It occurred to me the other day that one of the reasons why I might be having trouble producing work outside of the Four Year Project is because I haven’t done anything altogether creative since graduating college. So, I started brainstorming ideas that could help me look at things in a more unique perspective. The words ‘voice’ and ‘perception’ and ‘fresh’ rolled around in my head. Voice is something I feel like I’ve lost over the last year in my creative writing pieces, and I very much want it back. My voice and perspective were two of the things that used to delight my professors in my pieces whether it was creative or academic, and it’s disheartening knowing that I’ve loosened those reigns on myself. Here are some ideas that I came up with that could help, not just open my creative brain more, but get my brain working in general so that I can hopefully start generating more ideas for stories and other writing endeavors. This will be split into two posts. Come back tomorrow for four more ways I’d like to start living creatively!
1. Learn a new word every day.
In one of my favorite books, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, the main character, Mattie Gokey, closes her eyes and randomly picks a word out of her dictionary every day. She must memorize the word’s definition and use it in at least one sentence before the day is over. (As a side note, I would also like to pick back up the habit of writing down all of my favorite words and new words that sound interesting in the small composition notebook my First-Year English professor gave me as part of a class gift at the end of the semester.)
2. Re-evaluate my use of Instagram.
No offense to people who use Instagram to take pictures of themselves, but as someone who has used Instagram to take pictures of herself and who sees it in her newsfeed whilst perusing follower’s latest uploads, I must admit that the, um, “self-portraits,” we’ll call them, get old fast and start to make people look vain. I guess it’s different if someone is capturing a beautiful/interesting/moving picture of you alone or you and someone else and the frame in itself is breathtaking, but I always feel strange when taking a picture of myself and then putting it on Instagram. It makes me feel that much more self-absorbed than I already am, and that’s something I’m trying to rid myself of.
With all of that being said, I read a few articles on how to spruce up your Instagram feed with tutorials, tips, and focusing on making your Instagram feed a “story.” I don’t want the story I tell you to be full of “Hey, look at me! Aren’t I cute and awesome and PAY ME ALL THE ATTENION!” No. I want my pictures to show you how I see things.
3. Work on my poetry.
I am by no means a poet. Writing good poetry has always been something I’ve struggled with. I like to be loquacious and flesh out the ideas that come to my head. They naturally start molding themselves into book-length format. When I was in college, and maybe it was all the literature I had to read and dissect in English classes, but song lyrics would randomly make their way to my mind, and I would usually repeat the song out loud over and over until I had it memorized and could write it down. For some reason, the lyrics I would come up with would always sound like they were the chorus of a song.
My goal here is to start writing poetry. It’s a scary thought, as I know next to nothing about poetry, (I know, I know – how could I have been an English major and be so interested in creative writing and not know a thing about poetry?), but I’d like to learn and start sharpening my poetic prowess. I read in an article recently that reading poetry before bed can do wonders for the creative thinker.
4. Write one sentence a day that focuses on voice and perspective.
I did this yesterday. I was gazing out the window at work at a moment the wind kicked up and brushed along a bunch of curled up, brown leaves over the ground. Something about the image stirred me, and I got the idea that the little brown leaves looked like little brown feet. So, this is what I wrote: “I like when the wind blows and the leaves look like little feet running to see friends.” Now, I could probably do a lot better with this sentence in revision: I like when an autumn wind blows — the curled brown leaves are like little brown feet running to meet friends. Or, some such. Who knows? You might see that line in one of my stories someday. I rather like it. The little brown leaves actually reminded me of scurrying hobbit feet for some reason. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m actually reading The Hobbit right now.
If you thought some of these ideas might work for you, I would love if you came back tomorrow to check out the last four ideas I have for kick-starting a new creative lifestyle. Thanks for reading!