Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Sunday, June 2, 2013

9 Tips on Becoming a More Creative and Productive Writer

Dorothy Parker famously said:

“I hate writing. I enjoy having written.”

Don’t we all? We love the end result, the feeling of accomplishment and creative fulfillment. But the hardest thing for most writers is the simple act of getting started. Here’s the usual scenario:

A great idea pops into your head while in the shower. By the time you’re dry enough to turn on the computer, you’ve forgotten what it was. Stare at the blank computer screen. Nothing.

Get up and get an ice cold Coke. Nothing. Check email. Check your Facebook page. Read other people’s Facebook pages. Resist temptation to play Angry Birds. Got to write something. HELP! You have written poems and articles and research papers and they have all been published in newspapers and magazines.  Sometimes you have won awards. And you do it all about Earth science.  Here are some ideas for you to use to continue to write about geophenomena in all forms.

Here are nine quick tips for getting yourself unstuck . . . .

1. Take notes. Creativity and innovation cannot be planned. Ideas can come out of nowhere, often at the most inopportune times (see shower, above). Be prepared to capture those ideas when they occur, rather than straining to recreate them later.Keep a notebook and pen or recording device next to the bed, in the kitchen, on your desk. Use Evernote on your computer, tablet, and/or smart phone. This free app collects information from everywhere and compiles neatly into one place for later retrieval by keyword search. From pictures to web pages to travel itineraries, everything is stored for easy access.

2. Try freewriting.This technique is designed to prime the pump, to get something flowing, even if it makes no sense. Just write, stream-of-consciousness style, anything that comes into your head. Don’t think about style, grammar, or punctuation. Just keep writing. If an old nursery rhyme or silly song surfaces, write that. Before long, you will have emptied your brain of the clutter and some ideas that make sense will come to the surface. Voila! You’re writing!

3. Draw a mind map. Most people know what mind-mapping is. The easiest way to describe it is an outline in picture form. The key using mind-mapping effectively is to create your own personal style, not try to follow someone else’s format. First, do it in color — lots of colors. Get a set of colored pens on your desk and keep plenty of scratch paper handy. Start with keywords and add images if you want. Jot down every topic or idea in no particular order. Later you can go back and number them in an order that makes sense.Now you have an outline — you’re organized and ready to write.

4. Play with your dog Or your cat, hamster, goldfish — whatever. Not writing when you think you should be writing creates stress which effectively shuts off the flow of creativity. This creates even more stress, and the beat goes on. Break the cycle.Go outside and throw the ball for Comet. Watch the hummingbirds in your garden, feel the breeze on your face. (Note: this method does not work in Minnesota in January.) Don’t have a goal or a time limit. Just be.

5. Give thanks. Feeling creatively blocked makes you cranky and anxious, as though the world and all its muses are conspiring against you. Instead of giving in to a “poor me” attitude, write down all things you are grateful for. Thank your mentors. Expressing gratitude produces a positive energy flow. As you start to feel happiness in your heart you will instantly relax. When you feel good inside, you are open to creative energy.

6. Play. Children are the most creative beings on the planet. Make your workplace a space where creativity happens naturally.

7. Brainstorm. Get people together for brainstorming meetings.The first and only rule is that there are no bad ideas. Have a specific topic. Write everything down on a white board.  People will play off one another and expand and improve each other’s ideas. Resist the idea that you don’t have time for such things.Joining a teen literary group is a good idea.

8. Collaborate. Follow up your brainstorming meetings with innovation teams. These teams can be anywhere from two to four people who take on ideas generated in brainstorming sessions and make them work. Include your Pebble Pup mentor, teacher, parents, other pebble pups, etc. Collaboration can happen either in person or in a virtual environment, using one of the many electronic tools available.
9. Take risks. In order to succeed, people must have the freedom to fail.TRY SOMETHING NEW.
Are you working from a place where risk and potential failure are forbidden? How’s that working out for you?

Over to you …
Applied creativity is the first step toward better organization, better time management, greater business success, and better writing. These nine tips are a starting point, the first steps toward becoming a more creative and productive writer.
Modified from a story by "Coppyblogger."

Welcome! This is the gateway to adventure and discovery

Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.