How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

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How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

Almost everything you see online today is a story. Social media feeds are filled with countless stories. So are email inboxes. There are billions of videos on YouTube that have stories for you too.

It’s no wonder we often find ourselves overwhelmed in a state of story overload. If you’re like me, you might even rationalize some of the content as “research,” “learning,” or “networking.”

And this content is really good at pulling you in. There are well written headlines, compelling images, and algorithms that keep putting content in front of you. You might even keep opening Twitter hoping that you’ll find yourself engaging with a bestselling author.

But there is a serious problem. Most of what we see online is actually junk food content.

Junk food tastes really good when you first eat it. It’s comforting, it’s familiar. When you break open that bag of Cheetos or start to gobble some M&Ms, you know what you’re getting. You’re satisfied for a brief moment.

But then you start to feel sluggish. Maybe even a little sick to your stomach. You get lazy. And then you start to lose mental energy.

That’s a big problem.

As creators, we are not lifting heavy rocks from one location to another. We’re not chopping down trees or farming. We are using our minds. We’re using pens and paper and keyboards and paint and brushes. Mental energy is the fuel that keeps us going.

A little bit of negativity — or even just digesting the same thing over and over — will not help your creativity. It will make your creativity flat line, and soon you’ll be saying hello to creative burnout.

If you don’t have any mental energy, you’re likely not creating. You’re likely stressed, dragging, or you might even be depressed.

Once you’re there, you’re probably going to keep doing what you’ve been doing, right? Sometimes it is hard to course correct when you’re mentally fatigued.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem.

Recently, I read a book that I just absolutely loved. It was absolutely captivating and it was incredible and mind blowing. It’s called Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It really inspired me and sparked me to be more creative.

I even bought another copy so I can write notes in one and have a clean copy just for reading. I’ll probably type out the entire novel too, just to improve as a writer. Simply put, I can’t get enough of this story.

Of course, I can’t help but talk about this book. I’ve messaged my friends about it, and told them to pick up a copy as soon as possible. Great stories can’t help but spread. You can’t help but talk about them.

“Human minds yield helplessly to the suction of story. No matter how hard we concentrate, no matter how deep we dig in our heels, we just can’t resist the gravity of alternate worlds.” Jonathan Gotschall

Let me ask you a question. When is the last time you’ve engaged in a story that lit you up like a Christmas tree?

If you’re not excited about something, and you keep consuming that story, it can easily start to show up in your own work.

Passion can’t be faked. Neither can love. That’s why it is so important to find stories you love. But that takes time and you have to be intentional. Here’s how to do it.

First, you need to be honest with yourself. If you’re not enjoying a story or it’s just kind of mediocre, that’s probably not good enough. Stop reading boring books. Stop watching boring movies. Stop reading boring articles. Unsubscribe to any emails you do not find helpful and/or encouraging. Your mental energy is very precious.

We often have the same habits when it comes to procrastination. Maybe you have a book that you should be writing. Don’t settle for reading about writing or watching videos about writing as opposed to doing the actual writing. That’s the same as a cook who only reads cookbooks. Get your hands dirty and get active.

Put a filter on your computer to block distracting websites altogether or keep your time there to a minimum. Change how you use your phone — here’s an article to help you do that and it will only take one second.

It’s impossible to become a great writer overnight; becoming a better writer takes hard work, time, and dedication. However, creative writing is an incredibly rewarding and useful skill that’s worth taking the time to develop, and honestly, it’s really fun! Here are seven tips that I’ve gleaned from creative writing classes and experience:

1. Observe

If you’ve taken an art class, you were probably encouraged by your instructor to go out into the world and observe. Making observations from real life is the key to authenticity, which is true for writing just as much as it is for painting or drawing. A great method for observing people is to take a notebook and pen with you wherever you go and, when you can, write down your observations about the people you see.

