When you’re writing a story, any kind of story, including graphic novels, nonfiction, news articles, funny stories in a text to your best friend – WHATEVER!!! – you want to be creative. At least, I want to be creative. I hope you do, too!
But creativity can be hard to turn on some days. Some days I feel blah or dull in my brain. But I know that these feelings can be cleaned out and swept away with a few tricks. I’m going to share mine with you, and then I want to hear how you tap into your creativity.
- Exercise. Yes, exercise. In whatever shape or form you like to do exercise, do it. I’m not going to dictate that you do a certain kind of exercise for a certain length of time, but I do find that aerobic exercise works the best for me in terms of coming up with new ways of thinking about something. So, find something that works for you. Experiment. Try a new kind of movement. Walking, running, swimming, rowing, dancing – whatever!!! But get that blood pumping and that oxygen into your brain and let the neurons sparkle and snap. You will find your creativity.
- Make something. Whether it’s baking or cooking (I’m good at one and only so-so at the other), drawing, gardening, sculpting, soap carving, knitting, whatever!!! Again it’s all up to you, but the act of making something that isn’t writing can feel really empowering. You remind yourself that you are good at creating. It’s not procrastinating at all, it’s actually a reinforcement of the idea that you can start and finish something that you enjoy, and you will bring that to your writing.
- Read outside the genre you’re writing. I love to read all kinds of writing about all kinds of topics, and I promise that if you expand what you read, it will help you be more creative in your writing. When I’m writing nonfiction, I read rom-coms. When I’m writing a picture book with a fun premise, I might read a field guide. (Yes, I love to read field guides). When I’m working on a textbook, I read poetry. Sometimes, I read print magazines when I’m tackling a graphic novel manuscript. Bring in all kinds of ideas and perspectives to your brain from all kinds of writing. Let it swirl around and unlock some new doors you didn’t even know were waiting.
These are my top three ways to bring creativity into my writing. I rely on them to help me be creative and think about not only my manuscripts, but my life, in a new way. But they only work when I actually use them, and when I practice being creative. That’s is the main point of all of this. You can’t be creative if you sit and wait for it. You have to work on it every day and build the creativity habit. So these little side methods are my creativity cross-training. I use them to build up my creativity muscles and keep things fresh and strong.
Now, what do you do to strengthen your creativity?