Can you guess what these three rules are? I bet you can!
I stumbled upon this quote on Pinterest fairly recently:
And it really got me thinking. One of the things I enjoy the most about writing is the freedom it grants me. People can always suggest criticism and ways to improve my writing, but ultimately (for better or for worse) I get to decide how and whether to take that advice. Similarly, a writer can make a list of rules that works in their writing practice, but the sky’s really the limit in how you create a compelling story. I think this image sums it up quite nicely:
Every writer has their own method for getting their words down. Here are my own three “rules” for writing:
1. Trust your gut
Not sure which direction you want to take in a story, or debating whether to change your story based on a critique? I find that going with my gut instinct can guide me in these situations. Sometimes you’ll just know if a certain possibility doesn’t feel right for what you want to achieve in your story. In the case of criticism, it’s important that you make these considerations only after you’ve had the chance to get over your initial reaction to receiving criticism to determine its value in improving your writing.
2. Fill Your Mental Buffer
I recently experimented with BufferApp, a tool that lets you schedule social media posts in advance. Buffer has this nifty feature where you get an email if any of the buffers, or queues, for your social media profiles are empty. I like to think of feeding my imagination/creativity in a similar manner. I constantly seek out books not only in my genre, but in other areas that pique my interest, and nonfiction titles to help improve my craft. Even though I’m a writer, I feed my imagination not only with the written word, but also images (part of why I love Pinterest), playlists of music that suit the mood of what I’m writing at the moment or evoke strong emotion, and movies with compelling stories. Feeding my imagination fills my mental buffer and provides inspiration for the stories that I write.
3. Give Your Mind a Break
A Psychology class I took in college discussed methods for effective decision-making. My professor described studies that found that people tend to make better decisions when they deliberately think about the problem and then take a break to give their unconscious mind the time to work the problem out. When they came back to the problem, they often made better decisions.
Similarly, if you hit a difficult patch in a story that you’re writing, it may actually be counterproductive if you spend ALL of your time trying to figure out a solution. After thinking for the problem for a bit, be sure to give yourself a break: go for a walk, watch a movie, or sleep on it. When you come back to solve the problem, you may discover a new solution waiting for you.
What are your three rules to creativity in wherever your passion lies (writing, arts, etc.)?
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