The great David Ogilvy once said
“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”
How to Boost Imagination and Creativity in Your Writing
Creativity and imagination are the lifeblood of every excellently written piece. Whether it is research studies, copywriting, blog articles, fiction, and non-fiction pieces, the point is that every type of writing requires imagination and creativity for it to be good. There is much more to writing than just putting down words. Good writing lies in one’s ability to perfectly piece together the words such that the end product is engaging and captivating content. There is no doubt this can be rather challenging sometimes which is why you need imagination and creativity in your writing.
However, your imagination which drives creativity is an engine that needs to be kept properly oiled if you want to keep the creative juices flowing. Keeping your imaginations sharp is not a passive process, you have to make a conscious effort to keep it running. But what can you do to ensure that your imagination and creativity stay sharp and functional? In this article, we have rounded up some of the best techniques you can use to spark your creativity when you are struggling with your imagination to get the ideas and words flowing again. Keep reading to find out.
Read anything and everything
Before you master the art of writing, you must, first of all, learn how to read. With that in mind, one of the best ways of sparking your creativity is by reading. Not just reading – a whole lot of reading. You do not have to be particular about the type of materials you read in this case. As a matter of fact, it is recommended that you read anything and everything you can find, from newspapers and magazines to novels and storybooks. Read as much as you can and as often as you can.
While reading, it is imperative to understand that you are not just reading for the sake of reading. You are reading to learn new things to add to what you already know. Pay attention to how the author writes – their plot, the characters, the words, use of adjectives and metaphors and so on. Read up on words and metaphors you do not understand. Writing is a craft and regardless of how talented you are, you would do yourself a lot of good by sharpening your imagination and creativity. Reading is that sharpening tool you need.
Be ready for inspiration at all times
Writers usually experience periods where they are unable to continue or begin work on a piece of writing. This phenomenon is referred to as writer’s block. Now, do you ever notice how after days and maybe even weeks of having a writer’s block, one day, it just lifts and you are filled with a burst of creativity and you are suddenly inspired to write until you drop? This could happen in the middle of the night at 2 am, while on a walk, on the bus or in the bathroom. The point is that creativity, true creativity is not planned. It can come to you anywhere and at any time, often at inopportune times, thus you must always be prepared for it.
Keep your mobile device, notebook, and pen or any other item you can use to capture those ideas when they occur, close to you at all times. It will be easier to work with what you have recorded than straining to remember your ideas when you are in a more convenient position to write. The world around us is filled with lots of intriguing things and any one of such things could put your imagination to work.
Also, the internet has an abundance of resources that can boost creativity in your writing as well. Anything you feel, hear see, or smell can drop ideas in your head to spark your creativity. When these ideas drop, ensure that you put them down somewhere. Do not trust your brain to hold onto it until you get home. As the famous Chinese goes “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory”.
Align your writing with your interests
Imagine how much easier it will be for you if you focused your writing on the things you love. It is very important to ensure that whatever you write connects with your interests. This is a very logical point because normally, if you like something or you are in the least bit interested in it, chances are you going to have a substantial amount of knowledge on it and as it is when you love something, writing about it wouldn’t feel like a chore to you.
You will be able to go and on about it without running out of steam. It is a lot easier to be creative when you know and love what you are actually writing about. Essentially, if there is something you enjoy doing, link a writing activity to it and watch your creativity run wild.
However, it is important that you do not take this to mean staying within your comfort zone as a writer. You should always try to explore topics outside what is familiar to you. Read up on new things and strive to broaden your horizon. As a writer, the more knowledgeable you are, the better. And who knows, you may even discover a new topic of interest.
One of the biggest hindrances to creativity is perfection. As a writer, if you are waiting to have everything in place before you begin to write, you may never start writing. That said, do not wait for your plot to make sense before you begin to write, just free write. The purpose of free writing is to get it flowing. You will find free writing quite useful regardless of what you are working on, be it a fictional or non-fictional piece. Now as stated earlier, the essence of free writing is not to make sense, the main purpose of it is to get the words out first and foremost.
