Creative writing lives and breathes on the writer’s ability to generate that one spark of an idea that can turn into something amazing. Unfortunately, those types of ideas seem to have a mind of their own, and inspiration isn’t usually something we can bottle. So what can creative writers to to create and then develop their ideas? Here are a few tips to help you on your creative writing journey.
Define your goal.
Probably the most important first step you should take is to define what it is you want to achieve. Are you writing a story? A screenplay? A song? Knowing where it is you’re heading will make it easier to come up with ideas for your goal. Every genre has it’s own requirements, and so you should identify what those requirements are before you try and come up with ideas.
Remember back in school when you learn the 5 “wh’s?”. Who, what, when, where and why are 5 words with limitless potential. If you’ve been struggling to flesh out an idea, or simply have a bunch of keywords or even a theme, run it through the 5 “wh” filter. Ask as many questions as you can think of that a reader might want answered.
Freewriting is a strange but effective exercise. All it really means is to start writing without stopping for a set amount of time. It takes a bit of practice, and you’ll build up “stamina” or the ability to write for longer periods of time. The idea here is to to simply have something on paper. Let your brain leak out through your pen and don’t be afraid to write whatever comes out. It’s important not to censor your ideas — if you think it’s stupid don’t worry! The mere act of putting pen to paper can break through some of those creative barriers, and you might find ideas and inspiration in the most unlikely places.
Listing is really helpful, especially to visually motivated people. If you can’t think of an idea or phrase to get you going, think of what interests you and list the important elements of what it is about that topic that you enjoy. Combining listing with some of the previous steps will really help you fight your way to the center of what you want to say, and you’ve bound to come up with some great ideas out of it.
This is the process of refining what you’ve free written on. Pick your topic, theme or mood and free write on if for 5 minutes. Then, go through what you’ve written and highlight aspects that seem important, interesting or worth developing. Then, take those highlighted phrases, words or ideas and free write on those for another five minutes. Given enough time, you’ll begin to refine out a coherent idea or narrative.
Creative writing can be a battle between wanting to make something amazing and struggling to even get started. Just remember why you were passionate about it in the first place, define your goal and use some of the tips we’ve talked about so that you can create and develop your ideas effectively.
Have any other great tips for creating and developing your ideas? Let us know in the comments!