What is creativity?

    Many new writers believe that the creative process is all about magic. The muse pops out and then, teases you a bit, and then disappears. Not neccessarily. Some writers believe it's all about talent. They think they have some, but the great writers have more of it. Not always. Some writers believe that they struggle but the great writers do not. Not true.
    How are the great writers able to keep coming up with new ideas? Of course, some of it is talent - and every reader of this, has some of that. But much of it is also about knowing techniques that feed and activate the creative process.
      So what is creativity? Creativity is the ability to come up with original work.
      The journey from an idea to a final work is not one act, but a process.
      The process moves from producing a germ of an idea to fleshing it out to outlining it to writing various drafts of it to finally getting it out there.
      Along the way, you'll work and wait and struggle. Everything will flow for a bit, and then you'll wait again and you'll work some more. And then ideas will come, and later, they won't come.
    It sounds haphazzard and chaotic. It is. But it also has discipline and predictability and clarity. As you move through the process, you'll encounter some stages a number of times. It's not a neat, linear flow - the process circles around, repeating each step a number of times.

Useful Sources of Ideas

Ideas are everywhere. Some of them come naturally but it's worth knowing where to look for that extra piece of inspiration.

Newspapers - especially the news-in-brief columns
Magazines - especially letters to the editor or agony aunts
Other people's conversations - eavesdrop shamelessly
Other stories - remember, there's no copyright on an idea, just the finished product. That said, don't go 'borrowing' characters or large wads of print from other people's work.
Jokes - most of them are mini stories in themselves


Making the Most of an Idea

Once something catches your fancy, interrogate it. For example, if you see a young girl running for the bus in the rain, ask yourself plenty of why's. Why is she running, why is she catching a bus, why does she look sad/ angry/ happy, why doesn't she have an umbrella, why is she carrying a suitcase, why is she alone? Then you can go on to ask yourself; Who is she? Where is she from and where is she going? What is she planning to do once she gets there?Approach the idea from all perspectives and let your imagination run riot with the what ifs...


What makes a good story?

Literature gives order to human experience.

Literature explores cultural values.

Literature demands an emotional response from the reader.

Like a great journey, literature can show you things you have never seen before and will never forget.


Overcoming writer's block

There is nothing more frustrating for a writer than writers block. Writers block occurs and you just sit in front of your page or computer screen, trying so hard to force out a word that none come at all. You are blocked, it seems as though you will never be able to write another word and you dont know how to get yourself out of this quandary. Its probably not likely that you have simply run out of things to say, so lets explore some different ways to break through writers block and have you on your way again!

One of the most entertaining ways to break through writers block is the sack of words. Cut out interesting or unique words from newspapers and magazines and put them all in a paper bag or a bowl. Pick some words randomly and write a story, poem or article around them. Since the sack gave you a few words already, its sort of like having a head start on writing something.

Stream of consciousness writing is where you sit down and just write everything that comes to your mind. This style of writing often clears out clutter from your mind and allows you to get to the deeper things beneath and start writing seriously again.

A new voice. Sometimes, if you write from another point of view, especially a drastically different one than your own, you can break through the boundaries of yourself. This is a fun and creative way to explore your writing, for example, writing from a mans point of view if you are a woman, or writing from a childs point of view when you are an adult, etc.

Journaling is another good way to get through block. All of our days are filled with something, and if we put the somethings down on paper, they will be out of the way. Look in your journal a month or two back and pick something to expand on. Youll be surprised to see how much things have changed in a month or two.

Above all, keep your pen moving, even if all it is saying is uh, um, uh, um.. if you stop, youll be tempted to never go back again, which seems pretty ridiculous since every writer becomes blocked from time to time.


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