Write down whatever comes to your mind, from how they look, to how they speak, to how they move. You can also make inferences and write them down as well. What sort of person do you think they are? What do you think they do in their day-to-day lives? What sort of hopes and fears might they have? Could your first impression be wrong? And, if you’re feeling brave enough, you can strike up conservations with people and ask them about themselves. You’d be amazed at the sorts of stories that ordinary people have to share.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

2. Write Down Ideas

It’s always good to have an idea of where you want to go before you jump wholeheartedly into your next project. Take some time to brainstorm. You can write your ideas down in a chart, or just write a page of flowing stream-of-consciousness unpacked from your brain. It’s also a good idea to keep a notebook with you at all times just in case you have a golden idea, say, while you’re waiting in line at the supermarket.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

3. Practice

The only way to really get better at anything is to practice and writing is no exception. Set aside some time every day and devote it to writing. Try to practice around the same time every day so that it starts to feel more like a habit than a chore. One great way to practice every day is by using some writing prompts (which you can find all over the internet, or you can make up your own). Set a timer for five minutes and don’t lift your pen from the paper until the timer stops. Repeat the process six times and you’ll have practiced for a full 30 minutes! Plus, you’ll have a notebook full of new ideas that you can use when brainstorming.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

4. Experiment

It helps to break from the routine sometimes and try something different. If you usually write creative fiction, try writing some poetry once in a while. If you write poetry, try writing non-fiction. Not only will this help you become a more rounded writer, but different types of creative writing require very specific skills that you can develop and then apply back to your favored type of writing. For example, poetry requires a heightened grasp of figurative language, which you can apply to writing figurative language-rich prose.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

5. Seek Criticism

It’s hard to put yourself out there and let people read your writing, much less let them critique it. Learning how to take criticism with grace is a skill unto itself, but the more you receive criticism, the easier it gets and the better your writing will be. Learn how to separate constructive criticism from destructive criticism. Remember, when people are giving you constructive criticism, it means that they’re interested in your writing. They see potential in it and want to help, and if you fight them over it, they may lose interest in helping you in the future. Ask people who you trust to review your writing and give honest criticism; alternatively, you can join or create a writer’s group to give and receive feedback.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

6. Revise

If you read a novel, there’s a good chance that it’s the product of dozens of revisions, maybe even more. In an interview, J.K. Rowling said that she wrote ten different opening chapters for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before the final one stuck! I’ll even revise this article a few times before it’s published – revising is just a natural process of writing. Most people won’t write a perfect draft the first time around, so even if you find yourself revising a lot, don’t sweat it. Some people find it helpful to power through an entire draft before doing revisions, so if you find yourself getting stuck on one particular passage, try leaving it alone and come back to revise later when your mind is fresh.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

7. Read!

In order to become a better writer, you have to be an avid reader – no exceptions! The best way to learn, after all, is to learn by observation. Read some great writers and make sure you’re paying attention to things like syntax, characterization, plot, and theme. Then, try to write a few paragraphs in the writer’s voice. You don’t have to just read classics, though: take notes on your personal favorite reads and try to figure out what you love about them and what makes them work.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

Check back next week for some tips on how to write a fictional world!

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

You need to be more creative. Your business could be more successful if you approached it with more imagination. You could write blog posts or articles, design your next promotional piece, or create clever videos that would take things to the next level. If only you had more of that creative spark.

Here’s a secret: You already have everything you need to bring creative force to your work and your business. You may feel like you’ve hit a plateau or like the imaginative side of your brain has gone on vacation. But these nine steps are sure to revitalize you and get that creative energy flowing again.

1. You already are creative. Believe that.

The brilliant invention teacher Bill Seidel started his classes by asking the students to raise their hands if they were creative. Then he’d tell them about research showing that people who believed themselves to be creative actually were measurably more creative than those who didn’t. Then he would ask again for them to raise their hands if they thought they were creative, and if every hand didn’t go up, he’d explain the research a second time and then asked again for a show of hands. He would keep repeating that process until every hand in the classroom went up.

Believing that you are a creative person will actually help you be one. So officially pronounce yourself to be creative. Which, of course, you are.

2. Meditate.

It might sound paradoxical, but clearing your mind of all thought–or at least doing your best–will unleash your subconscious, less task-oriented dreamer side. Meditation experts have told me that consistency matters more than length of time, so try starting with five minutes–or even three minutes–a day.

3. Go for a walk.

Something about walking can unleash your subconscious mind and bring your emotions clearly into focus. It’s also a great way to activate your creative side. I believe it works best if you’re walking in familiar territory, preferably without having to work at navigating traffic or cope with other big distractions. And when trying to reach my creative side, I tend to prefer walking alone.

4. Listen to music.

Music impacts the right side of our brains more than the left. And while the idea that creativity is a purely right-brained matter has been debunked, it’s still true that most of us spend most of our time focusing on the verbal and organizational skills that reside in the left side of our brains. It’s nice to give the right side equal time.

