As for my "real writing," like Dani, the number of words I’ve written for any fiction project can be counted on one hand.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, however. And the writing I have been doing has helped to keep my creativity thrumming while I’m on a fiction writing hiatus ("writer’s block" just sounds so harsh).
How has non-fiction writing helped my creativity?
I connect with people. Last year, I joined CLMOOC, Connected Learning MOOC - a massively open online collaboration. During one of its cycles, I participated in a postcard exchange where we all sent postcards to random people who signed up for the cycle. I received postcards from the US, Canada, and overseas, and the postcard writing allowed me to connect with writers and educators who are doing great things. I still connect with participants via social media. When I connect with others, I learn their quirks, likes and dislikes, other cultures, rituals, etc. I learn about them as people, and as a fiction writer, connecting with and learning about them deepens the information in my writer’s arsenal.
Two postcards I received from CLMOOC.
I celebrate myself. More than two years ago, I began writing daily love notes to myself that I call #loveaday notes. I started writing them on sticky notes, then index cards, then various styles of colorful paper, and now a planner. Every morning, I get up, prepare for my day, and think about what I’m feeling, what I need to accomplish, what I still aspire to do, and I write a short note to myself—sometimes two words, and sometimes, a paragraph. When I am well, I am able to be more creative; these notes enable me to give myself love that aids in making me well. Every few months, I go back and read the notes because they fill me with love, confidence, and reassurance. They also tap into my creativity because I practice my handwriting, and sometimes, I doodle as well. Which leads me to another point.
I expand my creativity into other areas. One thing I began last year thanks to the talented Angelica Suarez is doodling. Through her Doodle Days (365 Day Art Challenge) group on Facebook, I returned to a love of mine, drawing. Each day, participants are given a word and have to create a doodle based on that word. Dani began her post yesterday with this short statement: "Word counts." And these one-word doodle prompts are no exceptions. One word can explode a writer’s imagination with images, people, stories, and when I read my word for each day, I sit and think about how that word could be presented. I think about how I feel when I’m doodling, and if I capture an essence of that word within the doodle--the same thing I do when I write a story. I want the words in my stories to resonate beyond the words and into images, people, circumstances, etc.
Like Dani said yesterday, "It's important to remember that all words count." And she’s right. My postcard writing, my #loveaday notes, and my doodling all connect to words and to my creativity, and it all helps keep that sacred creative area fertile and ripe and ready for the fiction words to come.
How does your non-fiction writing help your creativity?
|Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, a crafter, an editor, and an educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. You can learn more about Shon at her website, ChickLitGurrl.|