Monday, May 12, 2014

And now for something completely different…

Sometimes, you need to stretch yourself a little, creatively.

Sometimes, for example, I get out my water colours, and I paint. And – trust me on this – I really, really shouldn’t. But even if the results aren’t fit to be shown in public, and – trust me on this again – they really, really aren’t, working in a different medium is important. It exercises your brain, and forces you to approach the task in a different way. Suddenly you're not thinking about sentences and paragraphs. You're thinking about form and composition and colour. It gives you a different perspective. 


Sometimes, that different perspective is the difference between getting stuck in a rut, or finding a new burst of energy that will carry you through.

So instead of writing a scene, why not try painting it?

This will make you narrow your focus to the one crucial moment in that scene. And it may not be what you thought it was.

Or, instead of writing the scene as prose, write it as a screenplay instead.  

It’s a whole different way or working when you have to carry the entire story with dialogue, and minimal action. Do your characters always say what they mean? Do they mean what they say? And how do you communicate what’s going on under that dialogue?

How about writing the scene as a poem?

A haiku and a limerick might give very different result. As would an epic poem in the Viking tradition. But, you know, everything is better if you add in Vikings.

So, next time you hit a block, or you’re afraid you might, remember to stretch those creative muscles. You’ll find a fresh way to look at your story and, most importantly, you’ll remember how writing is supposed to be fun.


  1. Never tried painting anything, but I just might try that screenplay trick to improve the dialogue.

    And speaking of stretching muscles, it always helps to get out of the chair at times and act out action scenes. No, not those kind of action scenes. : p

    1. Awww... c'mon! Those are the most fun to act out!

  2. This is a nice share! I like to paint and sometimes do it to get away from words. I haven't tried painting scenes from stories, but it's a nice idea. I just find it restful to do something wordless, like painting or gardening, and it almost always refreshes me and recharges my writing "batteries", so to speak.

    1. Painting is a lot of fun. I mean, I'm terrible at it, but it's a lot of fun! And if definitely recharges the batteries.



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