7 Tips For Getting Yourself Back Into Creative Writing

7 Tips For Getting Yourself Back Into Creative Writing

Need help getting those creative juices flowing?
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If you're into any kind of creative writing – whether it be poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, or creative nonfiction that you write – it can be hard to begin again after a hiatus of not writing anything. For me, this hiatus has been almost three years. My last piece of creative writing was a short story written in 2013. So, needless to say, I was a little nervous coming into this semester when I remembered that I chose to take a Creative Writing: Fiction class.

Writing is like working a muscle; even if you haven't used it in a while, all it takes is a little exercising every day to whip it back into shape. Here are some tips I've gathered from my own experience from other writer and books about writing creatively to getting that muscle working smoothly again.

1. Free-write

If you've done any kind of writing in a classroom setting before, you've probably heard this one and done it more times than you can count. But in case you haven't, free-writing is when you sit down with a pen and paper and write literally anything that comes to mind. There are no limits. If you're hungry, write about how hungry you are. Eventually, your free-writing session will turn into a description of your favorite foods. If you're nervous, write what you're nervous about. This exercise can be challenging because it requires you to turn off the critic in your brain, but the result is that you will be getting used to writing in your own voice again.

2. Keep a journal

Now this is something like free-writing because you can write about whatever you want in your journal. Pick a notebook that you'll want to write in – one that you like the look of and that you feel most fits you. Set aside some time each day to write a journal entry. You can write about your day, what you're into at the moment, what emotions you're feeling, etc. The only key to keeping a journal is to do it regularly. This is to get yourself used to making yourself write.

3. Listen to music

This one is simple! Put on your headphones and find a playlist that fits the mood you're in. You can do it while you free-write or journal, while you're thinking of ideas, or while you're doing anything but those things. Music will help you clear your mind and open up some space for creativity.

4. Doodle

Some writers draw when they need some inspiration, but if you're not so talented in the drawing department like me – try some quick doodling. There's no need to put pressure on yourself to draw something worthy of the Sistine Chapel; this is just to free your mind if listening to music doesn't do it for you.

5. Do some writing exercises

This can be fun and/or challenging for any writers looking for inspiration. Google writing exercises and you will find websites, such as this one, that give you random prompts to get the creative juices flowing. For example, one might be to write about two people meeting for the first time. It doesn't matter who they are or what they're doing – that is all up to you. As soon as you write the first line, the rest will fall into place. Writing exercises are like the warm-up stretch before you workout. It may even lead you to an idea for a story!

6. Do a character study

Speaking of writing exercises – if you have a vague idea of a character in mind, do a character study to develop him more. A character study involves writing down basic information about a character (age, appearance, likes, dislikes, etc.), his strengths and weaknesses, the conflicts he faces, and the choices he will make. Even if the study leads nowhere and you don't actually end up using the character, it could still be a fun way to stretch out that writing muscle.

7. Pick your writing place

Now, after you've done all of these tips, I think you're almost ready to delve into your new story, poem, or play! My last piece of advice is to pick a new location to do your writing in. This will especially help if you haven't written in a long time. Giving yourself some new scenery will surely inspire you. If you normally write at a desk in your room, try the library. If you normally write inside, try writing outside if it's warm enough where you are.

I haven't done all of these myself, but I have used music, free-writing, and character studies to my advantage. I hope you try some of these out yourselves, find out what works for you, and flex those writing muscles. Good luck, writers!

Cover Image Credit: Flood G on Flickr

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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5 Ways You Can Stop Producing so Much Trash

We produce a lot more trash than you think, until you start paying attention to your actions.

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One of my major goals this year is to do more to save the planet as well as animals. I have already been vegetarian for three years. and I'm plan to stay vegetarian, but I want to have a more plant based diet. As well, I want to start reducing the amount of trash I produce. Not only because I realize just how drastically our trash is affecting wildlife, but also because I think having to take out your trash twice a week is way too much trash!

1. Bring recyclables to a recycling center or reuse them around the home!

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This is something I want to start doing! I always get take out food and throw away the containers, when I could be using those containers to carry my lunch everyday! Also, I want to start collecting my plastic water bottles and taking them to the recycling center on campus instead of just throwing them away

2. Invest in a reuseable water bottle

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This would actually fix my water bottle problem. I need to invest in a nice, reuseable water bottle that I can refill, rather than throwing away 3-4 water bottles a day. Amazon has a lot of varieties of these bottles ranging from inexpensive to expensive, cool designs, and even one that holds snacks.

3. Reuseable Straws

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This is a great addition to your new reuseable water bottle! Like trash, you don't realize how much you use (and throw away) straw, until you actually start to keep count. I thought i didn't use straws at all because I never bought them in my life, but then you go out to eat (straw), you go to Starbucks (straw). Having a glass straw is actually really useful to reduce your trash, in cases when you wish you had a straw but don't, and sanitary purposes. Those straw sitting out at Starbucks, are they really that clean?

4. Donate old/unwanted clothes

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This is something I already do. I go through my drawers and closet once a year, and just put all the clothes I haven't worn all year, or just don't want into a garbage bag. I'm usually able to fill at least one (gallon) garbage bag with clothes to take to Goodwill!

5. Use actual plates instead of paper plates

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This is another huge mistake of mine! I hate doing dishes, so I try to buy paper plates to make less dishes, but in the end I'm producing more and more trash! I'm convinced the reason I have to take out my trash so often is because I eat so much! It's time to be a big girl now and start washing my dishes...or start using my dish washer

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