That said, when freewriting, do not worry about your grammar, do not proofread, do not edit and definitely do not delete or cross out anything. Just keep going forward, put it down as it comes to you. Do it until you feel like you have gotten rid of all the clutter in your brain, this is when your ideas will begin to surface. If there is so much going on in your head, then it will be difficult for your brain to come up with the great ideas you need.
Freewriting helps to clear your brain to boost your imagination. Once things begin to make sense, you can then go back to piecing your random mumblings together, the idea is what will bring meaning to everything you have written thus far. By then, you would have had an awesome piece.
Writing, especially the type of writing where you will need to use your imagination and creativity is no walk in the park. When you are fully inspired, you can go on and on without stopping. However, once the creativity stops flowing, it can become quite frustrating. Which is why it is important for you to take occasional breaks once you begin to feel overwhelmed. You can do whatever it is you want to do while you are on your break, from playing video games to playing with your dog, cat or any other pet animal you have, the essential thing is that your mind is focused on something other than writing at the moment.
While it can be tempting to force yourself to keep writing, even when you have no zeal to continue, you should definitely not try to. Forcing yourself to write when you should not put you under a lot of stress which can subsequently shut off your flow of creativity, and thus a writer’s block ensues. So to avoid putting yourself under unnecessary stress, take out time to relax and cool off after a period of writing. Do not wait until you get a full on writer’s block before you decide to do something about it.
Also, do not put a cap on how much time you need away, your brain will let you know when it is ready to work again. If you are going to work hard, then you also deserve to play hard. In summary, your imagination and creativity will be sharpened when you know how to balance, writing and other areas of your life.
Collaborate with others
The thing with your imagination is that it will always revolve around the things you know and if you are looking for something outside of what you are used to, then you would have to seek the help of other people. This is where brainstorming and collaborating with others come in. Brainstorming does not just give your new ideas, it can help to spark your own imaginations to get the creative juices flowing, especially if you feel stuck. Now when brainstorming, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Everyone’s idea is likely to be unique and different from what your imagination and creativity often come up with and you know what? That’s absolutely okay.
Write down the ideas you like, then you can go on to collaborate with others to expand and improve on the ideas you have collected. Regardless of how active your imagination is or how creative you think you are, you could always do with the help of others. Also, do not play off other people’s ideas, no matter how different from yours they may be. After all, there is really no telling where your inspiration will come from.
Incentivize your writing
Attaching a reward to something always seems to make the process a lot easier, doesn’t it? That is applicable to writing as well. Incentivize yourself to write to boost your creativity. Now, this incentive can be anything you are really looking forward to, from watching your favorite movie to going out with your friends, if it is something you want, you can use it to incentivize your writing.
Additionally, when it comes to giving yourself incentives, it is recommended that you also set goals for yourself such that once you achieve that particular goal, you can reward yourself. Your goals can be writing up to a certain word count, editing a chapter, proofreading a number of pages, etc., anything at all. The essence of incentivizing your writing is to celebrate your little feats which will motivate you to keep writing. Do not underestimate the effect motivation can have on your creativity when you are writing.
As a writer, one of the scariest aspects of writing is getting reactions to your work. However, as intimidating as getting feedback can be, it can spur your creativity. That said, occasionally, have people review your work and ask for their comments when they are done. The feedback you get will help you determine how the general response to your piece will be. Now, as much as every writer strives for positive feedback, sometimes negative feedback or criticism may just be what you need.
While positive feedback will encourage and motivate you to keep writing, constructive criticism is what will bring out the best in you. Criticism points out what is not so good with your writing so that you can go over it again, this time, more intelligently than the previous time. It drives your imagination to come up with better material such that at the end of the day, what you have is better than the previous one.
Imagination is what drives creativity and as a writer, you need to ensure that your imagination is constantly stimulated. A poor sense of imagination will mean low creativity levels and without imagination and creativity in your writing, then you are just going to be churning out one bland piece after another. Your imagination and creativity is what makes you unique as a writer. It is what stands you out from the dozens of other writers which is why it is of utmost importance that you never let the engine that is your imagination run dry. If you ever feel stuck, you can apply the aforementioned tips to your writing. They have been proven to be very effective at lifting the writer’s block to get the creative juices flowing again.