Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Stay Creative

One of the questions I'm often asked is: What's the best way to overcome writer's block. As I recently said in an interview (which you can check out here), I don't believe in writer's block. (When was the last time you heard a doctor say she had "doctor's block?") However, I'll admit that there are times when I feel rather uninspired.

This afternoon, I found the video posted below. It offers "29 Ways to Stay Creative." The tips may seem unbelievably simple, but I know from experience that they work.

I'm particularly fond of #23: READ A (RANDOM) PAGE FROM THE DICTIONARY. Why? Allow me to explain. In my opinion, the Internet has one very serious downside. (No, I'm not talking about people who review books that they couldn't POSSIBLY have read unless they somehow managed to hack into my computer. And no, I don't think anyone has hacked my computer.)

The problem with the Internet is that it gives us exactly what we want. Lots of sites are designed to remember our past purchases and spit out a list of books, music, and products that we're likely to enjoy. So it's easy to get stuck in a rut--reading the same kind of books, listening to the same kind of music, buying the same stuff that we've bought in the past.

This isn't the way to be (or stay) creative. More often than not, inspiration comes from new, different, and surprising experiences. Go to the library and find a section you've never explored. Listen for strange new songs as you walk down the street. Visit a part of town that you've never seen before. Flip through the dictionary and find an unfamiliar word. Do something completely random.

You never know what's going to provide the inspiration you're seeking. And that's the whole point. You never know. But it probably won't be something you do every day. Otherwise, you'd be inspired already.

29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE from TO-FU on Vimeo.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Wikipedia" and other information sites often have a "random article" link, BUT that has a downside. At least for me. That's because I keep following links in the article to learn more. Next thing I know, an hour has passed. A dictionary page is just enough strange, unusual, out-of-your-experience stuff....

Robert in San Diego, who last read a dictionary page about a month back.

Zelia said...

Oh boy, I need to follow 27 and 29...

Anonymous said...

Dictionary Trivia Time: Get your hands on the Oxford English Dictionary and read the entry on "Wasp." It was written by J.R.R. Tolkien!

Robert in San Diego

Undercover Samurai said...

The video had some things that were used in Kiki Strike, like taking a notebook everywhere and making lists. I think I should start following these more often...

Anonymous said...

Thank you. That post was very inspiring!

anonymous science-fiction writer24495 said...

'Kay, I'm liking all but 27...

Anonymous said...

Someone should come up with 29 ways to stay adventurous next. Now THAT would be great.

Spring said...

Story of my life is making lists.

Micci said...

I get inspiration from my dreams. My subconscious brain always seems to know what's best...

The Alex said...

I totally LOVE this video!! It came with perfect timing too, because I really needed some inspiring help with a story I'm writing.