5. Dance.

Since you’re listening to music anyway, you might as well get up and add a little movement. Letting your body move of its own accord to Motown, Mozart, or whatever else floats your boat is a great way to unleash creative energy, not to mention counteract the ill effects of sitting all day. Dancing around the office is definitely allowed, or it should be.

6. Journal.

Writing in a journal, especially longhand, and especially when you write quickly and let whatever’s going through your mind flow out, is a great way to break through to your more introspective, creative self. That’s why the great creativity guru Julia Cameron tells her students to spend the first 30 minutes of the day writing three journal pages–longhand–no matter what. Try it. It works.

7. Have an artist’s date.

Speaking of Julia Cameron, another practice she recommends and that I like a lot is to have a weekly “artist’s date.” You go by yourself to do something that’s fun and perhaps pushes you out of your comfort zone a little. It doesn’t have to be something specifically creative, she says, but it does have to enjoyable. We all need to feed the child inside ourselves or else when we keep reaching for ideas and creative work, we may find that we are tapped out. If you’re not sure what to do on an artist’s date, here are 101 suggestions.

8. Get out of Dodge.

Travel, especially traveling alone, can be a fantastic way to unleash your creative side. Spending time in airports or on airplanes or trains can be so conducive to creativity that Amtrak, finally giving in to several writers’ requests, began offering a writer’s residency aboard its trains.

If travel isn’t in your plans, a more local change of venue can work wonders too. Take advantage of our mobile age and take your work with you to a caf, colocation office, park, or other space. When it comes to an environment that will boost your creative mindset, different is good.

9. Record your dreams.

Your dreams are a great source of creative inspiration, and tracking and remembering them will give your brain something meaty to chew on. That’s likely to get you thinking in unexpected directions. Dreams can be a valuable source of insight, ideas, and intuition. They can even inspire new products or help you make better decisions. So keep a notebook by your bed so you can remember and write down as many dreams as possible. They could lead you to your next great idea.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

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Creative writing expresses ideas and thoughts in an imaginative way. This type of writing is meant to entertain the reader. Being creative and pretending is part of being a human but for some, it takes a little more encouragement. At times though, children can have difficulties putting their words down on paper for assignments in a timely fashion. Creating an environment at home that fosters these skills can help them become a successful writer.

Here are a few ways to help your child become a better creative writer:

5 Creative Writing Tips

1. Give your child enough time to be creative

Creative writing requires higher-level thinking from your child. Take a look at his or her schedule and be sure that your child has enough time to brainstorm writing ideas. Encourage your child to spend time writing down thoughts on the different elements of his or her piece.

2. Create a writing environment

Becoming a creative writer takes practice and needs interest. Setting up an environment at home can help support this success. Having writing materials that are readily available and interesting are important. Keeping a writing journal handy is a great way to capture those thoughts, even in the car. One big tip is to play games at home that build vocabulary skills.

3. Use writing prompts to practice

Writing prompts or story starters are a great way to get your child’s writing process started. We are all familiar with “Once upon a time…” Ask your child, “What are other ways to start our creative process?” Take time and brainstorm a few with your child for upcoming writing sessions. Kids can get pretty creative.

4. Use visual images for writing prompts

Images spark our imagination, so why not use them for creative writing? Keep a collection of images from magazines and even store flyers to prompt writing when your child needs encouragement. One tip is to create a Pinterest Board filled with images for writing prompts. If your child is having writer’s block, encourage him or her to start writing down some of the words felt while looking at the images. These could easily become a good prompt for a poem.

5. Write first and then edit later

Creative writing requires a little bit more freedom with our thoughts. As your child is creating, encourage him or her to just write it down and worry about editing later. If your child is having trouble keeping up with a personal creative process, use a microphone from your computer or phone to record the story and then listen and write it down in the next step.

When we support children in a creative environment, their creative writing skills will become a part of their everyday. Creative writing requires practice and supports at all ages. As parents, it’s our job to provide materials, time and strategies to help them feel confident in their skills so that they can grow as writers. Creative writing can be a window into our children’s minds and thoughts!

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

Writing is a dream job, but not for everyone. Some writers are hired to write product descriptions for catalogs, and some turn out to be J.K. Rowling. Unfortunately, however, most writers have a better chance of writing product descriptions than they do of becoming best-selling authors.

