As a publisher, creativity is at the very core of what I do. Which is odd, because before I started this business I never saw myself as the creative type. It was something I had to learn to develop and multiply. But how exactly does one cultivate creativity? Today we're going to be examining the inventive process as a whole, and I'll show you how I was able to refine my ability to fabricate something out of nothing.
UNDERSTANDING THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Understanding the creative process is the first step towards finding your muse. Creativity is not a mystical force that only some are blessed with; it is a skill that can be developed and honed over time. Suffice it to say that the machinations which go into every idea you have are far and above what one might describe as complicated. To simplify this process, I have condensed the procedure as much as possible for the sake of brevity.
The creative process begins with observation and curiosity. By paying attention to the world around us, we can find inspiration in the smallest of details. Whether it's taking a walk in nature, observing people in a bustling cafe, or simply reflecting on our own experiences, there is a wealth of inspiration to be found in everyday life. More on that in a moment.
I want to pause here to say that more often than not, I have found inspiration in places that I would never have thought of. The concept that what you most want to find can often be found where you least want to look is actually quite old. There is a phrase that has seen increasing popularity since being revisited by the controversial Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, based on the works and research of Dr. Carl Jung. The phrase is, "Sterquiliniis invenitur," and translates roughly to mean "In the filth, it will be found." Apparently, the origin of the idea is alchemical in nature, though I am unable to produce a literary pedigree for its existence. Regardless of its origin or authenticity, the phrase holds its own when challenged by the realities of life, and deserves a mention. You never know where your next brilliant idea may come from.
FINDING INSPIRATION IN EVERYDAY LIFE
As I previously alluded, creativity can be found in the most unexpected places. By staying open and receptive to the world around us, we can find inspiration in everyday life. The key is to approach each day with a sense of curiosity and wonder, always on the lookout for interesting stories and unique perspectives. This reminds me of a Terry Pratchett quote that we featured a few months ago on the HIP Twitter account. (@HIPHuntsville)
"There's always a story. It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world."
One way to find inspiration is by immersing ourselves in different art forms. Whether it's visiting an art gallery, watching a play, or listening to music, exposing ourselves to different creative expressions can spark new ideas and ignite our own creativity. By stepping outside of your comfort zone and experiencing something new, you can expand your creative horizons. In fact, I didn't discover the significance of experience until I met my wife. She was a travel-type and I was not. Despite my openness to experience I never bothered to explore the world around me. The difference in my own process was immediately palpable following a trip or event. I found it easier to put word to paper, so to speak. Ideas seemed to flow with relative ease compared to before, when every plot point was an uphill climb to incubate ad establish.
Another way to find inspiration is by engaging with our community. By attending local events, joining writing groups, or participating in workshops, we can connect with other creative individuals who share our passion for writing. For some, the intercourse between like-minded individuals can be all the difference while for others - it may be a detriment. Writers are funny like that. Not funny in the sort of way that you may laugh at a comedian, but funny in they way our minds work. For me, writing is a solitary process that requires patience and focus. That may not be the case for yourself however, and I recommend exploring the local opportunities available to you. Collaborating with others can provide fresh perspectives and new insights, helping us to push the boundaries of our own creativity.
Once we have a direction to follow, the next step is to let our ideas flow freely. This means embracing our imagination and allowing ourselves to think outside the box. Understandably, this is much easier said than done. I use several methods to assist in attaining the proper state of mind for writing. Some would call this the flow state. Music, background noise other than speech, smoking, and absolute silence are all tools I use to enter my "flow state," but even so, it can be choppy. The trick is to make sure that you are mentally isolated, eve from yourself. So what do I mean by that?
Not only do I need to be separated from the world around me, but I also need to be separated from my own thoughts and feelings. Flow state is a combination of focus, skill, and absorption, and does not come easily for the artistry of written word. It requires the ability to focus only on the task at hand, skill to perform sufficiently and without hinderance, and absorption into the current workload without consideration for self or the passage of time. Arguably, the best way to prepare for this is by meditating beforehand with an emphasis on separation of mind and body.
