Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Muscle Stretching

I'm sure if you're a creative person, you've heard the phrase creativity is a muscle. I firmly believe this. And like any muscle it must be stretched.  Every day.

Does this mean I work on the same project everyday? No of course not. I recently took up a running program, and while I do run three out of seven days a week on the other days I do other things. Lift weights, bike, swim. All of this comes back to my running because it helps build endurance, strength, and the like. I believe the same goes for creativity.

Once you break it out and start using it every day it starts to work on its own. Writing becomes easier, plotting becomes easier, heck editing becomes easier. But since you don't have to be creative on the same project every day what are ways you can be creative.

I always like to keep a book of what I like to call false starts. They're quick things I do in like an evening. I might spend an hour at most on them. Sometimes I spend as little as fifteen minutes on them. They're sort of like a warm up, like stretching before a run.

Pintrest has become my newest creativity technique. Pintrest is an online pin board where you can collect images and group them together. It's been a great start to help me collect my thoughts on new up coming projects. Anymore, I like to begin with a Pintrest session. I'll look through recent pins and see if they fit in a story I'm currently working on or if they might inspire something new and different.

I like to idea mine. Which is what I do as I wrap a project. My favorite site is It's a blog that curates all kinds of whacky and interesting articles. Sometimes it's fun just to browse through them and see what new things they can bring to my head.  A simple article may inspire an entire short story or even the beginnings of a novel.

To keep everything organized I use post-its. Which I know isn't always the best thing. But on my desk there is a big (real) cork board, onto which I pin all of my post-it musings. Sometimes it's an idea for a plot twist in my WIP. Other times it's something interesting I want to remember, like rendez-vous camping--which is seriously cool, you should google it.

All of this idea grabbing, creative thinking all comes back when I work on my actual novel. Because my brain is used to thinking in a creative space. I can just sit and say yes it's time to write and my brain says "I know what to do!"   Like any sort of exercise it takes work and consistency to keep my brain on track and saying it can do it. But the more I delve into creativity the easier it comes to me.

What are your warm-ups for writing? Or what do you like to do for creative inspiration?

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Gretchen! io9 is one of my favorite sites.

    For my warm-up, I go through 10 pages of Tumblr on my dash and repost things that strike my fancy. It's a part of my routine that gets me into my writing mindset.