While successful content writers seem to have an enviable life — they work from home, make their own schedules and work as much or as little as they please — the vast majority have a hard time making a living of it. They lack the skills necessary to succeed. Because no matter how talented they are, writing skill is simply not enough. So, if you want to become successful as a content writer, you need a full toolkit of marketable skills.

1. Successful content writers must master different writing styles.

The reason is that each form of writing has its own style. News is delivered AP style, in short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogging is personable, friendly and often opinionated. Ad copy is short and persuasive. White papers are long; they describe a problem and provide the solution. But, regardless, each and every category is content, and each style writers master makes them more valuable and in demand.

2. Successful content writers don’t pick random subjects.

“Ideation” is a marketing industry buzzword that describes the creative process of finding a subject, title and angle to write about; and ideation begins with analytics. Most ideation is done in a team setting, but freelance writers are usually on their own. Which is why it’s helpful to know how professional marketing teams generate ideas. Before doing that, successful content writers need to:

  • Understand their audience. Marketers call it creating a “buyer persona.” If you know who your readers are, you can write what they want to read. You write for your audience. Not for yourself, not for your company, not for your brand.
  • Perform keyword research. Buzzsumo.com showed that “content writing” is a better keyword than “content writer,” which is what led to a title change. The site also revealed that writing how-to posts are popular. One by Neil Patel on how to come up with topic ideas was shared nearly 16,000 times. (swoon)
  • Check out the competition. What successful content are others in your industry sharing? A competitive content audit gives you a ton of information. Not just about what your competitors are sharing, but who is linking to their content, blogging about it, tweeting it out and posting it elsewhere.
  • Craft a snappy title. After you have keyword, competitor and reader knowledge, take your time, choose your subject and craft a title that will interest readers. The title compels people to read. . . or not. The most important words on your post are the title and the meta description.

3. Successful content writers are original.

It’s your reputation. Every post with your name on it should be original. That probably sounds crazy, with all the tens of thousands of people writing about the same subjects, but it’s easier than it seems. Every talented writer can bring a unique voice, different perspective or new light to an overworked subject.

Plagiarized content is bad for SEO, bad for your employers and even worse for you. Protect your reputation and your career by taking precautions. Before you submit your work, use an online program to check for plagiarism. With all the content out there, it’s easy to accidentally duplicate writing.

4. Successful content writers know SEO, HTML, CSS and WordPress.

Don’t panic. You only need a few basics. WordPress themes have varying levels of automatic functions, and sometimes the only way to make your text appear the way you want it to is to dig into the text/HTML tab and manipulate the code to make a title tag or fix a spacing issue. It’s worth your time to learn the basics.

Updated SEO knowledge is also critical. Search engine algorithms change constantly, and writers have to keep up. One thing remains constant: High quality is always in demand. If you can write in-depth content from a unique perspective, you’ll be in demand.

5. Successful content writers are social media specialists.

Name recognition is important. Social media puts everything you need within your grasp. Build your audience, meet publishers and talk to industry experts. When your writing is published, the fun has only just begun. The more active you are on social media, the more likely your followers will be to recommend your content. Successful content writers are active, public and friendly.

So, think again about writing “success.” It stops being about words on paper as soon as “content” is added to “writer.” Content writers are marketing experts, SEO specialists, on-page coders and social media butterflies. With the right skill set, you’ll succeed and find that yours is the best job in the world.

Albert L., product leader & founder, creative juice

Albert L., product leader & founder, creative juice

1. Welcome – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

2. Part 1 – DoD – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

3. Part 2 – Break – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

4. Part 3 – Immersion – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

5. Part 4 – Systemize – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

6. Part 5 – Solution – Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher’s recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

About This Class

Maximize your creative juice with five (5) simple steps. Have you ever ran into a Creative’s Writer-Block? In other words, no more ideas? With this course, you will have the essential resources to complete your project, regardless of big or small.

Hello, i’m Albert, founder and creative at Creative Juice Entertainment. In this course, we will go through five key steps to keep your creative juices flowing. Each chapter details broad examples that you can utilize in your every day projects.

Having a skeleton is one of the most important steps. After all, everything in the world is made up – but that’s not a bad thing because its made and used for a reason.

I hope this course provides insight and inspires to you do greatness in your work. If this helped you in any way, welcome to follow us for more content in the future – share it with a friend who you think can benefit as well!

