5 Tips to keep your mind sharp and creativity flowing
Last week we talked about being physically healthy as a writer. We also need to stay mentally ready so that we can write when the time comes.
Here are five tips to fuel our writer’s mind:
Consume Creative Content: Mental readiness is spurred by filling our minds with the work of other creatives, be it books, movies, TV, plays, art, and nature—God is the ultimate creative, after all. However, not all content is good content. While a poorly written book or crass movie may fill our mind, it will only produce like inspiration. When we pour the best into our minds, the best will come out.
Observe Life:We need to witness what happens around us. Capture situations, both the interesting and the mundane. The first provides creative fodder and the latter gives needed filler material. See what people do. Listen to what others say and how they say it. Note the smells. Engage the remaining two senses of touch and taste whenever possible. We avoid self-absorbed narcissism and constantly immerse ourselves into life as it unfolds around us.
Ask Questions: As we consume creative content and observe life, we can expand on it by asking questions: What if? Why? How might this have happened? (Create the backstory.) Take the spark of what we observe and turn it into something grander. How could this be more interesting? What can we add to amp up the action, increase the intrigue, or magnify the wonder?
Keep a Log: Make notes and record ideas. This may be with a notebook, in a computer file, using a digital recorder, or with a smartphone app. The medium doesn’t matter; capturing the idea does. The gist for this post came as I wrote last week’s. I added the title to my “content ideas” file as soon as the inspiration hit, and then I returned to the first post. I never gave it another thought until I sat down to write this week’s piece. I opened my file and this idea beckoned me.
Sleep on It: Although I seldom go to sleep hoping to unpack a story or solve a creative dilemma, often my subconscious does just that. In the early morning, I awake with some of the most creative ideas. And when this happens I can’t get to my computer fast enough. And even if a fresh idea doesn’t materialize as we sleep, being well-rested prepares us to write.
Use these five ideas to keep our writing minds sharp, fueled with ideas, and ready to write.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.