In my opinion, there is nothing more difficult for a writer than sitting down and trying to create a different world or new character simply from your imagination. I’ve been blogging steadily for about two years now and I’ve really tapped into the nuances of this creative outlet, however, it's much different than writing fiction. With blogging I can sit behind my laptop and give you my honest opinions about products or other content and let the reader into my mind to see what many of my thoughts are. With fiction writing I can still do all of that, but it isn’t me who is presenting these, it's someone else, someone who may live inside me s a different version of who I am, or someone who is a combination of many people I know. Either way, it's not me in the story, it's only a fragment of who I am hiding between well-crafted prose while putting forth a new being that in many cases takes much longer than 9 months to create.
In this post I want to discuss a few of the techniques I think are important in having a successful creative writing session. Most of my schooling and adult life has been spent writing essays, so getting back into the swing of fiction writing is much more difficult than I remember it being.
BUT FIRST, COFFEE…
I love coffee and it’s come to the point where I can’t sit down to write a single sentence without having a hot cup next to me to get the creative juices flowing. Of course, not everyone likes coffee, so this is more of a personal ritual. However, it can apply to anything that gets you ready to write—a cup of tea, a good run, a hot bath. Whatever it takes to get you comfortable and your mind flexible.
The next thing I will do before I get into writing is leave my phone in another room and turn the Wi-Fi off on my laptop. I find that it is incredibly difficult to focus with the temptation of the Internet lingering around me. Once I started doing this regularly, I noticed my creativity spike because there was nothing around to distract me; anything I found interesting or enticing had to come from my own mind.
SIT BY A WINDOW/ GO OUTSIDE
This one is important especially if you like to do your writing on a laptop like I do. It’s easy to get sucked into your story and stay typing away, but it’s pertinent to take some time to look out at a distance. This not only helps your eyesight after staring at an illuminated screen for hours at a time, but also helps your creativity flourish. I try my best to sit next to a window or take some time to go out for a walk (provided the weather is nice) to get my next burst of inspiration.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF
It’s easy to feel trapped when you’re writing creatively, as though you have to stick to a specific niche or topic. I can understand this because I was always exposed to the notion that you have to write what you know, and to an extent that is true. There’s no truer writing than what comes from your real experiences. However, that does not mean you can’t delve into the world of someone else as a means of researching for a character. The last thing you want is to make all your characters like you, with the same characteristics and same job. You want three-dimensional characters that resonate with a reader and that is accomplished by taking the plunge to write about something that you don’t know for a little while. A lot of research is required, but if you find it interesting you won’t consider it tedious.
BOUNCE IDEAS OFF OF OTHERS
This step might be the hardest because it can be quite intimidating to let others read your creative writing. Most of my adolescence was spent writing constantly but never showing it to anyone. Without that feedback it’s easy to feel discouraged and produce content only you think is sufficient. By asking for some commentary on it, it helps you gain a different perspective rather than being in your own head all the time. This can also help in validating your writing and ideas, which is always a good thing.
How do you have a good creative writing session?