Ideas come in and out of my head all the time. In fact between my crazy waking dreams and fitful nightmares I am hard press not to have ideas. But actually putting them to this blog, or in a document seems to be a huge problem. It is something I deal with all the time just like everyone else. But I have found a way to overcome my limitation. Hence another article today! All from my head.
Currently I am working on my second novel, doing revisions and edits. Getting to the actual editing for me was the hard part. Edits and rewrites I can do much easier. Binding all my thoughts into one single focused story is a pain in my side. I do my best to stay humble in this endeavor. Writing is not easy, nor will it ever come easy. Mentally it is much like spring cleaning your house with your shoes untied. Or better yet pushing that proverbial rock of Sisyphus up a hill, not sure where the actual top is.
But writing is what I need to do. So jump-starting my imagination is top priority. Writing to me is much like breathing. If I am not doing it I feel like crap. I get moody and become an unlikable sort of individual. If you are a creative type, this includes game masters and other forms not normally considered, you need fuel for your fire. I will give you a few tips on what I do in order to spark my creativity. Maybe it will help. Maybe you will tell me to go jump off a cliff. Maybe I won’t care…
So here goes.
- Reading: Sounds obvious right? But reading the right article, picking up that great book or finding the right written poem can make a difference between just regurgitating the claptrap being tossed around the internet and growing wings to soar into the creative clouds of imagination. When I speak of reading, read the right things that speak to your heart. Find something that will challenge your view and digest it. Change your perspective. Shake things up when you read. You can get inspiration from the mundane or the exotic but it must speak to your soul. If you are in a rut, try and read a different subject. Or if you find that too many ideas are crowding your head, focus on one to a pinpoint. Do not be afraid to adjust your perspective. Reading is all about interpreting and generating thoughts internally from another source your eyes happen to be pouring over.
- Physical Activity: Sometimes my best thoughts come on my daily walks. You do not have to lift weights or run ten miles a day to find that perfect thought. But moving your body does something to ‘wake us up’. I do my morning routine of stretches and morning exercise. My best thoughts come when I am doing something else and I stepped away from reading. Reading helps me get the initial spark going, physical activity lets it stew inside. Yoga and Meditation are two other physical activities I highly recommend. But do something. Our bodies are made to move around so do something.
- Diet/ keeping even is key: My improved diet has helped me greatly. Staying away from lots of unhealthy foods has helped me to focus my thoughts. I quit smoking and threw out dairy (for the most part) and limited my caffeine intake to small doses (1 to 2 cups max). I do a modified protein diet and stay away from too many starches. Yes I still have small amounts of candy but I focus on limiting this amount. Why do I restrict myself? I find that often our body will create chemical reactions that throw us into highs and lows much like drugs. Coming down from a huge caffeine high or sugar rush can be extremely detrimental mentally so it becomes hard to focus. Do your best to let your diet keep you even. Take everything in moderation. Lower your starch intake so you have less sugars made in your body. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Put some type of protein in your diet (even if you are vegan). Focus on getting small highs and small lows. Do not settle for a roller coaster mentally. The bigger the high the harder the fall. So know you are mentally what you eat.
- Finish what you start/ Focus: Sometimes the best way to dive in is just to continue where you left off. Throwing something down to finish the idea is a great way to get moving. Often I will do half a chapter and come back to finish up the great ending the next day. If you are a musician, just throw down the chorus and mess with the lines later. When you do this technique you must get it in your head that leaving something unfinished is the most horrible act you can do. Make it a point of contention with yourself. Mentally challenge yourself to finish what you started. Even if it takes months do it. Another technique I use start writing a new story is creating a single sentence. I focus on this like a lighthouse on a stormy night. Narrowing your focus can spark the perfect creative moment.
One technique I will recommend for creating something new is creation by subtraction. I read about this theory again in a book called The God Theory by Bernard Haisch an Astrophysicist. He speaks of a process in optics where the creation of a color is done by subtracting the other colors from the white light to create the type of light you want. This idea can be applied to many things in life.
In fact creation by subtraction inspired the mechanics behind New Gods of Mankind as I force gods to focus on their domain to create the miracle they desire. A god can create anything if they have the belief. But belief is severely limited by their followers and actions. So in order to create proper miracles, you must focus your will to creating within the confines of your primary domain such as fire.
So focus your thoughts, but find the right thought to focus on. Find your lighthouse in the storm. And make for port.