Meet Your Teacher

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

Albert L.

product leader & founder, creative juice

Never has it been easier to learn new skills from great content creators today. As a product manager throughout my career, I have always been fascinated by great products and services being created by the greatest masterminds behind great companies. What we all don’t see as customers behind great products and services is creative practices, mindful exercises, and specialized skills used to achieve great success.

YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY BEGINS HERE

In my courses, I will be teaching you the necessary skills to get up to speed in a variety of subjects including photography, film production, music production, creative practices, mindfulness, and how to be a great product manager.

Currently based in Los Angeles, I am a huge . See full profile

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Hands-on Class Project

Maximize your creative juice with five (5) simple steps. Have you ever ran into a Creative’s Writer-Block ? In other words, no more ideas? With this course, you will have the essential resources to complete your project, regardless of big or small.

Need more practice?

Part 1 – Write down a small list of items (5 or more) that quantifies your DoD

Part 2 – Write down a time you worked non stop and forgot to. sleep? eat? drink? exercise? How long was it?

Part 3 – Write down a time you got too deep into the tunnel you completely forgot certain sections of your project.

Part 4 – Write down a time when you totally winged a project. Was it successful? What can you learn from it?

Part 5 – Why are you doing what you are doing? One word answers please.

I’d love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

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How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

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Bonus: Need help finding your writing voice? Click here for free tips.

I write only because / There is a voice within me / That will not be still.
–Sylvia Plath

Awhile ago, I wrote an article called, “Finding Your Blog’s Unique Voice.” In it, I explain that a blog needs a voice that is both exclusive and authentic.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer Photo credit: Dan Foy (Creative Commons)

But here, I want to share a little bit more about how to find your overall writing voice. Which is, I believe, the single greatest struggle for most writers. And it’s also the key to unlocking your creative potential.

Spending some time deliberating over voice is worth your attention and focus. Whether you blog for fun, write novels, craft poems, pencil melodies, or inspire people with your prose, it’s essential that you find your unique writing style.

If you struggle with getting people to read your writing or with staying consistent in your craft, you need to stop chasing numbers and productivity and reboot. It’s time to start finding and developing that voice of yours.

An exercise for finding your voice

Not sure where to start? No problem. Most of us need help understanding our voice. Here’s a short exercise that can help you — just follow these 10 steps:

  1. Describe yourself in three adjectives. Example: snarky, fun, and flirty.
  2. Ask (and answer) the question: “Is this how I talk?”
  3. Imagine your ideal reader. Describe him in detail. Then, write to him, and only him. Example: My ideal reader is smart. He has a sense of humor, a short attention span, and is pretty savvy when it comes to technology and pop culture. He’s sarcastic and fun, but doesn’t like to waste time. And he loves pizza.
  4. Jot down at least five books, articles, or blogs you like to read. Spend some time examining them. How are they alike? How are they different? What about how they’re written intrigues you? Often what we admire is what we aspire to be. Example: Copyblogger, Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Ernest Hemingway, and C.S. Lewis. I like these writers, because their writing is intelligent, pithy, and poignant.
  5. List your favorite artistic and cultural influences. Are you using these as references in your writing, or avoiding them, because you don’t think people would understand them. Example: I use some of my favorite bands’ music in my writing to teach deeper lessons.
  6. Ask other people: “What’s my voice? What do I sound like?” Take notes of the answers you get.
  7. Free-write. Just go nuts. Write in a way that’s most comfortable to you, without editing. Then go back and read it, asking yourself, “Do I publish stuff that sounds like this?”
  8. Read something you’ve recently written, and honestly ask yourself, “Is this something I would read?” If not, you must change your voice.
  9. Ask yourself: “Do I enjoy what I’m writing as I’m writing it?” If it feels like work, you may not be writing like yourself. (Caveat: Not every writer loves the act of writing, but it’s at least worth asking.)
  10. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. How do you feel before publishing? Afraid? Nervous? Worried? Good. You’re on the right track. If you’re completely calm, then you probably aren’t being vulnerable. Try writing something dangerous, something a little more you. Fear can be good. It motivates you to make your writing matter.

Why do you need a writing voice?

Finding your voice is the key to getting dedicated followers and fans and that it’s the only sustainable way to write. If you’re not being yourself, you’ll eventually burn out.

Once you’ve found your voice, make sure you continue to develop it. It’s a discipline, one that can’t be overlooked if you’re going to have the impact you desire and that your words deserve.

