Recently I met a bunch of writers who love New Adult and we started up a little group called New Adult Authors Unite! and I'm so happy to be a part of our summer blog tour. I will be on Cecilia Robert's blog tomorrow with an interview and a giveaway so be sure to check it out! Now onward to my host for today, Brit McGinnis.
As a freelance writer (and budding author!), I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas. My very career depends on my ability to come up with new things to write about. And sometimes, I just can’t think of anything.
That’s the ugly side of being a writer: Sometimes your brain just plain dries up sometimes. But the machine still keeps chugging along — you need to come up with things to say! You need to come up with something to pitch! NOW!
So not long ago, I started thinking of ways in which a writer can exercise their imaginations. It’s a hard thing to do, especially if you primarily work in only one genre or type of writing. But it’s absolutely necessary to keep your imagination refreshed if you want to be writing on a regular basis. Here’s how to do just that!
Be Creative In a New Way
When I first starting writing period, it was also in a very crafty part of my life. When I wasn’t writing, I was making friendship bracelets. Or making personality quizzes and posting them online (remember Quizilla?). Sometimes my friends and I would get together and play role-playing games centered around The Lord of the Rings. Yes, we were total dorks.
But all those dorky activities fed into my creativity like nothing else. Creating something, even if it was just a small bracelet for a friend, led to a great creativity feedback loop. I was suddenly able to think of different ideas within my stories, which led to different ideas for my bracelet designs, and so on. It was all a matter of keeping my brain going, and letting nothing sit still.
Do Something That Isn’t Creative At All
I’ve noticed that a lot of the most creative people I’ve ever met have completely inane day jobs. As a young person who dreams of one day just being able to write full time (naturally), I’ve often wondered why someone would ever keep a job like this if it wasn’t what they “really” wanted to do. Why not spend all day writing?
But then one day, it clicked: Creativity thrives under constraints. It’s the entire reason we writers have deadlines. Spend enough time entering data, and you’ll be sure to come up with an idea for a new story. Same thing with working a cash register, or stocking shelves. Or in the case of William S. Burroughs, killing bugs. It’s all about tickling different areas of the brain.
Pay Attention To Other People’s Lives
Probably one of the best things that happened to me as a writer was traveling to Ireland in 2012. My entire body was shocked at the experience of being dropped into a brand new country, and it took me a long time to fully adjust to living in this foreign space.
But in the process of discovering the way I could live in Ireland, I was learning so much about how others lived in Ireland. Grown men who talked about going home to see their sheep. Vegetarians who gleefully dump salad straight into their soup. Journalists who go to arthouse cinemas on the weekends, to hang out and mentor newbies. It was all so wonderful for my writer’s brain.
You don’t have to travel to a different country to be exposed to different ways of living. Every city has interesting people in it — you just have to find them. Once you do, just observe them. You don’t have to talk to them, just watch them walk down the street. Watch their gait, and try to think of how it got that way. See how they interact with the same world you live in. It will definitely help you start thinking differently!
Just Get Out of Your Own Head
One of my favorite ways to de-stress when working on several writing projects at once is to play video games. It’s a way for me to engage a different part of my imagination, and think strategically within a closed environment. But more importantly, I’m immersing myself in the work of another artist, and as a result, I’m subtly picking up inspiration from it.
My friends who work in creative industries (and my romantic partner, who appreciates the arts) are wonderful for this kind of inspiration. They’re always showing me new things they find or create. Thanks to them, I’ve discovered new bands, inspiring websites, and even wholly different lifestyles than my own. Even just going on Pinterest and seeing what each of my friends finds beautiful often forces my brain to open up just a little more.
Upon talking to other writers, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s common for writers to get too caught up in their own thought processes. We become so involved with our own characters, it’s hard for us to see outside that world. As a result, it’s hard for us to innovate. The people we invent and love eventually become stale.
That’s why it’s so important to branch out! As people who make things (because yes, stories and books are things), it’s important for us to always be taking in new experiences and creations. So go ahead — stop writing for a minute! You’ll be thankful for it later.
How are YOU shaking things up in your writing life? Say in the comments of this lady’s fabulous blog, and you have a chance to win a copy of F*ck! I’m in my Twenties by Emily Koenig. It is based on her fabulous Tumblr blog of the same name, and is sure to help with those nights where you can’t think of anything to write.
About the Author: Brit McGinnis writes regularly for nerdy blogs, awesome magazines, and even the odd eBook. In her free time, she edits and writes even more things. You can see some samples of her work on her website. She also loves running, watching horror movies, and playing video games.
You can find Brit on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find her on Pinterest, if you like social media articles and Bioshock fan art.
Thanks for stopping by Brit!!
Be sure to comment to win! And to stop by the rest of the tour, check out all the previous posts below:
July 1st Emmy Neal http://emmyneal.wordpress.com/
July 2nd Olivia Mayfield http://oliviamayfield.com/blog/
July 3rd Emma Hart http://www.emmahartbooks.com/
July 4th Melanie Harlow http://melanieharlowwrites.blogspot.com/
July 5th Colina Brennan http://colinabrennan.blogspot.com/
July 6th Elle Chardou http://thebeautifulpeopleawritersjourney.blogspot.com/
July 7th Sally Clements http://www.sallyclements.blogspot.com/
July 8th Laurelin Paige http://laurelinpaige.blogspot.co.uk/
July 9th Brit McGinnis http://www.happilycynical.com/
July 10th Katlyn Duncan http://katlynduncan.com/
July 11th Cecilia Robert http://cecereadandwrite.blogspot.com/