How to Foster Creativity

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

This week’s topic for #upbeatauthors is about fostering creativity. While what I’m going to talk about below focuses on writing, the piece of advice I’m sharing can apply to any creative endeavors – crafts, music, art, sewing, costuming/cosplay, basically whatever creative outlet refills your soul and/or is how you make your living.

It’s a simple piece of advice, really, but one we might overlook because we tend to find the thing we do well and stick with it. But what if we’ve done that thing so much that we begin to burn out or run out of ideas or lose the joy in doing it? Been there and done that. This is when we step outside of the box we’ve either put ourselves in or found ourselves in due to contractual obligations. If you find yourself in this situation, do something totally different.

Do you write sweet romance? Try a dark suspense. Do you write long, lush historical? Try a romantic comedy novella. Feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your quirky cozy mystery series? Try your hand at a piece of micro fiction set in some part of the past.

Sometimes writing something completely different in tone, content or length is just the kick in the pants you might need. You might instinctually make different word choices, sentence lengths, character traits and plot progressions because this is just an experiment and that knowledge frees you up to play. You can think of the experience as a palate cleanser or a jump-start to your creativity, but you might be surprised by how much you like the experience.

A few years ago, I took a short break from my normal writing to take part in the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds project. They contracted with authors to write short pieces set in established worlds to the mutual benefit of the authors, Amazon and the world’s copyright holders. I wrote three pieces set in the world of The Vampire Diaries. I’d never written fan fiction before, so it was a totally new experience and a lot of fun. I always say that you don’t have to take every opportunity that comes your way, but it pays to at least be open to those opportunities. They might provide your creativity (and perhaps even your bank account) with unexpected benefits.

Have you ever done anything completely different from your norm to give your creativity a kick in the posterior? Is there something you’ve never tried that you’d like to? Why not work it into your schedule now?