Peggy Bechko: Writers And Artists Nurture Your Creativity


by Peggy Bechko

We’re coming up on the holidays… So, I thought I’d spend a little time musing about creativity and what it takes to keep that part of us pumped up, nurtured and ready to go. Some suggestions, as it were, to help the blocked, confused and wandering – also the steady writers and artists out there who might need to take a breather or find a new path.

Hopefully some of these ideas will perk you up, give you a new slant or just assure you you’re not alone.

If you’re stuck on a story or whatever you’re attempting to create – and I know you’ve all heard this, but you probably need to hear it again – for heaven’s sakes take a break. Do something mindless or that will force your conscious brain to focus elsewhere and give your subconscious a chance to free range a bit. Take a walk, shovel the drive (in winter), mow the lawn (in summer), do the ironing or maybe cook dinner. Surprise your spouse with that dinner, he or she is no doubt so used to you being so immersed in your creative work that they rarely see a decent meal. Seriously, give yourself a break, give everyone a break, unclench.

Here’s something else you can do to enhance creativity. Just watch people. Really. Watch them. People…the things they do and say. They can be funny, startling, offensive, romantic – you know, all that stuff you want to infuse into your creative endeavors, quirks and happenings you want to put into your stories.

Another ~ Let your mind wander. Unhook the discipline for a bit and let it be what it is, let your thoughts take you where they will.

And how do you keep track of random thoughts that crop up with all this relaxation and subconscious stroking? Well you can easily keep a note pad handy, but if you like you can also think about using your phone to make a record of those thoughts. If your phone has a record feature, use that, if not, call yourself and leave a message in your box. You don’t want to lose those gem ideas.

Another idea? How about going to the place you’re setting your story or where you most associate with the creative work you’re doing. If you’re a writer and the story is set at a beach and one is nearby, head on down and do some jotting there. Airport? Bus Station? Hospital? Mall? Small town? Go on, take a field trip. Might not be practical if you’re planning on writing about Jupiter or the depth of a volcano is your inspiration for your next creative work. But no doubt you’d be able to come up with variations on a theme.

Variety is another great inspiration. The more you have, the more likely you’re going to be successful in generating the ideas so vital to your creativity. Start a garden, get a hobby, play with your dog, take up knitting – do more than one! I garden in the summer, create jewelry all year (want to take a peek – I have a little shop on ETSY, Silverstreak) I also knit, read, make lampwork beads in the flame (that really is focus!) and do some occasional bead weaving.

So the long and short of it is you need to give yourself some time to let the ideas percolate and to come up with fresh one. Deadlines may loom, pressure build, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the creative process in the middle – and that takes some nurturing.