Juice Your Muse: 10 Creativity Starters
By Maria Schneider
Whenever I interview writers, I ask them how they motivate themselves to write. The one response that comes up over and over again is this: Allow yourself to start by writing crap. Utterly inane nonsense. Pure drivel that no one (not even your mother) would ever want to read.
You can call it free-writing or whatever you like, but the mere process of allowing yourself to warm up your writing muscle by 15 minutes or so of writing without purpose clears the way for real writing.
So let yourself sit down with a cheapo blank notebook, or an open doc on your laptop, and just let ‘er rip.
And if you’re really feeling stuck, here are 10 ideas:
• What’s the best thing that happened to you yesterday? What’s the worst thing? Write it out in a non-precious, raw, emotive way.
• What was the food you most detested growing up? Beets? Lima beans, perhaps? Describe the taste, the texture and the smell and why, precisely, you hated it so much.
• If you’re sitting in a cafe or some other public place, make up some amusing, over-the-top dialogue you imagine happening between a couple sitting at another table.
• Get funny: Go to Flickr Creative Commons and search for the keyword “funny.” Pick a photo and write about the scene you imagine taking place.
• Or get dreamy: Go to Flickr Creative Commons and search for the keyword “beach.” Put yourself in the scene and write as you imagine it.
• Deconstruct (or poke fun at) the lyrics of a nostalgic song on your iPod. (Suggestion: “Someone left the cake out in the rain.”)
• Write about the one item you’d most like to find at a garage sale and why you want it.
• What’s bugging you today? Are there errands you’re putting off? Woke up with a bit of a backache? Go ahead and rant it out.
• Write about how much you don’t want to write.
• Now write about how you’re going to write anyway.
The crucial thing to remember when you’re doing a warm-up free-write is to give yourself permission to be illogical, zany, carefree, sarcastic, whiny—whatever it is you’re feeling that day. Go on, get it out so you can get some real writing done.