A word that scares many and excites a world of others. I, myself have been doing Improv for years and found that many of the tactics I use on stage have helped my creative writing. Today, I share those improv techniques with you and how you can use them to keep your creative writing up to par.
1. SET THE BAR LOW AND LET GO OF YOUR INHIBITIONS.
Before I walk on stage for a performance I first tell myself, “Set the bar low, Cassie and let go of your inhibitions.”
Setting the bar low means not setting yourself up for failure. It allows you to have the freedom to make mistakes and keep from setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Why is this important? Because telling yourself that this blog needs to be the best blog you have ever written can kill your creativity and put unneeded pressure on yourself.
By setting the bar low, you let go of inhibitions and just start writing. The best writing comes from freeing your mind of pressure and opening it up to unlimited creative opportunities!
2. YES AND….
This may be the best thing I ever learned in Improv.
For those of you that don’t know much about Improv, Yes And is a phrase we use to accept information that is presented to us and add to it, rather than deny it. Denying information doesn’t allow ideas to grow, but accepting the information at hand and adding to it allows your story to become that more interesting!
When writing creatively, Yes And yourself. There will be a million reasons for you to contradict your own ideas, but nothing will grow your story like saying yes to what you’ve already written and taking those thoughts and ideas to new heights. It might get weird, but isn’t that what you want?
3. HAVE A POINT OF VIEW.
This is so important!
There is a time and a place for writing without a point of view, but when writing creatively personal views should shine through. Sure, maybe you’ll be speaking to a niche audience but you’ll relate to that audience much stronger.
Having a point of view helps a fellow improviser latch on to a character and continue to act as the person. You start to see and feel things as they do — creating an immediate sense of empathy. When writing creatively, be confident in your point of view — you’ll find others that share it and connect to them on a deeper level. If you feel that way, chances are others do too. Speak to those people.
4. BE VERY SPECIFIC.
Being specific helps everything grow!
In Improv being specific grounds ideas and puts improvisers in a concrete location. When you give more information, you can expand on more information. For example, when I am in an improv scene and no one has mentioned our location yet, I find myself unsure of what else is going on around me. But, if we decide we are in a mall sitting by a water fountain all of a sudden we have so much more information to play off. We can now mention the boy who is swimming in the water fountain, or poke fun at the ladies who are gossiping over in front of the Starbucks.
When writing, it’s all in the details. The more specific, the more avenues to play off of, and everything is a little bit more interesting. Don’t talk about your dog who likes cake. Talk about your dog Earl, who can’t seem to keep his paws off strawberry shortcake. There you go, your story is already more interesting.
5. GO ALL IN.
If you’re reading this article you either stumbled upon it and thought ‘why not’ or you actually wanted to see how to improv your creative writing.
Either way, the one thing you need to remember is go all in. If you want to write creatively, you can do it. Open your mind to unimaginable places and put your pen to work (or your keyboard if that’s what you’re into.) At the end of the day the one main idea tying improv and creative writing together is if you want to do it, you JUST HAVE TO DO IT.
Go all in. Let your mind run wild. Start writing. You’ve got this.