Hello, fellow dreamers.
Summer is upon us. If you’re anything like me, you spent the school year thinking of all the creative things you’d do if you had the time. For my fellow writers, you might’ve been bursting with ideas that got pushed off by homework.
Now that time is open. You’ll be lounging in the shade of an 80ºF day with an iced coffee and a laptop. You’ll be knocking out novels by the hour. That is, if we were a logical species.
Yet if you’re anything like me… you’ll wake up one sunny morning, think you’ll chill for a bit, and hours later, you’ll have binge-watched half of Netflix’s new show. And any motivation you’ll have had to write is gone.
If you have any desire to feel productive this summer–to bust out that awesome creativity–this two-part Novels over Netflix series is for you. And it’s not just for writers, either. While the following tips will be writer-focused, they can certainly be doctored to aid any art!
Step One is kick-starting the process, which = inspiration. If you don’t have a story idea already, or you just need something fresh, here’s how to get that invigorating, original inspiration.
Browse Pinterest Writing Prompts
I learned this one by accident. Pinterest is basically a black hole, but it has its perks. If you just search ‘writing prompts’, the results will suit just about any genre of writing. All it takes is just one of these to get my mind pumping out characters, intense plot twists, and thrilling settings. Some examples [all credit goes to the authors, source: Pinterest]:
A Warning for Pinterest Browsing: Like mentioned before, it’s a black hole. Make sure you eventually get to the writing. And be aware that since other people have seen these writing prompts, someone else has probably snatched the idea. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own!
2. Browse Pinterest Art
Once again utilizing the wonderful, addicting app, this is another way to spur your imagination. Being a visual person as well as a wordsy one, I find this gets me hyped to write… because I can’t wait to spin such fantastic, beautiful images in the minds of my readers. Some examples [all credit goes to the artists, source: Pinterest]:
Searches to Find Art: inspiring art, fantasy art, photography art, etc. Basically insert whatever genre you might be looking for and add ‘art.’ Just remember that not everything out there may be tasteful. So search carefully.
Many a writer has stressed the importance of reading. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” (Stephen King) “Read a lot. Reading really helps. Read anything you can get your hands on.” (J. K. Rowling)
It may seem counterintuitive–that reading other people’s ideas will help you get your own–but there’s no denying that reading a great story can help bring to life an original masterpiece. Plus, this tool for inspiration gives drive when you already have an idea in mind. Reading a book that’s in the same genre as your young story gets you excited. It gives you a picture of what your story could become. Essentially, reading is motivation.
4. Watch Films–But There’s a Catch.
For a writer, I am a big visual person. I confess to watching well-crafted films more than I read (working on that.) So I am all for occasionally vegging to an awesome movie with overly salted popcorn or Chinese takeout. But there can be a creative purpose to your viewing. Watch those movies that leave you wanting to create. For example:
I’m just another fan’s voice when I say I LOVED The Hunger Games film series. Yet as a writer, my appreciation for the story was taken up a notch. I have such a ginormous respect for Suzanne Collins and how she managed to craft such a masterpiece. I cried when Mockingjay: Part 2 ended–not just because it was sad, but simply because an amazing story had come to a close.
MY POINT: I managed to find a genre of film that leaves me inspired. I want to leave my readers with a similar impact, and that only happens if I write.
5. Play Pretend. I’m Not Kidding.
Depending on your age, it may no longer appear socially acceptable for you to dress in costume and spend the hours playing outside in imaginary kingdoms and Wild Wests. I know it was quite difficult putting away the dress-up when I was twelve years old (don’t laugh!) But one thing has stuck with me, even after no longer acting out my hundreds of stories: My imagination still runs wild, and I cultivate it.
There’s no proper way to put the power of imagination into words, but one cannot stress enough the importance of having one. Scientific research supports the significance of creative thinking (Attention, Imagination Equally Important for Creativity), as well as the undeniable benefits (5 Reasons You Should Let Your Mind Wander.)
So when the moment is appropriate, daydream.
6. Word War With a Friend
National Novel Writing Month, a project and community I highly suggest joining, created word wars. A word war is a timed writing race to see who can write the most in a set time period. These wars can last hours to days. Personally, I find it most exciting when the challenge lasts only twenty to thirty minutes.
This is a tool that engages the imagination like you wouldn’t believe. When the writing prompt is chosen and the timer starts, I–being the intensely competitive person I am–begin typing as soon as the first words come to mind. I don’t stop to think about whether or not the story makes sense. I just write. In one of these creativity-packed word wars, my short story “Amaziah” was born.
Thanks to that fun word war with one of my writing friends, I’ll soon have this treasured tale of mine as an eBook on Amazon. So don’t underestimate the power of writing sessions, even if you don’t intend on discovering an amazing story worth spinning.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” [Ray Bradbury]
I hope these fun, low-pressure tips give you what you need to get started. More than anything, I hope you feel inspired to create what you were meant to create, whatever that may be.