Creativity for Writers – I’ve Gone to the Tots

It’s feeling like fall in Colorado today and I’m looking forward to walking through the piles of gorgeous leaves that will gather in the next few weeks. Children playing in leaves. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®As the temperature is dropping, my workload is growing. Which is great – but going from a busy, relaxed pace to an overworked-no-weekends race is definitely a bit jarring. My ability to be creative is slightly wrung out, too.

While there’s no shortage of books, articles and blogs about being more creative, I’m actually turning to two of my nieces for help. They are ages two and three, a devilish duo buzzing with energy and imagination. This summer they visited us in Denver and it was the first time we hosted kids in the new apartment. We were as prepared as we could be – which meant we weren’t even close to predicting what these tots could do.

Upon arrival – after an eight-hour car ride – they both tore through the open floor-plan apartment. One threw herself face-first over the back of our cushy chair. Then she belly flopped onto the leather ottoman – repeatedly. Her sister ran along a wall, twisting every stereo knob and punching every button she could find. Then they chased each other under the dining table, pretending to be kittens as they wound themselves through the chair legs. I could go on and on, but this is a good glimpse of their whirlwind.

My point? My nieces inspired me. I watched in awe as they explored with complete abandon. They weren’t hampered by rules or subdued by being in an unfamiliar environment. They turned things upside down, examining them from every angle.

I’m going to approach my work like my nieces – untethered and completely curious about “what can this do?” A new perspective to be more creative.

  • Breaking rules. When done right, breaking a rule can be the perfect choice to deliver a strong message. The key is to let myself play with the rules – and avoid letting them deter me from exploring and imagining.
  • New perspective. Who says an ottoman can’t be a swimming pool? When a client gives me a product or an idea to write about, I need to play with it. I can turn it upside down or open it up – and not be afraid of breaking it or doing something “wrong.”
  • Get giddy. Instead of always trying to produce the perfect first draft, I’ll play more. Even if I don’t give that draft to a client, I will approach it with more joy, more abandon. I’ll run through words with the same glee that my nieces zipped through my apartment.

What about you? What helps you refresh your creativity? How do you recharge when a project feels like a brain drain – and you’ve got revisions due?

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