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Writer’s Blog

You Can Learn How to Be Creative.

Practise makes your writing interesting.

Beth van der Pol
Feb 12 · 4 min read

I recently started reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. I’m only a hundred pages through it, so while I don’t have a full opinion yet, I’m definitely sensing a theme.

‘On Writing’ is designed to show you how King’s life has set him up for his occupation. It explores how childhood and growing up with both praises for his writing and rejections shaped him into the creator that he is today.

I want to explore this topic more because I do believe that life shapes the stories you create.

I have always told stories.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing concepts and ideas. I love the way that stories allow me to do. Often I won’t know something has been on my mind until I’ve finished a story and noticed the theme for myself. In every piece of writing there is usually some underlying meaning that I was unaware of when writing.

Writing, in this way, has become a way for me to process information and think about topics that I otherwise wouldn’t have been interested in playing with.

How to train your vision.

I think that people begin to write because writing has been a theme throughout their lives. I can’t, of course, speak for every writer’s experience, but for me choosing writing as my occupation was no accident.

I didn’t meet an author at a job fair or see authors on television living a life that I wanted when I grew up. I wasn’t inspired to be a writer by others. I was inspired to write by something else.

Writing has always been something that I have enjoyed doing and sharing with others. Storytelling has always been a huge part of not only my life but also my identity.

The way that I developed over the years has shaped the topics, tones, and themes of my stories. This makes my writing unique to me, I have trained myself to look for stories, and because of my perspective on life, those stories will be unique to me.

Creatives see the world differently.

I came to this conclusion about artistic vision because I, like many others, can turn off my creative lense. I can zone out on my bike ride to the train station. I can stare out of my window and think about nothing at all.

I can also turn that switch back on and look at the people on the streets for inspiration. I can look at the sun waging a burning battle on the clouds, and I can see the way that the wind bullies the trees. I have taught myself to see ordinary things in bizarre ways.

I practice unusual ways of describing things, I have looked at color and shapes and broken them down into their individual parts. I build them back up as something entirely different.

I love to play with the world.

The world is a writer’s playground.

There are many ways to do this through challenges or goals. Sometimes it can be difficult to inject the fun back into something once it’s all work. Here are a few of the ways that I play, maybe they can help you find some fun in things.

  • Odd descriptions

I love this one an awful lot. It’s something that I regularly use in my freewriting. I take something completely ordinary and describe it in the strangest way that I can.

  • Character mashing

Take the next two people that you see and mash them together. The way they walk, the way they look. Think about the jobs that they might have and choose one as an occupation and the other as a hobby. Now you have a firefighter who is going to night school to become a lawyer. Maybe you have a retired person who is learning how to ride a bike for the first time.

The combinations are endless and random, and they can be a lot of fun. This is also a great way of tucking away character ideas for later.

  • Random items

Think about some random items that could belong to anybody. Don’t be afraid to get specific and weird. Once you have a list of five-ish items, write a paragraph or two about the person who owns all of them. Where do they live, what are their occupations, what are their hang-ups?

Now go play.

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Beth van der Pol

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Author, writer and general young unprofessional!

The Startup

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