"I keep getting writer's block and losing my creative flow. What can I do to enhance my creativity? Can you tell me what do you do to enhance your creativity? And how does this help you in your writing career?"
While I can't tell you what you should do to enhance your creativity, I can tell you what I do to enhance my own creativity .
But first let me tell you something I learned in college about the effects of creativity enhancing activities. I am in my 6th semester at Southern Maine Community College, and every semester until Spring 2013, I had taken 5 classes each semester, with 1 or 2 of them being art classes. I had no trouble with the homework or work load, got an A in every class, I wasn't stressing out, until Spring 2013, when I had 5 classes, but no art class. I stressed out big time, missed classes, missed homework, withdrew from 2 classes, stressed out even more, at one point thought about dropping college all together, and ended up with Cs by the end of the semester. Couldn't figure out what the heck happened. I'm not exactly taking classes for any real reason, I take classes I want to take, kind of a hobby thing. Eventually I'll get a degree but I'm in no hurry for that so who cares when I get around to taking courses required to graduate and the degree I end up with will depend on which one I've taken enough classes to qualify for, so could be English, Art, Culinary Arts, or Automotive - who knows? I don't really care one way or the other, I'm here to learn things I want to learn, not focus on a degree.
Maybe I won't ever get a degree, maybe I'll just keep taking random classes and never take the required classes at all. Who knows? Who cares? I don't. It's not like I'm going to be using my degree on a resume, seeing how I've no plans to ever get a job. I work for myself so no need to worry what my resume says degree-wise. That's my attitude here. so I'm taking classes I WANT to take, I should never have trouble in any of them at all. I sat down and did an evaluation of what was different, because I loved the classes/teachers so clearly that wasn't the issue, I shouldn't have had any trouble, yet I did. What changed?
It wasn't just my college studies that went down the drain though. My writing flew out the window too. I had writer's block. I never get writer's block. Something was seriously wrong. I couldn't study. I couldn't write. What in the heck happened? I had to figure it out, because a writer who can't write, that's not good.
Now art is something I've always done, ever since I was a kid. Painting, drawing, sculpting, sewing, gluing, glittering. Art is an everyday thing. However when I started college I no longer had time for art. Of course that didn't really matter seeing how I was taking an art class every semester. Until Spring 2013, that is.
I realized that every semester prior I had been spending 8 hours a week in the art studio painting or drawing. It was acting as a stress reliever for me and I didn't realize it. Plus I'd often have one of my textbooks open, and be reading my homework while doing my art assignments. And I was always keeping a notebook open beside me on the little cubby table next to the easel because I'd think of answers to homework problems while in the art studio.
I didn't realize my art classes were having such a huge effect on my studies in other classes, until I started trying to figure out why I was suddenly having trouble with my classes. So I switched back to having a studio art class each semester and had no trouble last semester and am doing okay this semester too.
So as it turns out, setting up an easel and attacking a canvas with paint was having a huge effect on my ability to think clearly and get my homework assignments done for my other classes.
But it was more than that. Since childhood I'd be painting and drawing, simultaneously with writing. I'd write stories and than I'd illustrate stories. More often I'd draw and than write stories based on the drawings. It seemed there was a connection between my drawing and my writing, which could not be separated. This was a very powerful lesson for me.
Working on my car(s) also has a relaxing effect on me, and it's when I'm working on my cars that I get tons of ideas about absolutely everything. I keep a voice recorder with me and just have it sitting on the fender turned on, while I "talk to the car" while I'm working on it. I actually write many of the answers to my advice column this way. (The recorder is a new thing for me, got it last spring to help with my verbal speech issues, turns out it helps me get my writing done too)
Another thing is walking. I walk a couple of miles a day. I have a dog so I never get to skip a day either - she's right there to remind me it's time for our walk, every day. Again, I take a recorder with me, talk and walk. (Before the recorder I used to take a notebook with me - writing while walking = messy writing you can't read later!)
There's a walking trail right out back of us, goes out into an old growth forest (never been cut since the 1500s the trees are HUGE) and up to a spring-fed brook. I'll walk out there and sit on the moss and that's where I get most of my fiction writing done. Years ago there was a farm house here, the foundation is still there, along with the family cemetery from the 1600/1700s (my family). It used to be an apple farm, and there are 200 year old apple trees that are big as giant oak trees. It's about 1mile off the nearest road with only a deer trail up through to it, almost no one knows it's there. Because of the brook it's always foggy, and because the pine trees are over 300 years old and 200feet tall it's always dark here, the sun never breaks through to the ground, you have to keep a flashlight with you even in the day time. It's a really spooky place. The stories I write center mostly on a haunted house that is in the middle of an over grown forest, with no roads up to it, and guess where I got that idea from? It's got the perfect atmosphere for me to just sit there for hours on end and write entire stories start to finish while completely immersed in the actual location I am writing about.
I do the same thing when I write stories set on the beach. I'll walk down to Old Orchard Beach, hike from the Pier to the Gully (about 3 miles of aqua jogging to reach it) than set up on the rocky craggy cliff over the edge of the Gully and set about to writing my beach horrors of flesh eating mermen kidnapping humans and dragging them to the bottom of the gully to a cave below (there is no cave below in Old Orchard, but another beach in Bar Harbor, Maine has such a cave, I went up there to see it years ago, and became obsessed with the "What is sea monster lived in there?" idea, thus how I started writing these stories.")
Whenever I want to write fiction I will go to a place that looks a lot like the place I'm setting the story, and I'll just start out by writing everything I see, almost like a list. I'll write what the trees look like, what the air smells like, what sounds I hear, and after about 2 or 3 pages of this, I'll suddenly go off into a whole new story (usually completely unplanned, just free flow pantsing it writing it down as it flows through my brain.)
I can go to the same place every day, see something different every day, and be inspired to write completely different stories every day. Nature changes daily. One day a moose walked by. Other days there will be deer or fox. After rain all sorts of mushrooms appear and make me wonder if gnomes live nearby so I'll write about a gnome that day. Once I saw bobcat fishing for eels in the swamp and I wondered what if bobcats were aliens from outer space and they brought eels here with them - I wrote so many stories about space faring bobcats raising pet space eels, that my Kickapoo grandmother declared eels and bobcats my spirit animals and that I was lead to find them out there in the woods and why I was so driven to write about them, that these walks of my were spirit quests, and that's how I came by the name EelKat.
I guess you could say walking to wild nature spots is my ultimate creativity enhancer, and well, being a writer who writes based off what I see when I'm there, using it for my writing business is kind of very easy for me.
There are a number of things you can do to boost your creativity. Craft fairs for example. Going to them to get ideas. This is what a woman I know does. She heads to every craft fair, big or small, all over Maine all year long. She takes notes of all the stuff she likes and comes up with loads of ideas. She sews dolls and stuffed animals, but she gets ideas from all sorts of booths, even ones not related to dolls at all. I think for her walking through craft fairs is the same as walking in nature is for me. But here's the thing. I often go with her to these craft fairs and I too get loads of ideas for stories there. I may see a fairy doll and think of a story about fairies. I may see a leather craftsmen a work and think of a story about a huntsman living in a Medieval forest.
Now this is just my own way of getting the creative juices flowing and what works for me may or may not work for you. Some people get ideas while fishing. Others cooking. Some while playing video games. Doing puzzles. Listening to music. Playing music.
Basically you need to find your "thing". The thing which speaks to your inner writer an inspires them to get typing. Everybody is going to have a different "thing" which motivates them. No matter what you do, enhancing your creativity is a good thing and you'll write better stories because of it.
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