5 Tips For Writers to Boost Creativity

Creativity has many definitions but when it comes to writing it often refers to the innovative use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.

Whenever we write we’re creating something, but our level of innovation may feel like another matter.

Some days we feel the muse with us, but on other days, weeks and months even, we remain in pursuit of “creativity”.

On our worst days, we’re very good at admonishing ourselves for our lack of creativity and wonder if it will ever arrive or return to us.

The good news is that you can stop wondering. There are lots of things we can do to boost our creativity.

Creativity: Is it Innate or Acquired?

Creativity has been labeled as something innate, but the truth is, creativity is actually a skill that can be enhanced by challenging yourself to go beyond your capabilities.

Here are some techniques you can use to foster your creativity.

1. Restrict yourself

Have you read about Dr Seuss and how Green Eggs & Ham came about? This famous story is said to have been written after Dr Seuss accepted a bet that he couldn’t produce a story using less than 50 words. Of course he proved it was possible with the wildly successful Green Eggs & Ham.

You can mimic Dr Seuss’ success by placing restrictions on yourself. For instance, entering writing competitions with set themes or prompts can help focus your writing and force you to be creative.

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

2. Re-conceptualise any problems

Attributed to Einstein is a saying that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and leave the remaining 5 minutes to think about solutions.  

Creative people often reconceptualise problems a couple of times before they start a creative task.

It is better to rethink any problems from different perspectives instead of being fixed on one solution or the end goal.

3. Monotask

It has been shown that people are terrible at creating a new work when they are preoccupied with a lot of other things. This scenario happens when you are attempting to multitask. It is best to not interrupt yourself as you start working on your writing projects.

Even if you only have 5 or 15 minutes to write at a time, for that short period be focused on the writing and nothing else.

If ideas come to you when you are doing something else – and they often do – take down notes in an app, your phone or jot it down on paper.

In fact, when you’re really stuck, it can help to do something completely mundane such as housework, or take a walk or a shower to clear your head. Stepping away from the problem or keyboard for a moment can really increase creativity.

4. Stay Positive

Our best creations often happen when we are in a strong positive mood. Negative moods can inhibit creativity, while the feeling of being happy can fuel our creative minds. Trying to remain positive about your project on the worst days can be challenging, but is necessary to keep moving forward to foster your creativity. Just keep flexing your writing muscle and remind yourself that any words you write are a step closer to your end goal, and better writing days will come.

5. Use counterfactual thinking

Counterfactual thinking or the state of asking yourself the question of “What might have been?” is found to increase your creativity. You can try to take events that have happened in the past (to your characters for example) and re-imagine them in different circumstances. For example, if you are trying to solve a problem, try adding “what if” questions to the elements that could have an effect on the outcome.

As you can see creativity is something you can definitely boost and nurture with a few simple techniques. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get creative.