Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How can I add more creativity to my writing? -- signed "Waiting for the Muse"

Dear Waiting:

To write more creatively, one must think more creatively. Here are six ways to go about that:

Look at Other People’s Work
This is the low-hanging fruit. Get out some of those awards books and start turning pages. It’s a great way to kick start inspiration.

Make a Word List
More than just an exercise, the word list you construct can help you develop a concept. Write down (or key in) every word that comes to mind about your creative problem or key message. Don’t prejudge. Write down all the words that pop into your head, even those that don’t make sense or seem way off target.

Next, play with the words. Try combining a few of them. Add some synonyms to the list. Use one or two words in a phrase. Do words on your list suggest other words? Write them down, also. Next, narrow your word list down. Which words on your list link best to your key message? Put them on a separate list and think about them some more.

Sleep On It
This is a very useful and effective method for solving problems—creative or otherwise. Known as “unconscious problem solving,” it consists of feeding your mind a problem to solve just before you go to sleep. Psychologists call that incubation. You can think about the problem, read your notes or look over your word list. When you awaken the next morning, your mind magically has an answer.

TIP: If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to keep a pen and small pad of paper next to your bed. Sometimes the answer comes in the middle of the night, and unless you write it down, you won’t remember it. Promise.

Pretend you have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Some of us don’t have to pretend. In creative daydreaming, let your mind wander. Your subconscious will do the heavy lifting. Ask “Why?” Think of your creative problem as a big red onion. Asking why is a great way to peel back the layers and get to some inner truths. Police detectives ask "why" a lot.

If you’re part of a creative team, lock yourselves in a room for a brainstorming session. Start throwing out creative ideas in rapid-fire succession. Get someone to write it all down on an easel pad.

There’s only one rule: no discussing or analyzing the ideas until the brainstorming session is over. Sometimes it pays to let the ideas cook overnight before you evaluate them. The brainstorming context should be creative, playful, imaginative and fun. Don’t criticize or judge, no matter how lame the idea sounds.

Map your ideas
A mind map is a diagram of your creative thought process. You can draw it on paper or use an online program, such as Mindomo. Creating a mind map is a great way to break down a complex concept into simpler components. Or vice versa. You can use a mind map to put your creative thoughts down and see where they lead. 

Visit my website: www.rothcopy.com    Email: robert@rothcopy.com  

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