How to not get “Tangled” up in structure and embrace the creative
the most creative and inspiring ideas come from the brainstorming that occurs
when we just write. I have set a timer for 15 minutes and am hoping to write
this post in that amount of time; I will post it immediately after.
ask? Well before you get scared and run away from this post, you should know
that this post is not meant to necessarily be insightful in itself, but rather
challenge you to read between the lines. Too often we try and stifle the flow
of creative energy because we are afraid of what might come out. A creative
idea: ok. Let creativity run free: pandemonium!
are first learning to write, we are taught to put our writing into neat little
organizational charts (my highschool teachers used to call them graphic
organizers). Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying structure isn’t important, but
sometimes you just have to let the ideas flow to allow them to reach their full
Case and point: Most of my blog posts. Some may argue that they are
often tangential, preachy, or just plain inaccurate, but I would argue that
every time I write a post, it is a creative expression and THAT is my primary
important to me that as our readers you get the honest truth about how we feel.
So we’re not experts-we don’t claim to be- we are just people who enjoy writing
and enjoy our lives as writers, and we want to share our experiences and
thoughts with you. The best and most honest way I know how to do that is to not
over think my posts. Little energy goes into structuring or planning my posts
(as you can probably tell), but I hope that doesn’t detract too much from the
amidst the ramblings (maybe very deep… I advise occasional use of a magnifying
glass), is how I truly feel and maybe even a touch of insight. It is important
that you allow yourself to take these opportunities as well during your
creative process. Admittedly I have the luxury of being able to sit down and just
write whatever comes to mind (within reason), and that is not always the case
when you’re trying to get published.
Publishers often have strict guidelines or
expectations of your writing and I would never suggest you jeopardize your
potential at publication because you just want to publish some 15-minute rant.
However, maybe in the early stages you should be more open to exploring where
your mind can take an idea.
mean by this is that we are taught to structure our writing first: put all our
major points down into our neat little boxes that line up in sequential order
so that there is a “logical” flow. To that I say: where do those neatly boxed
ideas come from? In my experience, whenever I sat down to write in those boxes
of our graphic organizers, I would be stuck.
“Writer’s block” took hold and was
resilient. There I was staring at a box that said “Characters” and I couldn’t
put anything in it. Who did I want to be in my story? How would they act? Would
they be a boy or a girl or a man or a woman or a dog? Do they have a family or
It would take me so long to
write anything down. So I tried a new approach.
I filled in my graphic organizer (that I really was only doing because it was
being graded), I would take time to just write. I would start with the first
name that came to my mind let’s say… “Gilbert,” and I would just start a
sentence. Like magic I would see Gilbert take shape before my very eyes (admittedly in the proofreading stage
Gilbert’s name may or may not be changed…). I am not saying this is the most
complete or cohesive way to create an idea, but creativity is a dynamic
process, it is not finite.
It cannot happen sequentially because there is no
anticipating where it will go or how much information may be generated. When we
spoke of the neurobiology of creativity last week this hopefully became
somewhat apparent. True creativity is unpredictable because you don’t know how
or what is being created until it is made and you see the output.
your writing, take time before you start putting ideas down categorically to
let your creativity flow. There is that phrase “Get the creative juices
flowing,” which to me isn’t the most pleasant phrase because I picture a brain
convulsing in a vat of semi-translucent fluid, but it rings true. You must give
your creativity a chance to form before imposing limits or expectations on it.
there you have it: My post. It’s not much, but it is unedited, unplanned, and
hopefully not too unintelligible. I figure, if you’re going to give people
advice, you should probably follow it yourself. So… 16 minutes later and these
are my raw and honest musings on creativity, and the importance of letting
unadulterated creativity flow before shackling it to structure.