Sparking Writer Creativity


Recently while working on a writing project, I lucked into a surprise surge of creativity. The long-scheduled patio project taking place in my yard brought out three special days sure to be embraced by any writer. As I witnessed the father and son craftsmanship with slate and sand, a boost of  their enthusiasm and imagination blew my way. I didn’t recognize the connection at first, but took advantage of it as soon as I was aware of the spontaneous dancing between our two projects.

The Cooper stone masons, oblivious of my pecking at the laptop, helped me immeasurably. Their painstaking precision with several levels positioned just so, pieces of slate cut exactly to complement its stone neighbors, a piece here and there ever-so-slightly shifted after careful observation from all angles—a writing workshop just for me! As the simple, beautiful patio took shape, the writer peeking out the window found her groove as well.

Thinking back, I realize that I’ve subconsciously sought out creative juices for a long time—while immersed in my writing I would make a point to study a carpenter at work or hang around jazz musicians at practice, for example. Overdue landscaping tasks would suddenly grab my attention, I see now, so that the care and expertise of my gardener friend might carry over into my writing. Listening as a gourmet cook chops leeks and his  fresh ingredients sizzle, preparing a feast without relying on a recipe, he unknowingly supplies encouragement for me to find my words.

Some more obvious writer’s aids always jump-start creativity. My writer friend Andy and I count on a surge after every one of our monthly afternoon conversations, free-for-alls without agenda—just the energy of the conversation raises the bar. Also, reading good writing while writing oneself provides stimulation. But I’ll continue to seek as needed this inspiration by association from other fields, and heartily recommend it for any writer. It's especially refreshing to leave the written word behind temporarily, relaxing while buoyed by seemingly unrelated expertise.

How about tracking tree surgeons on the job? Talking with a computer scientist about the unique language used in that discipline? Figuring out the strategy behind a quick move made by a good chess player?

Surrounding yourself with creative activity, regardless of your field, stokes the fires. Creativity creates creativity!