Tips for getting out of the insulated writing bubble (and be filled with creative ideas)

When you start on your writers’ journey it’s easy to envelop yourself in a bubble. You want to churn out as many words as you possibly can. You focus on story planning, word count and the dreaded edit.
This is all good and necessary to grow as a writer, but the problem with living in the writer’s bubble is that nothing new and exciting can enter. Which, to keep things on topic of writing, means your ideas start to resemble each other more and more until you’ve regurgitated the same idea so many times you only have one story to tell.

 

To avoid the insulating bubble is easy considering how serious a problem this can cause in your writing. All you have to do is observe and question the world around you. (I’ll admit that sounds phony, but it’s true.)
I have three simple ideas that can help you with this, and I hope you try them not only when you’re in an idea rut, but that you make it part of your writing habits.

 
1. Go to public places and play the “who are they?” game.
“The who are they?” game is basically when you pick a stranger and sketch a character around them. Come up with a history, an occupation and a dilemma for your new character. If you can’t go into a public place, then use stock images to gather characters.
To take the game a step further, create a second character and write a piece of flash fiction in which they have to interact.

 

2. Make note of people’s behavior.
A big part of writing involves characters, so it’s fun to write down odd things about human behavior that you notice. You never know if it might become a detail to be added to a story later.
Some observations I’ve made recently (just to give you an idea) include: people always take the window seat by the library. Culture effects a person’s walking pace. People who exercise regularly are over enthusiastic when greeting others.
Obviously not all of this is fact, but it can be used as a character’s opinion or for some interesting narrative.

 

3. Research random stuff to death.
Before you can write you need a pile of knowledge to work with, so pick a topic and study it.
Some good topics include psychology, legends, geographical areas, anything about how stuff in the industrial industries are made etc.
All of this can spark ideas. So, if you can, try to learn one new thing every week.

 
I hope this inspires you to get out of your bubble and take a look into the world around you. It could enhance your very way of living, and help you reach your potential happiness. And if it doesn’t, at least, it’ll give you something new to write about 😉

 

Some background for why I’m writing this topic: I have been attending university for four weeks now and my subjects include, creative writing, communication and philosophy (to name only three of the five.) In all three these classes a resounding lesson has been pushed onto the students. Observe the world around you and ask questions. It’s been part of my homework and I must say the influence of this lesson can be seen in my writing.

 
Now I hope you have a good day, and don’t forget to like and share this post. It means a lot when you do so because, it reaffirms that despite my horrible posting schedule there are people helped by my posts.

The creative process #3 : Practice and improve

Creative life #3

While I’m writing this, I am sitting on my friend’s bed after finishing reading a book. I’m a whole town away from home and I have no homework or day job here.
I only have a friend and books.

I like it here.

 

So for the first time in two weeks I feel inspired to write a blog post on the topic of being creative again.
So to continue on with the creative life series let me share with you how important it is to practice and improve.

 

The creative process step 3: practice and improve.

We started off by gathering inspiration, then we copied a bunch of other artists but right now we need to practice and improve our art.

Start with taking a look at something you created recently. It could be anything from a poem to a dance routine. Examine it and notice if there is anywhere you can improve. Think according to all the little rules you’ve picked up from other artists and compare yours to “the standard”
The standard by the way it how good other artists are.
Look at how your art differs from theirs and ask if you want to keep it like that or change it.

(disclaimer: I’m not saying you need to completely copy someone else and lose your individuality. I’m just telling you to honestly try and improve your work.)

 

Now that you know what you want to change – change it. If you can, keep both the old and the new version.
I personally like to keep everything I write so when I make changes I create a whole new file on my computer. I hardly ever delete until I’m sure I have the version I want.

 

Step 2: get feedback.

Another important part of improving your art is to get feedback from someone who knows something about your art.
This means you can’t just ask your mum and ask her what she thinks. (sorry mum)
Get it to someone who knows what they’re doing. Preferably get it to someone whose art you admire or someone who you know is better at you in your art.

Ask them questions. Ask them about the things you feel needs to be changed if they agree then you make the change if they don’t agree the choice is up to you. If they dislike something you like honestly think about what they don’t like and ask yourself if they are correct. No being personal at this stage. You need to ask yourself if your art will be better or worse without the thing they dislike and make the change yourself.

 

Now this is a process you repeat constantly.
You create. You get feedback. You improve. You create again but better.

 

I hope this was helpful to you. I hope to bring the last part which is all about creating original content out soon enough.

The 2nd part of the creative process.

Mimicking other artists.

