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  Stimulate Those Creative Juices
by Lee Masterson

Many writers lament never being able to find enough time to sit down and do what they love best - WRITE! But some of those same writers have a bigger dilemma - when they do finally sit down to write, their creativity just won't shift into gear.

Let's look at things you can do to not only awaken your creativity, but stimulate it so that it's there whenever you need it!


It is a common belief that writers will sit down and write their tales the same way that readers read them - from beginning to end with no stops. If all writers did this, then nothing else would get done!

For the past five days now, I have left the computer permanently switched on and left a Word document open. Whenever I get a free moment, I sit down and continue the story where I left off. Sometimes I'll get four or five paragraphs out - other times I'll get a few pages. I'm on a time-budget, so this is all the time I have to spare.

This approach is effective (for me) because when I sit down at the computer, the compulsion to get on the Internet is driven away by the sight of my work-in-progress staring at me...

Warm Up

If you were to begin an excercise program, the first thing you would learn is to warm up those muscles before beginning anything strenous.

Your mind is no different.

Before diving straight into your story, take a few moments to scribble out something else - write an email, post something to a discussion group, scribble down some thoughts about what you intend to cover during your next writing session.

Warming-up is a great way to begin any writing session. You will quickly develop a pattern that your mind will recognize as being a prelude to the actual creative work-out

When was the last time you took the time to 'warm-up' your creativity muscles?

Visual Stimuli

Many writers spend a lot of time staring at the blank white word-processing page, waiting for it to magically fill up with black text. Boring!

Create a 'mood-setting' for your words, and watch the tone of your writing reflect the atmosphere on the page.

For example:
I am currently writing a short story that needs an ethereal feel to it. A misty blue background, coupled with the Papyrus font gave me the atmosphere I needed to stay focused - right on my screen!

But when it comes to horror, I prefer the darker, more sinister options that give me the feel for what I'm writing.

Of course, you don't send your story out to editors looking like this. That's the beauty of the word processor. Simply go into the "Edit" menu and choose "Select all" and put it all back to the dull black-and-white when you're done.

Aural Stimuli

Music has the power to invoke the most amazing thoughts, feelings and memories in almost everyone. For a creative person, utilizing the power of music to enhance your writing can be a huge adrenalin kick!

No mood setting is complete without the right sounds. Right now, I have the newest single from the band Live playing through the house. Yes, it's 8 am in the morning, but I'm the only one here and that's the sound I needed to make this piece happen.

Don't be afraid to use music you wouldn't normally listen to. For example, the Eminem CD got me through a quite difficult fight scene where I needed to build a lot of anger. That wasn't easy, as I'm not normally an angry person (and I don't normally listen to Eminem) - but I used the appropriate sounds and colors to keep the tone of the scene focused.

Classical music can be a great stimulus for just about any mood.

Try what works best for you.


Many writers feel that they have certain 'times' in which they work best. For example: I am normally a night owl. My fiction comes out more freely at night, and often I've found myself still tapping away at the computer until 2 am in the morning (even though I'm supposed to be awake and getting ready for work at 8 am).

The reverse is true for non-fiction writing in my case. My mind seems to think in a more logical manner when I first wake up.

What is a writer to do? The obvious answer for me is to wake up an hour earlier than I need to and get those non-fiction ideas down while they are fresh. I also forego the television (and refrain from aimless surfing!) at night in order to let my creative side go wild.

Try to work in the hours that make you feel the most creative.


Word-processors are quickly replacing the good old fashioned pen for many, many people around the world. Just as it is becoming normal to write an email rather than scrawl in a card, it is also becoming standard practice for writers to type out their ideas.

For those writers who can type fast enough to keep up with their thoughts, this can be a great way to get ideas out quickly. But writing your words out in longhand on a notepad can give your writing a different 'feel'.

For example: I can type much faster than I can write - and yet the very act of taking the time to write out a scene slowly with a pen gives a completely different tone to my work. For me, the words are more poignant and the ideas more solidly drawn. For some reason, my longhand work requires a little less editing than my typing.

Perhaps this is because my mind is racing ahead while my hand struggles to keep up, giving me plenty of time to plan what will happen next?

No matter which method you use, always remember that you are the master of your own writing career. Whatever awakens your creativity can only be a good thing!

Copyright 2003 Lee Masterson. All right reserved.


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