Ruth Carmichael Ellinger
THE INSPIRED WRITER – FIRW WORKSHOP 2015
Ten ways to Spark your Creativity
1. Understand Where Inspiration Comes From
The first thing we need to recognize is that God is the basis of all inspiration. If we keep this in mind, we can count on Him to move through us as we write for Him. Inspirational writing expresses the writer’s thoughts and feelings in an inspiring, imaginative, moving, and thought provoking way. Everything we see in this world; in nature, in people we know or meet as we journey through life, experiences we have, all truth and beauty in words and actions come from the One who created all things. There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding. Job 32:8.
Inspiration is innately there, but sometimes, it rises and falls with our immediate circumstances and moods. When inspiration lags, what can we do?
2. Begin to Brainstorm!
I keep a digital file and hardcopy notebook filled with ideas for every writing project. If you are writing fiction, jot down your ideas into one document, describe the characters, their strengths and weaknesses. Research the setting. When you feel dull and unimaginative, go to your notebook and talk to your characters. It won’t be long until they start talking back! Talk aloud to God about your subject.
Get His opinion. I find this very effective and inspirational.
For nonfiction, read all you can about your subject and search for the hidden, often neglected details that will make the read unique and interesting. Nonfiction can be dry and boring if the presentation has not been adequately and creatively written with a good amount of pizazz and energy. Read other writer’s articles on the subject to spark your own personal writing style. We are often inspired by other writers and their shared writing tips.
Brainstorm with other writers about your project and listen to their suggestions and ideas.
3. Keep a Notebook
Tuck a small notebook in your purse, by your bed, in the car, and by your desk. When an inspiration comes, jot down your idea before in is lost. This will add to your creativity by knowing you don’t have to run and find pen and paper and in your sidetracked search…you forgot that divine spark you were thinking would work so well. You can also have a note list on your phone or iPad to keep thoughts and ideas to read later.
4. Prepare an Adjustable Outline
If you’re writing a longer book, create an outline so you can add or remove your ideas on the subject or plot. Thinking an entire book through from beginning to end will zap your creativity and you may become overwhelmed. Work on one chapter at a time, split the scenes or topics into complete ideas. Focus on that one vital point you wish to make.
If one chapter is about finding a lost love, (fiction), or surviving a divorce, (nonfiction), don’t feel you must include all the details at once. You will frustrate your inspiration. As the story unfolds, details can be added in smoothly and naturally as the project progresses.
5. Research Inspires
There is nothing like visiting your book’s setting or interviewing a real live person about their life experience to get your creative juices flowing. I am always inspired by my field trips and can’t wait to get home to write down what I have learned. Talking with people who are knowledgeable on your subject is far more inspiring than reading about it from a flat and lifeless printed page.
6. Thinking about Writing
One thing that zaps your inspiration and creativity, often sending you onto side roads, is spending huge amounts of time just thinking about writing, and reading about writing, and then not writing. There are many valuable tools out there that benefit writers and certainly writing conferences are inspirational, but when you go home—write.
Stop thinking about writing and WRITE! The more you think about it, the more you will delay writing. Clear your mind, stop obsessing and just write. There will be time to sort out details when the manuscript is finished. The when to write, where to write, why to write, who to write about, who will publish it, who will read it, etc. etc. Just write!
7. Despise Not the Day of Small Beginnings
Have Reasonable Expectations. If you feel your writing project must be on the New York Times best seller list and reach millions of readers, your expectations will worry away your inspiration. Stop trying to write the perfect novel or most insightful nonfiction ever written. Realize that God has chosen you to write for Him, not for fame or fortune. If that happens—fantastic!
Your writing project will reach those for whom God has intended. With this in mind, inspiration for your project won’t be dampened by failed expectations. The biggest obstacle to becoming an inspired writer is in your own mind. Don’t allow negative thoughts to diminish your motivation and be content with small beginnings.
8. Writing Freedom!
The writing process is a form of personal freedom. I read this somewhere and realize it is true. Writing what we feel frees us from the maddening crowd that surrounds us. Gone are the inhibiting politically correct real people we interact with every day. Our book characters can act with freedom. We are free to express our opinion on nonfiction subjects. Not that we throw caution to the wind, but we are free to express in writing, our true inner self with unconstrained freedom. How inspiring is that?
9. Write Something Ridiculous!
If writing has become a mere exercise, a task that must be done, your inspiration will wane. If you find this is your case, lay your project aside for a few days or weeks. Begin a new and different writing project. Have fun with it! Write poetry, play with words, write something totally ridiculous, and then come back to where you were bogged down. You may see your present project in a different light. You will have fresh inspiration to move forward. Somehow, this “break” from the normal just seems to work. It lightens and relieves your mental slump and brings renewed motivation.
10. Personal Success
Don’t struggle over a fellow writer’s success. Envy and jealousy is damaging to your own success and stops the flow of inspiration. Self-doubt will enter and your unique writing style will seem small and insignificant if you are continually comparing yourself to other writers.
Move forward with the talent and ability God has given you. Blowing someone else’s candle out won’t make yours shine brighter, so be content in the writing place that is yours alone. It is a special place that only you can fill. You are wonderful in God’s sight. Now…write!