The bottom line is that there’s a lot of noise out there in the world. If you’re going to get heard, you can’t just raise your voice. You’ve got to set yourself apart, showing you have something special to say, and that you have a unique way of saying it.

Recommended reading: For more on this topic of finding your voice as a writer, you should read Bird by Bird (affiliate link), an excellent book on the writing life by Anne Lamott.

Bonus: Need help finding your writing voice? Click here for free tips.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

As a writer, having ideas is one of the most important parts of your craft. But often it seems like one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the whole process.

How do you keep ideas flowing? How do you create a wealth of ideas to choose from? How do you make sure you get to the one killer idea that will make your advert, novel, article or blog post really stand out from the rest?

Some people like to wait for inspiration to strike. Most professional writers, however, don’t have that luxury. You need ideas every working day, not just every now and then.

Luckily, there is a formula for producing ideas on a consistent basis. Of course, like all formulas, it has its limits. You can’t constrain creativity, and to only ever use one method for coming up with ideas would be utter madness.

But if you need to produce strong and creative ideas regularly as part of your writing career, then it pays to know the formula, and how to use it.

First of all, what is an idea? Well, according to James Webb Young in his book ‘A Technique for Producing Ideas’, first published in the 1940s:

“An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.”

So how do you combine old elements into new? Luckily, Young tells us:

“The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships.”

Young says the ability to see relationships between facts is the most important factor in coming up with ideas. This, he says, is a habit of mind “which can be cultivated.”

How do you cultivate it? By reading widely, taking an active interest in life, the world, people around you, a wide variety of subjects and areas of study.

There is also a formula, however, a five step plan which Young outlined in his book. By adding two more steps, you can complete a virtuous circle with a feedback loop that refines and extends your creativity.

So, the seven steps to having ideas are:

Step 1 – Gather your information

Information is the raw material from which ideas are born. There are two types of relevant information, specific and general.

General information includes just about anything and everything, and gathering it is a lifelong exercise. It basically comes down to general knowledge and education, and can be cultivated through the usual channels: reading widely and having an active interest in life and the world around you, and in particular in people, how they live, what they think and how they behave.

Specific information is directly relevant to the topic in hand. You clearly need to get all the specific information you can lay your hands on. If you’re writing an advert for a product or service, you would expect the client to come up with most of it, although you’ll probably want to do some of you own research as well. If you’re writing a blog post on a topic, you’ll need to gather your information from far and wide.

These days, gathering information is a much faster process thanks to the internet. The down side to that is you’ll need to be judicious, and discard that which isn’t really relevant. Otherwise, you’re likely to get overwhelmed during step 2, where you have to sift the information.

Step 2 – Sift the information

Work over the information, turning it over and around until you see how it all fits together. A direct pursuit of ‘meaning’ might be counterproductive. You may need to try a subtle approach, and sneak up on the topic, looking at things from various angles.

If small snippets of ideas start coming to you at this stage, write them down, even if they seem crazy.

The more you turn and sift the information, the better you understand it, the easier it will be to see and really understand the relationships. And the more ideas you will have.

Step 3 – Let the information bubble

The next stage is to let the information bubble away for a while, keep it on simmer in your mind. You need to let your unconscious mind work on it for a time. It’s a good idea to do something else for a while, to stimulate your imagination and emotions. Try reading, listening to music, meditate, go for a walk, while your mind digests the facts.

Or you could try the traditional approach – take a warm bath and wait for the eureka moment.

Step 4 – Eureka! Let the ideas flow

It’s at this stage that ideas should start to appear, as if from ‘nowhere’. This is where you hope for a ‘Eureka’ moment. The answer to your problem may appear to leap into your mind for no apparent reason.

But what if it doesn’t come? You keep going, writing down the best ideas you can come up with. If your ideas aren’t strong enough yet, don’t panic, because you’ll get to have another go at this part of the process. So take the very best ideas you can come up with, and move on to step five.

Step 5 – Shape and develop your idea

Now your idea needs to be shaped and moulded, turned into something real. This where your writing skills come to the fore.

Step 6 – Share your idea

Now show your idea to others and see what they think. They may be able to add to it and make it better. That may spark new ideas, and so the process becomes ever more creative.

Step 7 – Rinse and repeat

If necessary, use the feedback you got in step 6, and add that to the information you gathered in step 1. Now repeat step 2, sifting the new information with the existing facts. Then repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Keep it going, until you have the best idea you can come up with, or you hit the deadline, and have to go with what you have developed so far.

