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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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