As your confidence builds, try coaching or tutoring. Start with a single person you know, then with a small group, and then with larger groups. Share your own creativity–and learn from those who attend! Chances are, you’ll come away as inspired as the folks who attended your workshop or other session.
Are you enjoying these creative writing tips? What tips can you add— list your ideas in the comments!
Want more tips on writing creatively? Check out this entire series:
What is Blocking Your Creativity?
Creativity: Planning and Organizing
Creativity: Be Unique, Original
Activities to Stimulate Creative Thinking
Creative Writing Relationships
Try Lots of Different Writing Formats
And while you’re at it, why not check out my creativity tips for students series over at my PenAndPaperMama.com site.
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