Tapping Into Your Creativity
- Many people are afraid of their creativity. Once I tried to run a class entitled ‘Creative Writing’, but there was insufficient interest. The next course was advertised as ‘So You Want to Write’ and it was over-subscribed. When I asked the participants why they had chosen that course instead of ‘Creative Writing’ they all protested that they weren’t creative. That was something only ‘real’ writers of fiction were. So I ran the Creative Writing course with them under its new name and they were happy.
How do you tap into this mysterious thing called creativity? Try this simple exercise.
There are two steps to it. The first is less imaginative than the second, but it helps to lead you into the magical process called creative writing. The first is: Describe the room of a friend or family member, without mentioning them, or who they are. It might read something like the piece below, and from that you can tell a lot about the person before you have even introduced them.
- The curtains are only half open, leaving the far end of the room dingy in the shade of late afternoon. The air is stale. On top of the piano are sheets of music and on top of them a plate with the remains of a piece of toast and a cup half full with cold tea. There are books everywhere – on the shelves, on the floor, all over the coffee table and on the piano stool. A stack of old newspapers is piled in one corner. Dust motes dance in the shaft of sunlight between the curtains and settle on the rimless glasses sitting on a well-thumbed copy of War & Peace. The sofa is worn and made comfortable with a pile of faded cushions. A ginger cat is curled asleep in the only armchair. Cat hairs have impregnated the faded rose-pattern chintz.
Now that you have the idea, find a magazine or newspaper and select the photograph of someone featured. This time make sure it is someone you don’t know. Now describe the room of the person in the photograph. I am fond of saying – if you can’t think of anything – make it up! And that is exactly what you will be doing. Just let the ideas happen. Don’t censor them. Simply study the person in the photograph for clues. If you have never written imaginatively before you will be surprised at what comes out. It will be an amalgam of things you know, and things you don’t know that you know. Writing from the imagination is like dreaming. Your subconscious picks a bit from here, a touch from there, another taste from somewhere else. Don’t try and analyse where it all came from. Just thank it for appearing and move on…