By Eliza Gale
You have always fantasized about becoming a writer, painter, or filmmaker, but family or job responsibilities may have gotten in the way of making your dream a reality. If everyday life is stifling your imagination, there are a few steps you can follow to jump-start your project and get those creative juices flowing.
Warm Up Your Muscles
Before an athlete has a big game, they have to stretch out, exercise, and train. Creative people need to warm up as well. If you want to write a book, you may want to start by writing a short story or two. There are also some productive writing exercises that you can do to get ideas for your story.
Some writers start their day by writing one page of their stream of consciousness thoughts. Others will take ideas from their favorite television shows, movies, or books and simply change the point of view from which the story is told. You can also start a blog on which you write one flash fiction story a week for a year.
If you have always wanted to paint, you may want to begin by taking a class. You can make a pencil sketch of what you want your finished product to look like so you don’t end up wasting your paint, your time, or your canvas.
If you are thinking of making an independent movie, you will want to start with a script. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the basic terminology of the filmmaking craft before you get started.
You can spend the first 10 days of your new venture researching the greatest movies of all time. If there is a certain genre of script you want to write, you should watch one of the American Film Institute’s top 10 films in that genre each night. Write down what you think sets these films apart from others that you have seen, You may want to incorporate some of those elements into your own story.
Think about your favorite film or one of the best characters you have seen in a movie or TV show. You can put your own spin on a favorite story. You can also base your hero on a favorite minor character and take them on adventures of their own.
How to Get Started
The serious old king in the children’s classic, “Alice in Wonderland” suggested that you begin at the beginning and go on until you reach the ending. However, if you are a writer, this may not be the best approach for you.
If you have a great idea for a scene in a movie or a conversation between two of the characters in a novel, you should write it first. If all you can think of is the ending of your novel, then you may want to start there. You can build your story around that scene.
Some writers start with a very simple outline of their tale and others create a detailed outline of each chapter. This can be time-consuming, but it will help you to avoid roadblocks in the long run.
Ideally, you would spend all the time you needed on your creation. Unfortunately, this is impossible for most people. You should figure out how much time you can realistically devote to your product and then do it. If you always have an hour to yourself at the end of the day, you can write then. If you spend hours binging on television at night, you can devote one hour a day to your project.
Find a quiet place to work and let everyone else in your house know that you can not be distracted for that period of time. If you can write one page a day, you will have a novel at the end of the year.
What to do About Creative Blocks
Sometimes you will know exactly what you want to do and get off to a great start and then you will get writer’s block. You may write yourself into a corner and not know how to get out or you may spend so much time working on a project, that you grow to hate it. There are a few ways to overcome creative blocks.
One thing that often frustrates writers is having to make sure the details of their story are consistent. It is best to continue writing and work out the logic and the detail of the story later.
You can also partner with another creative person and agree to show one another your work once a week. That way, you will have someone who is expecting to see work from you and who will be disappointed if you do not deliver it to them. Having someone to report to will make your project feel a bit more like a job you have to get done.
Creativity is a rare commodity. Your brilliant idea deserves to be seen or read. Your audience is waiting. All you have to do is get started.