Creative process

 

Last week I posted about how we need to surround ourselves by creativity and other creative people so that we can take in their work to fuel our own.
This week I want to do something a little different. We will be pin pointing certain elements in other artist’s work and mimicking it.

 

Why should we do this?

Well the only way for us to know what art looks like is for us to observe it. Or in other words we are going to be looking at art and dissecting it so that we can understand how it works.
Through mimicking other artist’s you aren’t only looking at art but you are also busy building up your own creative process. When you mimic artists you are figuring out how things are done and what methods work bests for you. You are forming a habit or a flow of creativity that will help shape your future original content.

 

Now this is all nice to write down but the important question is where do you start?
Where do you start when you want to mimic an artist?

 

Well to speak the obvious you will need 2 things.
1. The right materials.
2. Some art work that you want to copy.

 

I’m going to leave the first part up to you, because I don’t know any details about what you want to do with your life.
The second part though, I can tell you isn’t so hard either. The internet is full of amazing artists that really can use your support. I talked about this in last week’s post so if you haven’t read it then you are probably regretting that now. (go here)

 

Now to imitate it.
You can do that school thing where you analyze the art and try to fully understand it.
I suggest you take notes on paper of what the artist did. You can ask what is it that drew you to the piece? What style did the artist use? Do you think there’s a meaning behind the art?
Put these notes where you can see them and now honestly putting the artist’s thing next to your own blank canvas/page/music sheet/dance floor start to mimic what the artist did.

Mimic them while looking and while not looking. Try to memorize what the artist did before trying.

 

Now here I would like to add that you shouldn’t worry about perfection just yet. Instead focus on creating art. Focus on simply getting something done even if it’s horrible.

 

For this week’s mission I want you to simply go mimic as many artists as you can.
Try to do a little every day or every second day otherwise. Really just practice a lot.
Get into the flow of being creative and you’ll be surprised what happens before your eyes.

 

That’s it for now. I’ll be writing more on the topic next week. I hope to hear from you 🙂

The first part of the creative process.

1st step ofCreativity

Last week I wrote about creative block and how it’s normally more of an emotional block than anything else. But today we’ll be talking about something else and that is the first step in the creative process. Hint it’s letting yourself be surrounded by other creative people and things.

Before anyone ever decides to be an artist they first see art and fall in love with it. (Or hate it and what to do better)
This is the first stage to getting your creative Mojo back. I personally can confirm that nothing inspires me to write as much as reading does. So that’s where we’ll start.

 

How to surround yourself with creativity.
The first step is to understand that everyone lets things into their soul differently – if we didn’t we would only have one sort of artist.
Think of it in terms of the different learning styles.
If you weren’t taught about this in school then the quick explanation is that there are seven ways to take in information and some ways work better for certain people while the other methods work better for other people.

 
These seven methods are
Visual (this is if you use pictures to understand things)
Aural (this is when sound helps you learn things)
Verbal (this is when you prefer words – either spoken or written)
Physical ( you use movement and touching to learn things)
Logical (you prefer using logical systems)
Social (you prefer learning in groups)
Solitary (you prefer to work and study alone)

Figure out what way you take things in and exploit that method.
I’m a visual and solitary learner, so from that I know that I need to sound myself with pictures, books or blog posts like these.
Now that we understand that some things will work better to inspire some of us then others it’s time for us to surround ourselves by as many types of art as possible. After all you never know when inspiration will strike.

First of all if you already have a chosen creative outlet (like I have writing) then delve in that direction first.
If you are a writer then go read.
If you are a painter then go look for art.
If you are a musician go listen to music.
You get the gist.

 

Still try other things though – here are different kinds of art that I think you need to let into your life.

1. Music.
Music is an art form that surrounds our sense of hearing and it can take people completely out of their surroundings. Try all kinds of music from rock and roll to Beethoven – and let it affect you.

2. Spoken word poetry.
Again this is an art form that surrounds our sense of hearing but this is a little different. This is one of my newest obsessions and I find it inspires me to listen to other people’s opinions. And because spoken word poetry is generally about something someone is really passionate about it can ignite fires in those who listen to it.
This is a link to button poetry where you can find all the spoken word poetry you could ever want to listen to.

3. Written poetry.
Written poetry can be long or short and can either convoy a story or a feeling and honestly it’s just great to read even if you don’t write it yourself. (I suck at poetry)
This is something you can get in old school poetry books or you can check out my Pinterest board of poetry.

