At BlissDom 2013 author and speaker Jon Acuff said that 3 stages of creativity are imagining, capturing and executing your ideas. To be creative you need to give yourself time to think. And then time to capture and refine your ideas, polishing them. But that isn’t enough. Enough is when you take time to bring those thoughts, ideas and imaginings to life.
As a writer I rely on my imagination, which springs to life when I read what others have written and when my mind has time to wander, something I don’t let it do often enough. And sometimes I get distracted, which prevents me from bringing my ideas to life as a blog post or short story. Imaginings are the “breadcrumbs that lead you back to an idea,” according to Jon. Once you have the kernels of ideas, then you capture the good ones in a useable way. But Jon stressed that it isn’t enough to image and capture: You need to execute. And that’s also where life — and perhaps my own fears? — get in the way.
Do you, like me, think that sitting around doing “nothing” is bad? Jon
said insisted that as a writer you need to block out time to brainstorm. And he stressed that your mind should be allowed to wander, on its own or using magazines, newspapers and other written words as prompts; he said this stage is about the quantity (think lots) of ideas you generate, not their quality. It’s about production.
He said, “Fill your bucket of ideas.” How do you do that?
- Treat your thinking time like an important appointment, an unbreakable appointment with your creative self.
- Find your time, your space and get comfortable.
- Write down everything, even if it’s a mere snippet of a thought.
- Consider having an idea budget. Jon suggested $50; from it, buy newspapers, magazines and things that inspire you. Read them. Use them to spark your creativity.
After you’ve filled your bucket to overflowing with ideas, you need to organize and refine them. How do you do that?
- Get organized. Create an editorial calendar. Know your topic before you sit down to write.
- Match your energy to your task. When you’re in a high-energy period (which is only 60-90 minutes a day, according to Jon.) refine your ideas into stories, posts, a book chapter.
- Fight on-line distractions (Pinterest, anyone?). Turn off your email alerts and other blipping sounds. Shut down your internet. Focus.
And when it’s time to execute? How do you do that?
- Write what you know; you are an expert. Write about what really matters to you.
- Make sure you are honest when you share yourself, your emotions, your experiences. Go first and put yourself out there. Give your readers the opportunity to go second.
- Work in an element of surprise … think of creative ways to capture your reader’s attention.
And most important? Don’t give in to fear. Of success. Of failure.
Looking Forward: “The Road to Awesome and Fighting Fear”