Unsolicited Advice for Discovering Your Creative Process
Finding the right moment to write can be challenging. Each person has a unique personality that influences preferences on the methods and practices that make up their creative process. Once you figure out what works for you, it becomes easier to allocate time and resources more efficiently. Otherwise, you can miss out on a lot of exciting ideas because you think of writing as a chore rather than a means for expression. If you are past this stage, you can always improve your creative process by noticing additional ways that work. To draw a sports analogy, a basketball player is a complete player if they are capable of shooting at various distances: 3-pointers, midrange, and lay-ups. Getting rebounds and assists is what can separate a team player from a ball hog.
You should never stop exploring the different forms, styles, and contents of creative expression nor the uncountable methods of your creative process. Writing means many things: a healing practice, a way of reproducing an aesthetic experience, an escape of daily monotony, a need to create the impossible. Whatever it means to you, it is essential to notice which moods actively contribute to putting your ideas down before they flee from you.
A starting point can be experimenting with writing by incorporating it into your lifestyle and schedule. If you are a morning person, you could begin the day by putting down some ideas after getting out of bed. For some, dreams are a significant source of inspiration. The intensity and clarity of dream experiences remain intact for a short time before our selective memory flushes most of it down our mind-toilet. Putting things down in writing after you wake up can be useful. If you do not do mornings, how about trying coffee shops, bars, or parks after a long day of work? Some people prefer crowded places where they can put down their ideas. Others cannot focus in noisy environments.
Writing on your laptop might be more efficient for revision and editing if you write regularly at your home office or desk. Some people still prefer paper for the first drafts, it can be handy when you are always on the move without having to worry about running out of battery. Writing on paper is better if you are also into sketching or drawing.
Are typewriters still a thing? (If yes, just please don’t take your typewriter to the coffee shop).
Music, painting, photography, and sculpture can be inspirational through ekphrastic contemplation for someone who enjoys discovering ideas through sensory stimulation. On the other hand, meditation can help to empty your mind from thoughts that interfere with your willingness to start writing.
Do you prefer a methodic approach to writing or a spontaneous outburst? A friend of mine travels a lot, and he finds his inspiration by walking for hours in cities he visits without any direction in mind. The visual overload of new information is a creative force that needs to be put down in some dimly lit bar, afterwards.
Tip: remember to write down the address of your lodgings before you start the walk.
That being said, I’ve heard of another writer who locks herself up in her shed for 6 months every year, always starting on the same date. During this time, she only goes out for groceries and short walks in the mornings. The result is a new novel at the end of her self-imposed confinement. Her process includes exhaustive research about character development and settings before she starts writing the plot.
It might not be ideal if you are a social butterfly, though.
Some people only write on airplanes and trains, others write after engaging in arguments. If you are into the bohemian type of writing, after-hours is the best time for thinking without constraints. However, you might need a lot more editing the next day. Writing about unusual experiences is a great way to incorporate some excitement when describing settings and characters in daily life. Sometimes we take so much for granted that we forget to see things and people differently.
It’s good to try many ways until you find something that lets you express yourself the right way.
By Saul Carrera