Elf sorts his baubles
At this time of year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a million things other than writing. If you get a break from over-eating, over-drinking and over-preparing for Christmas then how do you make the best of that time for creativity?
I have some thoughts on this.
It’s my belief that creativity works best if you approach it from different angles.
There’s the part where you need fresh ideas. Key to this is input. Whether you take some of the ideas we’ve blogged about before, and get your friends to join in the fun, or whether you just go to different places and look at different things, you will definitely need input. Tricks for making this happen can include travelling a familiar journey by a different route and so on. Collaborating with another person turns out to be one of the best ways. The trouble is, that so much of what we find ourselves doing around Christmas is based on ritual and habit, that it might not be an ideal time for coming up with brand new ideas.
That brings us to the second part, where we take ideas and percolate or develop them into something coherent. I think there’s lots to do with this one, even when we’re busy. If you can get into the right, problem-solving frame of mind for this, then your clever subconscious does a lot of the work for you, while you’re not even looking. Ritual and familiarity can even help. Something that fills your physical senses but lulls your mind into a free-ranging “zone” is what you’re after. You can get there with physical exercise, churning up and down a swimming pool, doing length after length, you’re occupying your whole body, but what else is your mind going to do? Solve all of your problems, that’s what. You can get there in a carol concert or a rock concert too. Conversations or other distractions are not an option, and when you’re surrounded by loud, familiar sound then your brain can go off and do its magic.
The way to tap into this, I find, is to be quite clear what you want to do. Spend a bit of effort framing it into a question or a problem. Even say it out loud, “I want to find a way to kill a vicar in my scene that is not going to result in a thunderbolt from above. And might even be funny. Please.”
Then your mind knows what it’s got to work on. Trust it.