The following is a list that I hope may help many of you organize your creative ideas and approach them successfully. Enjoy!
1. Setting Your Environment:
Environment is a key factor in sparking an idea. Personally, I write the best listening to exotic instrumental music, the kind that vibrates the consciousness. I love to feel the music surround me, wrap me in a cocoon of sound. I write best when I am in a vacuum. I highly recommend this environment to any type of artist. Music sways the soul and perfectly coincides with the creative process.
2. Catching the Spark:
Like many people, my creative process begins with a spark. A flash of inspiration, a strike of ideas. Once I have an idea, I write it. I don’t worry about spell check or word choice; I simply write in a style that resembles my stream-of-conscious. Once you discover it, grasp the idea you have in the moment and don’t let go.
Once I have a complete, rough first draft prepared, I immediately begin editing for the clarity of ideas. I am an avid editor, so this is the ideal process for me. At this point, the goal is to make my idea clearer to the reader; incorrect grammar and word choice is not a priority. However, if you are not savvy with edits, I don’t suggest this method; instead, you should begin with conventions in mind. Either way, it is beneficial to set your piece aside for a day so that, the following day, you are able to view your piece with a fresh new perspective.
4. Using an Online Aid:
After a day or two, I begin editing cumulatively: for clarity, grammar, line breaks, structure, word choice, etc. This stage in my writing process is heavily dependent on an online Thesaurus; I substitute weak verbs for stronger ones, and replace words that stunt flow with words that facilitate it. I highly recommend online thesauruses to guide you through this portion of the process. Using it will help you insert new lines and phrases as well, building upon your idea.
5. Taking Your Time:
Time is integral when it comes to my writing process. In order to finish a piece, I need time, and an ample amount of it. In this way, fully revising a piece of mine may take weeks. In fact, my poem “The Ten Commandments” took me two months to complete and be fully satisfied with. Don’t be afraid to grant your pieces so much time; they deserve it.
6. Being Open-minded:
When I find myself stumped on a certain line, a character’s motivation, or other instance in a piece (otherwise known as the God-awful disease called Writer’s Block), I ask several people in tandem. I get varying ideas from various people, accumulating them and filtering them in order to change the piece for the better. My writing process depends on critiques and critical analysis; in fact, my father is my biggest critic (he used to be a writer), and he reads my pieces with sharp honesty. I listen to people’s opinions and am open to criticism. Open-mindedness is an extremely important trait to have as a writer and as a person in general; it will only facilitate your creative process, and it can only help you in the long-run.
7. Embracing Your Style:
When my father read the first paragraph of my short story, the first thing he said was, “Stop writing your fiction like it’s poetry.”
I laughed, because I knew it was true. My prose is too flowery and filled with unnecessary, elegant phrases. I know that my prose needs to be more straight-forward and meaningful, more concise and poignant. But, over the course of this semester, I realized that I am the writer; I can decide whether my writing is flowery or concrete. If I want to write prose like it’s poetry, I can, so long as it is written well.
And so, I replied to my father’s comment with a smile: “Stop reading my poetry like it’s fiction.”
Embrace your style and recognize what you love about what you’re doing.
My writing process is definitely abnormal, but it has developed over years of trying new methods. It does need several improvements, and I will begin to work on those improvements over the course of next semester.
All in all, I hope these tips were informative and able to help you get creating again. What is your creative process like? Let me know in the comments below!