Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Discovering Your Writing Ability

There are numerous theories on how to prime the mind so that it is ready to write creatively, and many of them are very effective.

The first of these might seem counterintuitive, but it is effective for many people: do anything but write. Writing is not just about putting words on a page, or crafting a story, it is also about inspiration, and inspiration can come from anywhere. You can be inspired, or gain a new insight, by standing next to a woman in grocery store and watching as she touches every lemon in the bin before she finds the right one. You can find inspiration by simply sitting and watching how your cat observes the world around him. You can find inspiration by walking in the woods.

For those times when you want or need to be sitting in front of the page, there are other creative writing prompts. One is to take a very familiar story, say, the Red Riding-Hood story, and playing with it in a new way.

Another of the many creative writing prompts you can consider is to think about a famous person, a politician for example, and writing a brief story about how he behaves when stuck in an airport, away from his staff and family, during a snow storm without a cell phone.

The emphasis with any exercise that aims to get your mind working creatively is simply to get your mind working, thinking, searching for connections, insights, ironies and the other things that surround us in everyday life and serve as the basis of metaphor and storytelling in our writing.

There are not really any ‘wrong’ ways to go about gaining access to the creative corners of your mind, but there are some ways of thinking about that process that are not always helpful. The mind does not typically work like a machine; meaning it does not always behave in a predictable and compliant fashion. But then, unpredictability is at the core of creativity.

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1 comment:

  1. "do anything but write"
    That's funny advice for writers.

    Chuck Close said, "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work."

    I see what you're getting at, though.


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