Curiosity is the number-one trait all writers should rely on to find ideas and get their stories written, but sometimes writers aren’t in touch with their curiosity and so their creative centers (creative wells) dry up.
In this blog post I discuss the concept of “filling your well” so that you can create from a state of abundance rather than lack and I share a creativity challenge for all writers so that you can use curiosity to start filling your well.
Curiosity is a live wire. Touch it, and sparks fly. Leave it alone, and you forget it’s there. Trust me, writers want the sparks to fly. Pay attention to what arouses your curiosity, explore the possibilities, wonder and ask questions.
This is how writers begin. This is how they find story ideas, which by the way are always around you and within you.
ACTION & OBSERVATION
We gather story ideas through taking action and making observations because inspiration is a natural part of our world. All you have to do is step outside and make a connection to something. Ditch the earbuds and bring a notebook and pen. Anything that catches your attention tells you that there’s something meaningful there. You don’t have to know what that meaning is. Just jot down what you observed, what made you curious, and keep going.
The above is something you can do every single day and there is no suitable excuse to not do it. If the weather or illness prevents you from getting outside, then do your exploring inside. Just sit in a favorite room and pick an object. Without touching it, ask yourself what it smells like, where it came from, who does it belong to, was it a gift and do you like it or hate it? Why is the object important to you or to someone else? Allow your mind to drift into attaching a character or history or setting or conflict to it.
FILLING YOUR CREATIVE WELL
Have you ever tried an activity just to see what it was like? You didn’t know if you’d be any good at it, didn’t know if you’d have fun, didn’t know if it would be worth your while—you just tried it for the heck of it.
That was you being curious.
Did you do anything with it from there?
Story ideas grow when we nurture our curiosity. This concept of “filling your well” is important because it's easier to create from a state of abundance rather than a state of lack. You won't struggle or stress over not having any ideas if your well is full.
You're off to a good start when you're curious about something, but how far are you willing to stretch it? And how do you apply it to your creative life?
Step 1. Pick 30 different activities from the list provided (or use your own ideas).
Step 2. Engage in each activity you picked at least once over the course of 90 days.
Step 3. Journal your experience with the activity and consider the following questions:
- How did you feel before you began activity?
- What benefit do you hope to gain from performing activity?
- Is this a brand-new activity to you, or have you performed this in the past?
- If in the past, why didn’t you keep up with it?
- In what ways do you think you could use this specific activity to improve your creative impulses?
- Can you write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) based on your experience?
Step 4. Spend some time with your writing project every day over the 90-day period for a minimum of fifteen minutes.
Step 5. After each writing session, reflect in your journal how things are going for your creative self. What are you noticing?
IDEAS FOR FILLING YOUR CREATIVE WELL
Hot air balloon ride
Learn to fly a plane
Boating (sailing/kayaking/canoeing/speed boating)
Playing a sport
Learning a sport
Coaching a sport
Playing an instrument
Learning a new language
Working with animals
Working with children
Working with the elderly
Decorating your house for the season or a special occasion
Cleaning your garage/basement/attic
Organizing photos/recipes/old papers
Planting a tree
Helping a neighbor
Picking up litter in your town
Going to the movies
Keep that creative spark alive and read on to help you get started with your writing!