Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Feeding the Creative Crucible
Creativity and writers ... People used to ask Harlan Ellison where he got his ideas from. He'd say from a little post office in Poughkeepsie (I'm paraphrasing because I read the quote 25 years ago and I have no idea how to spell the place).
But seriously, where do writers get their ideas from? The short answer is everywhere. Ideas aren't the problem. It's finding time to write. And it is finding time to let the ideas percolate in that creative crucible.
I googled creativity and found lots of sites to help generate creativity in the workplace, which is a little different from what we writers do. Here's a site with a post by Jeffrey Baumgartner on 10 steps to boost creativity. I liked numbers 9 & 10.
Stimulate your mind by reading as many books as possible. I'm sure every writer would agree with that one. And exercise your brain. One of his tips on how to exercise your brain was to argue with people. I'm sure he meant debate. I find if I don't get enough brain exercise I start getting edgy and go out looking for mental stimulation.
As a parent of six children, who are all teenagers and early twenty-somethings and who all live at home, I've spent the last 25 years on the run from one thing to another hosing down bush fires.
A lot of people talk about what music they like to listen to while writing. For me the greatest luxury is quiet 'alone' time. That's why I chose the image above. It doesn't have to be a beautiful place, although that helps. It doesn't have to be a seat on the beach, or even a walk along the beach. It just has to be time I spend alone in my head without constant interruptions. Mowing the yard is good. While the mower is going, it's too noisy for my kids to talk to me. And the repetition of walking up and down lets my mind slide away into the realms of free association, which is where I think writers find their creativity.
Where and how do you tap into your creativity?