Tips for finding inspiration and fuelling creativity

Are you looking for inspiration? Feeling a bit short on creativity? Want a bit of a challenge?

Well thankfully, “Creativity is combining two things that already exist but that haven’t been combined before”, to quote Andrew T Le Peau, (Season 2, Episode 43 of The Habit Podcast) which means that the opportunities for creativity are endless.

“The way we can increase our creativity is by making sure we are increasing the number of different kinds of ideas and associations and experiences and facts that are part of our learning, part of our living. The more input we have then the more opportunity we have for combining things that haven’t been combined before.”

I’ve written more about creativity here, but let’s look at some suggestions for finding inspiration.

Get reading!

Read lots of different types of writing. Even if you wouldn’t normally choose a specific form to write in (like spoken word, experimental poetry or sonnets) you can still learn a great deal from reading or listening to other styles. Find some journals with a very specific focus and read those. A new perspective may fuel your ideas and provoke unexpected associations.

Research new techniques

If you’re reading new poetic forms or styles, look into their structures or conventions. Could you incorporate some of the techniques you find into your own writing style?

Experiment with form

Get experimenting with new poetic forms. You’re not tied to one form. Sometimes the novelty of the form or the challenging technical constraints can stretch you and prompt you to think in unaccustomed ways.

Micropoetry already comes with a restriction in the permitted number of characters. What about haiku or vss or nonet? Or if that is too short and you are up to the challenge, what about a villanelle, a sestina or a pantoum? You can find some other fiendish poetic forms here and here.

There are plenty of writing forms which aren’t poetry. Why not try your hand at flash fiction, songwriting, creative nonfiction (CNF) or free-form writing?

Writing prompts

Lots of accounts on Twitter provide prompts for the writing community who then tweet their own reply to the prompt. For example the Micropoetry Society (@pssms) and #vssnature (@vssnature – vss stands for very short story) both frequently share one words writing prompts. Search #writingprompt for recent examples.

Lit mags may provide writing prompts in line with the theme of their upcoming issue so keep an eye out for those.

Writing workshops

Many workshops are designed to be safe places to experiment and get your creative juices flowing. Whether these involve collaboration with other participants or not, you will very likely encounter different perspectives and ideas that may open up new avenues to explore in your thinking.

Listen to podcasts

The podcast industry is booming right now providing countless opportunities for you to listen in on profound conversations and deep thinkers exchanging ideas (as well as all the lighter conversations and content). I have found the conversations with writers about writing on The Habit Podcast to be consistently challenging, thought-provoking and encouraging.

The podcast doesn’t have to be about writing though! Listen to what interests you and allow that to fire your imagination. You can always review each episode and see where that takes you creatively.

Experience other types of art

Appreciating photography or music or design is a way of soaking up creativity. As is walking outdoors, playing with children, and gardening to mention a few of countless other activities.  

Express your creativity in another area

As humans we designed to express ourselves creatively. We are created to create. If you feel less creative in one area (let’s say writing) just mix it up a bit. Why not pick up a paintbrush? Or try your hand at knitting? Or revamp an old piece of furniture? You might find that giving yourself a bit of a break from writing is exactly what you needed and that the next time you pick up your pen or open up your notes app, inspiration hits and the words just flow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What fuels your creativity and leaves you feeling inspired?

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