Our whole creative lives

We are creators. Everything we do in life is a process of creating something, as writers, artists, dancers but in every other job in life there are always creative elements. Indeed, this extends to our lives as a whole and our very existence as humans. We survive best with our creativity utilised, we need to.

An example of a job with creating in it is engineering. This is creating with skills and information, acquired in college or university or through a trade course. If you want to design a new machine, your basic design or prototype is a way of creatively using your engineering skills, using what you know to make the best possible model of your idea.

Or perhaps you’re re-designing the layout of a manufacturing process, same thing, you have the limits of each stage of the process and the product in mind and then you ‘brainstorm’ or ‘think outside the box’ i.e. use your creative juices to break the mould of what has been done before, to come up with a unique way of getting that product made. For example, combining stages, eliminating a stage, look at the start and end of each stage for small changes that can be made, look at the process as a whole to see if stages can be moved around, cut out waste in the process, etc…

As writers, without a doubt we create, and like an engineer, we learn and practice to hone our skills. Some of us do degrees and masters in the craft and some of us come up through the ranks with practice alone, or perhaps through the reading of books about writing or examples of fine writing in themselves.

And like any creative, there are days when we need to mull just that bit longer to solve a problem, for example in writing, we call it writer’s block. As an engineer, you don’t usually get unlimited time to be blocked, there is a deadline, a plan in place that has milestones to be adhered to, so most engineers brainstorm their way out of the block, come up with ideas to use, work the ideas, if stuck again, they brainstorm again and so on. Perhaps this is something that can help us push forward in writing. Brainstorm our way out of being stuck – what’s wrong, what’s not working and why?

We are creative in everything we tackle in our lives, even in the ways we avoid doing things, but like other aspects of our lives, we can use this knowledge to push through moments of struggle to help us put our writing in perspective as just another aspect of us creating something and use skills we may already have to keep our writing going.

The ideal writing notebook

A fancy notebook versus the cheap stuff – if you find that your writing slows down when you’re writing in that beautiful, exquisite writing book, get something cheaper so that you don’t stop writing or hold yourself back.

I’ve tried all sizes. You’ll see which one suits you.

A6 – about the size of your hand

A5 – two hands size

A4 – four hands size

The A5 or A6 is in the handbag.

The A5 or A4 if I’ve got a bigger bag.

The A4 everywhere else: by my bed, on my desk, one for blogging ideas, one for free writing.

The A4 size, I use is wired so that it can be opened up and folded over itself. It’s also punched and perforated so that I can tear out pages and file them: loosely in folders or into lever arch files.

Try every type of notepad. Buy the fancy one first if that’s what gets you writing. Buy some cheap A4 pads as well and put them at your bed and at your pc/laptop/desk. Buy lots of pens too. If you like a particular pen and it helps you write fast – get it.

Where I put my notebooks:

The one in the handbag – for ideas when I’m not at home.

The one next to the bed – for ideas that rush into my mind when I’m trying to get to sleep. Switch on the light and write them down. You won’t remember in the morning.

The one next to the PC/laptop/on the desk – all ideas, anytime

Extra notebooks – label them ‘Free writing’, ‘Blog ideas’, etc…I usually keep these on my desk. Use a separate notebook for diary writing, even though sometimes ideas flow when writing a diary.

 

How to use the notebooks:

Start a new page for every idea. Put a title and date on each page.

Novel idea e.g. group of people in post-apocalyptic world

Short story idea e.g. woman meets man on train

Scene idea e.g. K meets S in boardroom.

Pieces of dialogue

Character ideas

Watching TV or films and you think ‘I would have done it differently’. Write it down.

Anything or anyway else you want to.

 

It doesn’t matter what notebook size you get as long as you write down your ideas and can put your ideas for similar projects together.

This is the first step to putting together your ideas for a novel or a short story or poem, any piece of writing you want to do.

The more you write, the faster the ideas will flow.

P.S. Neat writing is not compulsory.

Free write for 5 minutes

Free write for 5 minutes.

You know what to do. Pick up a pen and a writing pad. Set a timer if you have to.

Anything.

The sky. The room. Thoughts.

Honestly anything.

Do it now. Write something. Before you read another blog.

P.S. That’s the reason that this first post is very short.

P.P.S. Read this post tomorrow. Do what it says. Buy a dedicated notebook if you have to. But today you will write on whatever you can, paperwise.