4. 2D art.
This is to say paintings, drawings, charcoal sketches, photography and everything else that can be 2D.
The is the thing that normally springs to mind when people say art and it’s definitely where I draw a lot of inspiration from. The perfect place to find lots of art is art galleries which is always nice to visit but if you don’t have time for such things then head over to Pinterest because there you can find all kinds of art.

5. Sculptures.
This is the non 2D art that I think is really cool especially for all the kinetic learners out there.
Sculptures are one of those things that just inspire awe every time I see it. Again a great place to head is to art galleries or Pinterest.

6. Dancers.
Thinking of our kinetic learners, dancing is also one amazing thing to witness, especially live.
I suggest that you go see dancers live if you can because there is something about sitting in a dark theatre and witnessing that amount of hard work and skill that just send my heart racing. If you can’t see it live watch it on YouTube.

7. Comic, manga, graphic novels.
These are awesome but aren’t always given a chance by people because they look like kids books but I really suggest you go find one in your local bookstore or library because they are really great. You can also find them online obviously especially opinionated comics which are everywhere.

8. Books!
Obviously I suggest you read books. Books are awesome. They pull you into a new world and make you connect emotionally to people who don’t exist. Books are just wonderful for inspiration because they just they can give emotional depth and light-hearted laughs at the same time. Books are better than people. Know this.

9. Movies and TV series.
These are really great too. They also share a story and can amazing emotional depths.
Basically books but where they can’t exactly give all the depth they can give a clearer picture through things such as the wardrobe of the character (sewing is an art in itself) the lighting and much more.

There are so many more art forms than this but this is what I have for you – and if you feel like it, you can list others creative types to surround yourself with in the comments.

 
Surround yourself with people as well.
Surrounding yourself by other creative people is nearly as important as surrounding yourself by creativity. Why? Because as steel sharpens steel so men must sharpen each other.
Trust me when I say that other artists are just amazing to be surrounded by. They make you want to strive after creativity and they fill your life with amazing things.
My sister is studying graphic design and she is so inspiring to be around. She eccentric and solutions to creative problems just pour out of her.
My aunt is a seamstress who makes handbags and she is equally inspiring to be around. Her conversations are on a deeper level than most. She’s hardworking and bright.
I also have tons of writer friends who are all amazing people who encourage me to be better every day.

 

So that is your mission for this week, surround yourself with art and artists. Look at everything with open eyes and don’t be afraid to ask questions or to interact with the art.
Goodluck 🙂

The 4 steps to being a creative genius

 

4(1)
Being creative can be both hard and easy. Sometimes it comes as easily as breathing and other times it’s as hard as running 10k up hill.
Now me, I swing between the two polar opposites quite a lot and my “Creative blocks” are something I’m becoming used to.
So I was wondering how exactly creativity works and how can I start forcing it when I need it?

A lot of people would now tell me that if I have writers block then I need to just sit down and write because apparently I’m procrastinating… as if they know my life.

If you are like me who end up having writers or creative blocks a lot and don’t believe that you’re simply procrastinating then please let me tell you that that is perfectly okay. I believe you.

Creative blocks have a tendency to originate as something personal.
Things such as, crippling self doubt, depression, hopelessness, or in my case a bit of anxiety.
Creative blocks are first and foremost emotional blocks that you’ll need to go pin point yourself and work through. Confide to a nice friend what you’re going through and see if that helps. If you don’t have someone to confide in then feel free to talk to me  I would love to help you. (Seriously helping people with creativity is my passion)

 

So let’s assume that we’ve now sorted out what is at the root of our creative blocks. I went to a couple of sessions with a therapist now my anxiety is better. You have taken some sort of action for whatever is bugging you and now you feel like you can start being creative again.

 
The question now is, how do we start being creative again?
How do we do this?

I went and I outlined the creative process. I plan to go through each of the four steps that are involved to help myself – and you – to better understand creativity so we can get going again.

To explain it simply creativity is a give and take process. Before you can be creative you first have to surround yourself with creativity, you have to practice creativity, you have to better yourself and only then will you be able to create unique and original art.

 
So the four steps are:
1. Take in other people’s creative works.
2. Mimic other people’s creative works.
3. Grow your skill.
4. Create new and original content.

Makes sense?

Okay so I’m going to be writing a blog post for each and every one of those steps but for now I want you to focus on what is blocking your creativity.
What is at the base of your creative and emotional block? Did you go through something recreantly? Did you get hurt? Where you discouraged?
Whatever it is, look for it and spend a week working and praying through it. Write down what you discover about yourself. Tell someone about it and then figure out a way to get past it. Remember you are the creator of your own life.

Good luck, I look forward to hearing from you.

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