Curiosity Saved the Kat

Hey guys, I’ve invited some good friends/writers to get involved with a few guest posts! First up is Kat, who I met at MMU. She’s more focused on children’s writing than me and she’s damned good at it too. You may recognise her from World Hopping if you’ve been keeping an eye on that and you can also find her on Tumblr. Enjoy!

Dave.

“Boost your creativity by being curious.

Start by doing something different. Value each day as different and full of possibilities.” 

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That’s what I read the other day. So I jotted it down on a scrappy piece of paper along with train times, my to-do list, my hair appointment and a reminder of what is in my pirate sack (not actually my pirate sack as per se, the pirates in the book I’m writing. You’d be surprised at what they hoard).

Anyway, I like to think that I’m a creative person already. I write for crying out loud. But sometimes, we do have those occasions where you’re just lacking inspiration and creativity. You end up thinking the same ideas, the same plots, the same cliches…

This week, I’ve been off work. Top of the to-do list was, “Finish the first draft of my book.” As I sat down to write the remaining 15k of my novel, I began thinking of the ending I had roughly drafted on my very poorly written synopsis.

And I hated it. HATED. IT.

So, I went old-school, grabbed my pad of paper and began writing all the loose threads I had in my story. There was a lot. You could have knitted jumpers for a class of 30 kids, with the amount of loose threads. And the only ending I could think of was just bloody lame. I had to brainstorm and quickly.

Eight hours and one uni workshop later, I still wasn’t satisfied with my ending and had not written one single ‘ahoy there’. In fact the only thing I had decided was that my beginning must go. Other than that, I was completely stuck and begrudged hearty pirates and other children’s writers.

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I took the next day off, hoping that when I wasn’t thinking about it, a solution would materialise.

And that’s when I saw the quote I had scribbled down.

I made time to spend extra time on being curious. I began with little things at first.

The next day, instead of dressing in my usual clothes, I picked an ensemble of clothes that I had never worn together. I froze most of the day (why this conjures up a mini skirt and skimpy top, I have no idea… it wasn’t either) but I enjoyed having to think of something new to wear.

Later,I was searching and applying for jobs. One job that came up, particularly interested me but I felt was way out of my reach- I’d never apply for a job like that, nor hope to be short listed. But, I did apply. As scary as it was at first and how painstakingly longer it took me, I did it. And felt proud when I pressed the ‘submit’ button.

They really don’t even have to be a big deal. I also tried a new facial product (made my skin feel so soft, whether it’s worth the price ticket, I’m not quite sure), I picked smoked haddock for tea (instead of the usual breaded cod) and during my exercise routine, I threw caution to the wind and did a new workout (my legs however, are not grateful for this one).

See? Easy? Little changes, some that took longer than normal but most of all they took more thought. I had to use my little brain.

And yesterday it paid off.

I chose to drive a different route home. You’d be surprised at how something small like that can make you far more observant and alert. Driving the same roads puts you on auto pilot. Instead I picked roads that I’ve always wondered ‘where do you lead to?’ and do you know where they led me to? They led me home but armed with a plan for my plot, that might actually work.

I sat down, picked up my pen and scribbled away. And I’m 90% sure that it’s the plot for me.

Although the weekend is nearly here, signalling that work is looming over the hill that is Sunday, I haven’t completed my first rough draft. I’m nowhere near it.

I have though, learnt something.

Sometimes you do just need to do that something a little bit different in order to boost your creativity, stimulate your thinking and ultimately have that light bulb moment.

Try it, it paid off for me. My pirates are sailing again.

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