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.

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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.

Start sim­ple.

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.

Freewrite.

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.

List.

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.

Loop­ing.

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.

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Have any other great tips for cre­at­ing and devel­op­ing your ideas? Let us know in the comments!