Undo the Brainwashing: Be Creative

Do you confuse being creative with being original? You might confuse being original with being unique. And do you think there’s no way you can be creative because your life is so ordinary? Society has brainwashed you. Undo the brainwashing: Be creative. Definitions According to Merriam-Webster creative means one is marked by the ability or power to create : given to creating, having the quality of something created rather than imitated. Original means the source or cause from which something arises; that from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made; a work composed firsthand; a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity; or a unique or eccentric person. It’s easy to see why original and creative get confused. If one is the source or cause from which something arises that thing is an original created by someone who is creative.  A creative person can create something original (never having been in existence before). But a creative person can also “create” a variation on something in existence. “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”  — Kurt Vonnegut Contemplate Sometimes creativity needs rest, solitude, and meditation. Give your creativity time.   If you have […]

3 Ways You Can Be More Creative

You still think you aren’t creative or you aren’t creative enough? Even after you read “You Don’t Have to be an Artist?” Hint: everyone is creative. But, you may be out of practice. Creativity needs to be practiced, repeated, made a habit. Here are 3 ways you can be more creative. Change Your Approach You feel stymied. Blunted. Perhaps you feel you’ve used up all your creativity. If your creative self has spent time in a deep, dark hole you need to change your approach. Don’t expect it to spring out of the hole and work on demand. Think about it. Would you expect a mistreated dog or cat to let you waltz up to it and pet it without getting scratched or bit? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d try coaxing the animal out. You’d re-establish trust and show it that you would be gentle. Treat your creative self gently. Don’t allow negative self-talk. At least recognize and stop the negative self-talk. Creativity seems to make us all nervous. Watch this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about the fear we have around creativity. Look for the ways you are creative and give yourself a pep talk. You fixed that thing-a-bob […]

Create Strong Obstacles to Make A Super Story

Stories need structure. You don’t have to outline your story but the structure must be there. One of the essential pieces of story structure is the story obstacle or antagonist. As a writer, you know you need a strong obstacle to make a super story, but how does that work on paper?  The Power of the Goal and Problem Your character’s goal and his problem must be powerful enough to engage your reader for the length of the story. Thus a short story problem is short and simple. A novel-length story problem is longer and more complex. And a series of novels have even more complex story problems.  How do you know your story problem is strong enough for a novel? The answer to that question is in your story structure.  Your story starts in the protagonist’s normal world. He has a goal but hasn’t pursued it for internal reasons. If he achieves his goal without difficulty, you have no story. Enter the obstacle or opposition. The obstacle can be one or many things. It can be internal. It can be physical disabilities or challenges. Environmental things such as distance or weather can be an obstacle. Or the obstacle can […]