Looking to unleash your inner artist? Putting pen to paper, or who are we kidding, fingers to keyboard, can be rewarding. But discovering the untapped poet or novelist inside of you can also be hard work. If you truly want to develop your talent with words, try these creative writing tips.
Start with the basics
If you are searching for a bit of creative fulfillment, writing can certainly fit the bill. But most professional wordsmiths will tell you that getting started can be the hardest part of the process. Richard M. Hartian blogged on that topic at copyblogger.com in “9 Tips on Becoming a More Creative and Productive Writer.” Here are his five quick tips to help unleash your inner artist:
- Take notes—Keep a means of taking notes handy. Sure, creativity can just spontaneously happen, but when it doesn’t you will be prepared.
- Try freewriting—Time to channel your inner James Joyce or Virginia Woolf … sort of. Freewriting is simply writing down anything that comes to mind in a completely stream-of-conscious fashion. It probably won’t make sense, but hopefully it will get the words flowing.
- Draw a mind map—This is merely creating an outline in picture form. Grab some scrap paper and some colored pens, and write down every idea you have. You can go back and put them into some sort of order later.
- Play with your dog—Break the cycle of being stressed about not writing when you should be by walking away. Go be, whether it is taking the dog for a walk or simply cleaning out your sock drawer. Just do something, anything, but think about writing.
- Give thanks—Still stumped? You are probably starting to feel pretty sorry for yourself. Write down all the things you are grateful for in your life. Not only will you start to perk up, but all that positive thinking may just get your creative juices flowing. Finally!
Improving your work
Now that the words are coming a bit more free and easy, you are probably feeling pretty good. But now’s not the time to get cocky. You not only want to be producing a lot of words, but also you want those words to be great, right? Jessica Strawser wrote “Start Your Summer Right: 5 Creative Writing Tips” on May 29, 2012 for writersdigest.com about some ideas to make your writing even better.
Strawser warns against pleonasm or “the use of words unnecessary for clear expression.” Some examples include top priority, close proximity and exact replica. This kind of subtle wordiness can make your writing clunky and less than stellar. Another great suggestion Strawser offers? “Don’t use a long (read: complicated) word where 1 short (read: simple) word will do.” Even in writing, less is more.
Finding the time
It can be hard to decide what holds writers back more—writer’s block or finding the time. When it comes to the latter, the best work-around is to go easy on yourself. No one but you cares how much or how long a day you write. So start out by finding small, uninterrupted periods of time when you can focus on your writing project at hand. Plus, by starting out small you are less likely to procrastinate. Which means, you will be more likely to keep at your small block of writing time. As Strawser says, “Repetition strengthens habits. Repetition also builds momentum.”
Looking for even more creative writing tips that will unleash your inner artist? Questia.com offers numerous book and article sources on the topic of creative writing. The Handbook on Creative Writing by Steven Earnshaw is one example of what Questia has available. It is aimed at creative writers at all levels and covers topics such as memoir writing and writing for children, as well as how to start a small magazine.
Questia has topic pages on literature and communications, both of which can offer more information on creative writing. What are some tricks and strategies that help you overcome writer’s block or set aside a time to write? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.