So, the good news is that you can learn to be more creative and have stronger ideas. You:

  • Gather the information
  • Sift it
  • Let it percolate
  • Let the ideas flow
  • Shape and mould the ideas
  • Share them with others
  • Put the feedback into the loop; and repeat the process to strengthen your ideas.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, despite what I said at the start about the importance of ideas – and don’t get me wrong they are important – despite that, the truth is that having ideas is the easy part of writing.

Yes, ideas are easy. It’s the execution that is truly difficult, that’s where the real genius lies. And you can only master the craft of writing through hard work and long, steady perseverance.

Are you struggling to achieve your writing goals and finish your projects?

Do you need to improve your grammar, spelling, and punctuation, or do you need to work on sentence and paragraph structure?

Could you use some guidance as you work through the process of writing a book?

Do you need to develop a stronger voice, more realistic characters, or better plots?

Could you benefit by enlisting the help of a mentor who will provide thoughtful, honest, and constructive feedback?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a writing coach can help.

What a Writing Coach Does

A writing coach should be able to relate to your struggles while offering solutions to help you overcome your challenges.

A good writing coach will hold you accountable and firmly, but gently, encourage you to stick to your goals and make sure you complete your projects. Finally, a writing coach is more than a productivity guide. A writing coach knows good writing and will work with you to make sure your writing is the best it can be.

How to find your creative spark and become a better writer

Your Writing Coach

As your writing coach, I will help you:

  • Identify and prioritize your creative writing goals.
  • Stay focused on your objectives and projects.
  • Find your way through the process of a large-scale project, such as writing a book or developing a blog.
  • Overcome challenges that interfere with your writing progress.
  • Improve your writing through thoughtful and insightful feedback.

The result? You’ll reach your goals, become a better writer, and produce polished work that is suitable for publication.

“Working with Melissa has been invaluable, and I credit her for helping me become the writer I am today. I first started working with Melissa about four years ago when I had a lifestyle blog, where she taught me the fundamentals of writing.

When I came up with an idea for a book, she encouraged me to go for it, leading me through the entire process––from learning how to structure the book, develop the plot, create an outline, character sketches, and of course, write and rewrite the manuscript multiple times.

Always positive and encouraging, [Melissa] thoroughly explains what areas I need to work on and how I can improve my writing. Melissa has taught me more about writing than I learned in school—and I have master’s degree in history! She is highly organized and a gifted teacher. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with her.”

“Melissa has been my writing coach for the last two years for a variety of projects including my blog, portfolio, and novel. She has been equally knowledgeable in every subject, helping me to improve my writing skills and become a more confident writer.”

“Melissa has been an awesome writing coach. She is helping me improve as a writer by giving me another point of view and continued fresh ideas on my weekly submissions.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in high school, so I have a tough time recalling some of the grammar rules in writing. Melissa has helped me tremendously in this area. Now I am more confident of my work and I don’t mind letting someone read my writing.

The thing I appreciate most is that she gives you the information in a way that you understand. Her responses are resourceful, well thought out, and dead on. She also provides suggestions! Writing is a part time profession for me, so flexibility is key. I would recommend her in a heartbeat.”

How It Works

I provide coaching to writers of fiction and creative nonfiction. I also offer blog coaching for writers who want to launch or improve their author websites and blogs.

Coaching is conducted via email. We’ll start by setting goals. Each week, you’ll send an update explaining the progress you’ve made and obstacles that are getting in your way. You’ll also send written material for review and receive an edited copy of your work or written feedback. In some cases, you’ll receive both. You may also receive tailored guidance through the entire process of writing a book from the early stages of development to publication.

Coaching is customized to your needs, skill level, and the particulars of your project, and it’s tailored to your working style. You’ll receive personalized guidance to help you reach your goals and become a better writer, including recommendations for books, articles, and other writing resources that are chosen especially for you.

Rates

  • $75 per hour
  • $325 for a five-hour coaching package.
  • $300 per month for one hour per week.
  • $425 per month for two hours per week.

How to Get Started

Let me know what you’re working on, what you’re struggling with, and what you’d like to accomplish with your writing. There’s no obligation until you decide to hire me and issue your first payment. Openings in my schedule are limited.

I look forward to helping you improve your writing and reach your goals.