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  • Writer's pictureJenna Moreci


HelloOoOo everybody!

Today, I’m talking about imagination! Specifically, how to improve your creativity in order to generate better ideas throughout the creative writing process. Typically, when people ask how to get book ideas, you hear the same answers, like, “Read more,” or “Watch TV.” However, the number one tool for being a creator is to have a truly creative mind. A lot of aspiring writers tell me they want to write a book, but they do not consider themselves creative. Even when they read more or look for inspiration, they just end up regurgitating stuff that's already out there. Or, their brain feels like it’s constipated and unwilling to cook up anything new or unique. Fortunately, there are ways to boost your creativity and strengthen it over time, and I am breaking down those steps right now!

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Number 1: Make It FUN!

This is probably the most important facet of creativity. It's supposed to be fun! This is why children are wildly creative. Imagination is all about play! Somewhere down the line, you forgot that, either because your parents, school, or society as a whole sucked the joy out of you. It's time to get that shit back! When you take the time to exercise your creativity–for example, coming up with ideas for a book–remember that this is a choice you made because you enjoy it, and treat it appropriately. You're inventing characters using nothing but your imagination! That is the definition of playtime! Embrace it! If being creative isn't fun for you, that is the number one sign you’re doing it wrong.

Number 2: Relax

I'm not saying you need to meditate, but for God's sake, stop putting so much pressure on yourself! You're writing a book, not diffusing a bomb. The worst thing that can happen is that your writing sucks, in which case you can delete it and try again. Basically, the downside is minimal and you're stressing yourself over nothing. Not only is this intense stress completely unnecessary, but it's also going to prevent the writing process from being fun, which as we already covered, is kind of important! On top of that, it's going to stifle your creativity. A lot of us get our best ideas when we're relaxed, say for example, when we're about to fall asleep or when we're in the shower. Easing that pressure valve will do your imagination a world of good!

Number 3: Be Honest

One of the main sources of pressure that writers feel is to write what sells, write what's appropriate, or write what looks good. The thing is “what sells” changes drastically from year to year. Appropriateness is subjective, and if we were choosing a career based on what “looks good,” we already fucked up by choosing the author route. So since we’re being honest, it's time for you to be real with yourself about the kind of story you truly want to write. What stories are you passionate about? What kind of books do you reach for? A lot of people are embarrassed to embrace the content they love, but when they do, it completely un-tethers their creativity! This is largely because of point number one. It's a lot more fun to write the kind of stories you're deeply passionate about. And again, the more fun you're having, the more room your creativity has to grow.

Number 4: No Judgments

Another reason children are so much more creative than adults is that they don't embarrass easily. They haven't yet experienced the shame that comes with being an adult, which means they feel free to make mistakes. That's a mindset you'll need to relearn if you want to be a much more creative writer. Give yourself the freedom to come up with any and all ideas, no matter how ridiculous or self-indulgent. Remember, just because you come up with an idea, doesn't mean you have to write it or publish it. But giving yourself the freedom to produce really stupid shit means abandoning all limitations on your imagination and creativity. In return, you'll produce way more ideas at a rapid pace, which means way more content to work with. And sure, a lot of it will be crap, but some of it will be spectacular and fun! What would you rather have? One hundred ideas that are a mix of terrible and amazing, or five ideas that are completely generic? Let yourself be an idiot, and I promise you'll find some genius in it.

Number 5: Prune Your Circle

Some people prefer generating ideas by themselves. It's a deeply personal process for them. Others like generating ideas within a social circle. If you're the former, fuck everyone else and generate ideas by yourself! I support you! But if you're the latter, and someone is consistently negative toward all of your ideas in their infancy, this is not the person to share your creativity with. Do not get this confused with beta readers or critique partners who give criticism. Once we reach this stage, we are looking for feedback, and that criticism is vital to our growth. However, the idea phase is where we want our creativity to flourish, and it's going to be a lot easier for that to happen if the people we surround ourselves with are positive and encouraging. Please remember ideas exist to be molded or discarded. They don't need to be perfect the moment they pop out of your brain!

Number 6: Move

If you’re struggling to think up ideas, get off your ass and go for a walk! Movement is a great creativity tool because it helps to promote play and decrease depression. And, contrary to popular belief, depression is a total creativity killer. Again, let's reference getting ideas in the shower. Maybe this happens not only because you're relaxed, but also because you're moving. Get your muscles going and your brain might start chugging along with them.

Number 7: Empathize

Empathy is not only a valuable character trait, it’s also an imperative creative writing tool. Your ability to put yourself in other people's shoes expands your mind and broadens your perspective, thus improving your writing. It's a lot easier to create a wide variety of characters with vastly diverse backgrounds when you have the ability to empathize with other people. Work on being less of an asshole, and I promise not only will you have more friends, but your writing will also improve!

Number 8: Thought Dump

I’ve talked about thought dumping in the past. It's a vital part of my creative process, and it should be a part of your process as well! Thought dumping is when you take your thoughts about a particular idea or story and you dump ’em onto a page. Some people thought dump on notebooks or Google Docs. I personally thought dump using Word Docs or the Notes app on my phone. The reason I emphasize thought dumping is that a lot of people trip themselves up during the writing process by trying to organize all of their thoughts from the start. That's what the outline is for, and you're not quite there yet! Instead of outlining all of your half-assed concepts right from the get-go, just focus on getting all of those ideas out of your brain and onto the page! Dump ’em out for now, and leave the organization for later.

Number 9: Problem Solve

Highly creative people are often very good at problem-solving. They see an issue in their thought dump and rather than whine and mope, they fiddle with it until it's fixed. Think of these issues as puzzles. Puzzles can be frustrating if you take them too seriously, but they're not supposed to be serious–they’re supposed to be fun. We’re having fun, bitches! Don't forget that. If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, do more puzzles! You can get jigsaw puzzles, you can get puzzle apps on your phone, you can do brain teasers, and the options are endless!

Number 10: Make the Time

One of the reasons that adults are so lacking in creativity is that they don't have the time for it. Think of your creativity as a muscle. If you don't work it, it's gonna get weak and piddly as hell. Allow yourself the freedom to do something creative or exercise your creativity at least once a week. I like to cook up story ideas before I go to bed at night. That's when I'm relaxed. I can thought dump on my phone. Plus, it helps me fall asleep. At the end of the day, you're not going to improve your creativity unless you actively work toward improving your creativity. Make time for unleashing your creative juices, and above all else, have fun!

So that's all I've got for you today!

Author Jenna Moreci.

Most of these points are generalizations based on research I've done regarding the science behind creativity. Other points are based on my own personal experience. Either way, I hope they help cook up a more creative mind for you.

What’s your favorite creativity hack? Let me know in the comments!


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