Five Ways to Get Your Creative Thoughts Flowing

Girl writing with a coffee
Category: Writing

Claire Wingfield is a woman who knows the business of writing. Lucky for us, we were able to track her down and get her top five tips for keeping the writing flowing. 

 

Take Action

Plot. This happens and so this happens. So often writing is a sedentary activity and yet within any narrative, action is crucial.  

If your writing life is feeling sluggish, consider your engagement with the outside world. When did you last take true action: standing up for what you believe in, acting to make a positive impact on the world around you?  

To write well, we need to feel powerful.   

In your writing: always be aware of whether your characters are being active or passive at any point in the story. A common reason for readers not feeling strongly enough about a central character is a protagonist who is too passive. The events of the story appear to happen to her, and she takes little action to change things. Beware giving all the power to characters other than your protagonist(s), or worse, creating a whole cast of passive characters.   

Move

Take your writing somewhere new. Write outside or on the bus or in a waiting room. Seek out a dramatic landscape to replenish your creativity. Recall your first passion for writing and refuse to get stuck at your desk!  

Take your writing somewhere new

In your writing: consider livening up a troublesome scene by moving its location. Consider the locations you are inviting your reader into: do they deliver what is promised by genre/title? Will you quench a thirst for adventure, introduce new lands, or write about well-known places with a newcomer’s eye? We talk of writers’ retreats; consider your novel as your reader’s retreat. Where can you take them?  

Indulge Your Passions

...Especially those you have neglected.  

In your writing: make sure you know what each character's biggest passion is. Pay attention to how this influences perspective. Try writing a scene in which your character’s passion is never directly mentioned, but comes across in the words chosen, the jokes told, the decisions made.  

Dream

If life feels so busy you have no time to dream, how will you sustain your characters? We need time to breathe life into fiction, one of the great unhurried arts. We also need to be bold and brave, in the way our dreams encourage us to be.

In your writing: trim away unnecessary distraction (for some of us this might mean limiting social media use, for others eschewing a commitment you have little enthusiasm for) and use the time to daydream. Pick a daily chore and use this time to explore your characters’ daydreams. What are these dreams and where do they take your characters? How do they change as time passes?

We need to be bold and brave, in the way our dreams encourage us to be

Play

Feeling terrible that you are taking longer than expected to complete a scene, or your latest novel draft? Take the pressure off and play. Play takes us away from everyday stresses and rejuvenates our creativity. Play builds resilience by lifting our spirits and allowing us to see things differently. With a playful mindset, we can become less attached to the words on the page, more able to take risks and make changes, more able to take on feedback in a constructive manner.

In your writing: where do we see your characters being playful? If there isn't much of this in your novel, consider if a scene that's been causing you difficulty might be structured around a game or include the idea of play in another way. If you like this idea but can't find a way to include it in your novel, consider writing the scene as an 'extra' you might use to promote your novel - for example, by offering as a free e-book, thus including your virtual shelf-space, or on your author website, or by selling it as a short story to a magazine. Or just write the scene for fun, and see how it impacts on your draft.  

 

Once you've got the writing flowing, get advice on writing a short story, or getting that action scene just right

Claire Wingfield

Claire Wingfield is a freelance editor, literary consultant and author of 52 Dates for Writers - Ride a Tandem, Assume an Alias, and 50 Other Ways to Improve Your Novel Draft. Claire has also just launched an online book marketing course and is currently mentoring on the Scottish Book Trust New Writers' Awards.

You can buy '52 dates for Writers...' here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D9NRF8U and sign up to Claire's monthly writing e-newsletter, as well as a free novel-writing course, here: http://www.clairewingfield.co.uk.