Planning Your Writing: 6. Developing Creativity and Story Skills

Planning Your Writing: 6. Developing Creativity and Story Skills
By Norma J Hill (aka Pen and Paper Mama) © 2021

In our previous series for writers, we discussed and provided worksheets for “Self Exploration For Writers,” “Your Writing Life,” and “Author Considerations Beyond Just Writing.” In this new series, “Planning Your Writing,” we will explore:

  1. Research
  2. Target Audience, Genre, and Purpose
  3. Seeking Help
  4. Useful Planning Documents
  5. Style Guides & Manuals
  6. Developing Creativity and Story Skills
  7. Personal Style Sheet

At the end of each post in the series, there is a link to a downloadable and printable PDF copy on which you can write your responses. Put them in a binder or Duotang-type report folder (you can continue to add to your binder from the previous series). Then, periodically along your writing journey, return to your answers, read what you noted previously, and add new thoughts and experiences. Through this process, you’ll end up with a wonderful record of your writer’s journey.

6. Developing Creativity and Story Skills

Continue to feed your creativity and develop your story skills before you write, as you write, and after you complete your current writing project. Here are some great methods you might not have even thought of.

Watch related TV shows and movies and play related video games that capture your imagination. Do some research to find possibilities, list them here, and check them off as you complete them:      
Read stories and poetry by excellent writers, as well as well-accepted nonfiction books in your subject area and/or quality screen writing for plays and shows. Analyze what makes their writing so amazing. Research and list titles here that you can read:      
Listen to music that conjures up images in your mind. Close your eyes, listen, and see what your imagination conjures. Jot down ideas here that you could use in your writing project:    
Spend time with young children, paying attention to how they observe things, and how they imagine, create, and play. Join in their fun. Try to imitate their creativity, hands-on. Allow your inner child to reawaken. Jot down ideas you get from these activities:    
Spend time out in nature or do other activities that inspire your creative mind. Jot down ideas that come to you, related to your setting, characterization, plot, etc.:    
Do journaling and/or “morning pages” every day when you wake up. Just start writing down anything that comes to mind, no matter how insignificant or even silly it seems. Keep writing and follow where your mind takes you, even if it seems you’re going down all kinds of irrelevant rabbit trails. Once a week, go back and read over what you’ve written. Look for patterns and ideas that your subconscious might be suggesting to you for your project. List them here:  
Go to art galleries, local theatre productions (especially those by local writers and actors), local stand-up comedy or improv sessions, local “open mic” events and see what other local creatives are up to. Take part in open mic or improv, or in a local theatre event (as an actor, or creating props, or even write and produce skits with local talent, including—maybe especially—children and youth). Write down inspiring and creatives ideas:    
Engage in other forms of the arts—drawing, painting, music (instrumental and/or singing and/or lyric writing), crafts, fabric arts, or whatever you enjoy doing. Even something as simple as colouring—there are many wonderful colouring books available for adults, but some of the ones for children can actually enliven your inner child (and if you color with little people and observe and copy their freedom in use of color, ignoring the lines, etc., your inner creative child can be really inspired). What inspires you?    

Putting your notes into practice:

Plan at least one “artist date” each week—different activities, such as those above—that will engage your creative, innovative, imaginative inner child. If possible, have a regular day and time so you don’t forget. Mark each “date” in your agenda book (you can do these by yourself or with another person). Plan your first month right now! (And yes, you’d still be wise to do *daily* morning pages or journaling!) And also yes, this applies to nonfiction as well as fiction or poetry. So there!

PDF LINK: Planning Your Writing: 6. Developing Creativity and Story Skills