Hold up. I know you’ve seen the title, and now you’re thinking nah, this isn’t for me. I’m not a writer. I’m not even the creative type.
Here’s a little secret: creativity is a self-fulfilling trait; if you tell yourself you’re not creative long enough, you’ll believe it, let your potential go silent, and then you will become uncreative (scary, I know).
So, trust that I’ve got you, and even though I’m talking directly to creative writers, you’ll learn something.
Are you ready?
What is Creative Writing?
As an intro to Oxford’s online course, creative writing defines creative writing as
“…an expressive form of literature; one which demands you to use your own creativity, imagination, and story to portray a particular message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our own preferences and experiences.”Oxford Online
I love this definition so much that I might take their course. It includes genres and styles across a range of fields of fictional and non-fiction writing; storytelling, playwriting, poetry, prose, journalistic, and more. Unlike other forms of writing, such as academic or journalistic writing, it depends primarily on your ability to imagine.
What inspires creative writing?
There are, of course, a thousand ways to foster the imagination, but for this article, let us examine three powerful tools every creative person must nurture- people, dreams, and experiences.
The greatest resource we have as creatives are the people around us. Unless you live on an island with animals like Tarzan, then you have this in abundance. The best part is that you don’t even have to like them before they inspire you. People inspire us in two major ways:
Where do you think all your characters come from? Whether you realize it or not, characters are usually based, however loosely, on people you have met, watched in a movie, or read in a book. Your writing habit will change drastically if you pay attention to the people you meet, their behavior, your conversations, and such.
This refers specifically to artists (writers, poets, musicians, etc.). As a writer, if you are not already reading a ton of materials by other people, I do not know what to tell you. How do you intend to learn? Take a moment to appreciate the artist’s use of words; take advantage of the emotions their work inspires in you. Every novel idea you have is only a variation of something someone else has done.
Dreams are powerful tools and are the ultimate showcase of your mind’s ability to create. This is a two-way thing as well. It could be your dream as in:
Your visions and plans for yourself
Is there a life you want to live sometime in the future? You can make those hopes and dreams come alive as you translate them to words on the page, pictorial art, or even song lyrics, whatever your art is.
Your literal dreams at night
Ohh, I know you know what I’m talking about. You have those crazy dreams, too, right? Sometimes, they can be so vivid that you wake up, and for a few minutes after, you still can’t shake whatever emotions you woke up feeling.
This is creative gold, you know??!!
Have a dedicated journal where you write these down while you can still remember the emotions behind the images, and you feel as though it happened to you (maybe it kinda did). It’s okay if you don’t even do anything with it at the time, but when you’re feeling lost, and the block hits, take out that book, look through, make yourself laugh, cry, or maybe even scare yourself a little. But sit in that, remember that your brain produced that wonder. Inspire yourself
No matter how much we try to avoid it, our experiences (good or bad, exciting or traumatic) find ways to slip into our writing. Your experiences and emotions impact your writing in beautiful ways and make you a dynamic writer.
“That book for me (Purple Hibiscus) is about nostalgia, a kind of romanticized remembering.”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nostalgia is a powerful tool in the hands of a creative writer; when used right, it triggers intense emotions, perfect for engaging your audience.
Tiny, Little Parting Tips
Here are some tips to guide you on your journey to your next masterpiece:
Never become that writer that stops reading. No matter how busy you get, find ways to read. Listen to audiobooks, and read articles online. Read big books by popular authors, and fan fiction by teenagers on the internet, read pamphlets, handouts, things relating to your field, and things widely outside your range. You never know what will take hold and build your next story.
Write as much as you can. One way to tackle writer’s block is by making yourself write a little every day until it becomes a habit. Journal your thoughts, dreams, and experiences. You can even write down random conversations too, both real and imagined.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Go outside, dear writer, go dance, travel, and listen to the noise of your city. Try new things! Live fully in every moment. Let me tell you, if you have experienced it yourself, it’ll be easier to describe in your book.
So, go on, go write. This is going to be fun, trust me.