10 tips for generating creativity part 1

You may end up with many of these before you get what you want. Just keep at it!

Writers block can be hard to overcome. Getting a film into production relies on the depth of pre-production, but sometimes finding the will to create in pre-production can be hard. Here’s 10 tips (in no particular order) which I think can really help that:

1. Throw away the guilt. That is something that gets me a lot. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to create. Simple as that. I’ve got a vast number of DVDs and games to watch and play. Don’t feel guilty for watching those instead. They can help generate ideas. If you feel guilty, you generally stay away from them, but you inevitably end up doing something you want to do even less – like checking emails or going on facebook. Then you feel even more guilt about not doing what you want. I know it sound weird, but it’s better for you to storm through that thing you wanted to do before writing. Otherwise, the writing suffers. Just get out of your system!

2. Build up expectations. If you’re trying to write something, the best thing is to provide external expectations. Tell people the story that you’re writing. That way, when they meet up with you next, they’ll ask how it’s going and provide that little extra umph for you to knuckle down – if only to say something other than, “I haven’t really done much”. Besides, the more people you tell, the more excitement there will be of your creation, and more energy you can draw from that.

3. Distractions. Other than those DVD’s on the shelf you really want to watch, you have to figure out what distracts you. I personally found that TV’s and music really distracts me. The Missus is the exact opposite, she can’t work without background noise, or even just music. It’s best to isolate what is distracting – facebook distracting you? Disconnect from the internet. I personally have found that since getting my mobile phone, I’m not at my computer just staring at the screen, waiting for an email or facebook post to arrive. I can get it on the move, and that actually frees me.

Facebook - a great source of distraction

4. Location. Locations can be essential for creativity. You’re more likely to come up with unusual, novel or original ideas when you’re not in your regular place. If you work a lot at home, go out into town. If you’re always in town, get out to the countryside, to the beach, the a museum. Just get out of that comfort zone – it’s not a nurturing environment for mystery. It’s a breeding ground for complacency and the mundane – because you know all there is to know about the places you go regularly.

5. Feedback. When you’ve written something, you need to be strong. Your first instinct is to think of it either too highly, or too lowly. Your work, much like everybody else’s can be better, but it’s never absolute rubbish. Take constructive criticism. Is there something somebody doesn’t understand? It needs to be clearer then. Somebody saw a plot twist coming a mile off? Tone down the foreshadowing. Always remember though, your work is in progress. Even as a video editor, I still have to let go from the tinkering. Eventually, you just have to say enough is enough, and let it go, before you over-engineer your work.

In the next blog post, I will continue 6 to 10. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wait until monday…


2 Comments on “10 tips for generating creativity part 1”

  1. I like these.

    I especially like “expectations” — it can be hard to tell others what you’re working on (and you do need to be smart and strategic about whom to trust in this regard) but I have seen the impetus that comes from others’ excitement and interest. You can get bored or blocked and their enthusiasm can re-boot you.

    My new book came out last week and it meant the world to have a writer friend who emailed me every few weeks simply asking “How’s it going?” When the going got really really tough, I felt brave enough to admit it to him — and his advice was super-helpful as I wrestled with 10 chapters’ worth (!!) of revisions. I needed his confidence in me to find more of my own.


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