Now, if this sounds crazy - because it is - I recommend reading this fascinating paper by Joshua Gold and Joseph Ciorciari, entitled "A Review on the Role of the Neuroscience of Flow States in the Modern World." After all, the more you know about something, the easier it is to manipulate.
Moving on, our best ideas come from taking risks and exploring new territories in our writing. It's important to give ourselves permission to experiment and not be afraid of failure. Read on below to discover the power of avant-garde authorship and how experimental literature has changed the world.
EXPERIMENTATION AND TAKING RISKS IN WRITING
Creativity thrives on experimentation and taking risks. As writers, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and explore new styles, genres, and techniques. It's through this willingness to take risks that we can discover our unique voice and create work that is truly original.
A great way to conduct your own basic experimentation is by trying out different writing exercises and prompts. By challenging ourselves to write in different formats or from different perspectives, we can break free from our usual patterns and discover new ways of expressing ourselves. This can lead to exciting breakthroughs and unexpected creative leaps.
Another point. Mistakes. By allowing ourselves to make mistakes. Failure is not something to be feared, but rather embraced as an opportunity for growth. By giving ourselves permission to fail, we can push past our self-imposed limitations and discover new possibilities in our writing. Every mistake is a chance to learn and improve, so we should not be discouraged by setbacks but rather see them as stepping stones on our creative journey.
COLLABORATING WITH OTHER CREATIVE INDIVIDUALS
I touched on this a bit earlier when I was talking about engaging with the community. Creativity is often sparked through collaboration. By working with other creative individuals, we can tap into a collective pool of ideas and inspiration. Collaborations can take many forms, from co-writing projects to brainstorming sessions with fellow writers. The key is to be open to different perspectives and to value the input of others.
One of the benefits of collaborating with others is the opportunity for feedback. By sharing our work with trusted peers and receiving constructive criticism, we can gain valuable insights into our writing and identify areas for improvement. The input of others can help us refine our ideas, strengthen our storytelling, and push our creativity to new heights. This was actually the subject of last week's article on Scripta. We talked about handling feedback and criticism as well as what those things offer a writer.
Collaborations also offer a chance to learn from others. By observing the creative process of our peers and engaging in discussions about writing, we can expand our own understanding of what it means to be creative. It's through these interactions that we can broaden our horizons and discover new approaches to our craft. I don't often collaborate in this manner, but I assure you, when it works for you - it works.
REFLECTION AND REVISION IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Reflection and revision are essential components of the creative process. Taking the time to reflect on our work allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our own creative process and identify areas for improvement. By stepping back and critically analyzing our writing, we can make informed decisions about what works and what doesn't.
Revision is where the magic happens. It's the stage where we refine our ideas, polish our prose, and elevate our writing to its full potential. In the process of revision, we transform a rough draft into a polished masterpiece. It's important to approach revision with an open mind and a willingness to let go of what doesn't serve the story. I revise nearly everything I write, from articles like this one all the way down to my own text messages. Revision is what separates a mediocre story from a great one. Every word counts for something, so dont waste a single one!
EMBRACING FAILURE AND LEARNING FROM IT
Circling back to the developmental side of things, failure is an inevitable part of the creative journey. It's through failure that we learn, grow, and ultimately find success. As writers, we must embrace failure as a natural part of the creative process and not let it discourage us from pursuing our dreams.
When faced with failure, it's important to maintain a growth mindset. Instead of viewing failure as a personal reflection of our abilities, we should see it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Each setback is a chance to reassess, reevaluate, and come back stronger. By embracing failure and learning from it, we become more resilient and adaptable in our creative pursuits. In short, don't be afraid to tear something down with the intent to rebuild it better than it was!
CONCLUSION: EMBRACING YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY
Cultivating creativity in writing is a lifelong journey. It requires a combination of observation, experimentation, collaboration, reflection, and perseverance. There's nothing to indicate that creativity is an inflexible natural skill with set parameters. With enough time and practice, you'll find that what you call creativity comes second nature. If you know someone who's been writing for a long time, they'll tell you that they don't have a special secret for writing the way they do - it just happens.
Thanks for joining us this week on HIP Scripta. If you were able to glean anything of value from this article please share it with a friend or colleague. We hope to see you again next week! Have a positive and productive day!
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