I used to hate creative writing. I’m not sure why, but when I was younger, I despised it. I was good at writing stories and poems in school but I hated every second of it. I’m older now and a touch wiser than I was before, and I absolutely love creative writing. I’ve begun to dabble in more and more mediums over the past few years, with a greater focus on poetry and short stories. When I started, though, it was hard. It was hard for me because I often felt like I could improve more, and I felt like all my ideas lacked creativity and originality. My method was to just sit down and write about something that seemed like an exciting idea or take inspiration from someone else’s work and try to write my own take on their idea. Those aren’t horrible methods, but they weren’t working for me. I wasn’t proud of anything I wrote. However, I’ve tried new ways over the past two years and incorporated them into my daily life. I can now proudly say that I love my work, whether it’s good or bad, and I’ve finally found my creative voice. In this article, I want to share the things that helped me, so if you’re struggling with being creative, perhaps these tips can help you too.
The idea of writing prompts used to irk me. I always thought that writing prompts were somewhat of a drag and were too boring to spark any kind of creativity. When I was given writing prompts in school, I would always think to myself, “this isn’t going to help me write something good. They’re too simple”. Boy was I wrong. If you feel the same way about writing prompts, know this. They might not work for you simply because you’re not open to them.
I found out about this organization, “Firefly Creative Writing”, a while ago. You can check them out here. They offer writing workshops, writing coaches, among many other services. What got me interested was their “Morning Coffee Sessions” program. People meet on zoom, and they write together. This was something I felt like I’d really enjoy, so I signed up, not really knowing what to expect. When I joined for the first time, I was disappointed at first. The way the meetings go is that the leader gives a writing prompt, and everyone writes together for twenty minutes. In my head, I’m thinking, “a writing prompt? This is a waste of my time; I could be sleeping right now”. But I stayed and listened to the writing prompt. The prompt given was this starting line: “Today I am the color of…”. Right away, I hated it. It seemed too simple, too boring. But I decided to be open-minded, and I started writing.
Let me tell you, I wrote one of the best pieces I have ever written because of that prompt. As soon as I began to have an open mind, my brain went wild with so many different ideas. By the end of the twenty minutes, I created one of my best writing pieces. Since then, I’ve started off every morning by joining these Morning Coffee Sessions. Because of these writing prompts, I’ve been able to greatly expand my portfolio and find my creative writing style.
What’s the lesson here? If you don’t like the idea of writing prompts, I urge you to try one with an open mind. You might be surprised with the results, as they might really help with writing something creative and from the heart. I’ve also learned that simple and boring in this case, is actually best. The result isn’t as great when the prompt you’re given has already filled in the majority of the blanks. And if you have writer’s block, using writing prompts can be a great way to get unstuck. All in all, have an open mind. If you need help being creative during your next writing session, maybe look up a few writing prompts as well.
Finding the Sweetest Time
I find that my creativity varies throughout the day. Finding the times at your peak of creativity and productivity can really step up your writing game. For example, I used to write in the evening before getting ready for bed. But I often struggled with thinking of ideas, and I was usually already tired. Because of this, focusing was hard, and my writing would turn out to be very mediocre. I thought I’d switch it up, and I started to write in the afternoons. That didn’t work well for me either because my brain would be too focused on what I still needed to do afterwards. I was also somewhat tired from studying or working all morning, and my brain just wanted to rest. So as a last resort, I decided to try writing early in the morning.
Let me be honest, I am the complete opposite of a morning person. I’m the kind of person that needs to set twenty-five different alarms all five minutes apart just to get out of bed. However, I made it my goal to wake up early and write. So I started waking up an hour before I usually would, and I’d start writing. I would write for at least forty minutes, whether it was answering a writing prompt or continuing a project. I’ve come to learn that early morning is when my creativity is at its peak. I have more energy, my brain is more focused, and the quiet that surrounds me at that hour makes for a perfect and creative environment.
So if you find that you’re struggling to be creative and come up with ideas, and you’re consistently writing during a certain time of day, perhaps you should try switching it up. Find what time your creative juices truly start to flow, and you’ll start seeing great improvement.
Location is Key
Just how changing the time of day you write can help with creativity; the same goes for changing the location of where you write. In a perfect world, I would be able to sit in a cafe early in the morning and write for the rest of the day. In my situation, that is quite unrealistic; however I try to take the opportunity to do this whenever I can. If you find that your current environment is getting hard to focus in, switch it up every now and then. Personally, I find that my creativity flows more when I’m not writing at home. Perhaps it’s because different environments spark new ideas, or when I’m in public, I’m automatically inclined to get more work done. Whatever it may be, it really helps me be creative. Changing up the location I write in has even helped cure writer’s block. So if you’re struggling with focusing or coming up with ideas, I suggest you go and try writing somewhere new. You might be impressed with the results.
If you find yourself in a creative rut or simply unmotivated and uninspired, I suggest trying these tips out. Just remember, the creativity already lies within you. Sometimes we just need a push to unlock those creative juices that are just waiting to flow out.