Finding Creativity in the Writing Process
When I think of a process, I think of steps to follow, but writing is often circular instead of linear. Feel free to jump around the steps to create your own process.
1. Find the time and place
Look at your schedule and create the time to write. For example, setting aside three hours on a Sunday gives me enough time to write a couple of articles. Having a workspace you enjoy writing in is also helpful.
2. Set your writing goal for the session
Decide what to do during that time. Do you want to write an article or a scene in a novel? I set my goal in terms of word count, 300 words at a time. You can also choose a goal in terms of time, for example, 30 minutes per writing session.
3. Set yourself up for success
It feels like a great accomplishment to reach my 300-word goal. If more words come, I can use them, but I set myself up for success from the start by choosing an attainable word count.
4. Choose what to start with
In fiction writing, such as stories and novels, you might start with a list of characters and events. For non-fiction, such as personal essays and blog posts, you probably start with a topic in mind.
5. Trigger your creative process
You can come up with ideas when looking out the window, having a conversation, or working on something else. Capture those fleeting ideas in a notebook or digital file so that you don’t forget. Reading your notes might help you come up with even more ideas to write about.
Once you know what you are going to write, a brainstorming session will allow you to see possibilities. For example, use your main idea to think of details to include, examples, stories, and words you would like to use. You may also explore new ways of conveying your message.
7. Play with your words
There’s much back and forth between writing, editing, and polishing. I prefer not to delete until I am sure I really won’t need those words. In fact, I usually cut the words and paste them at the end of the document instead of deleting them because I never know if they will come in handy later in the article. When I am done with the article, I cut and paste whatever I didn’t use and save it in a separate document to use in a different piece of writing. Another idea is to use conclusions as introductions and vice versa to see where the writing takes you.
Creativity in writing comes from the story you tell, how you tell it, and even from the words you choose. Writing can feel like babbling at first, but once the ideas are on paper or on the screen, you edit until the message feels complete and coherent.
Sometimes, creativity comes when you sit down to write, rather than waiting for inspiration.