I only discovered I was creative several years ago after taking what was to be a brief hiatus. Until that time, I worked in very linear, analytical left brain fields with clear hierarchies, metrics, goals, and performance requirements. It’s only in hindsight that I’m able to identify times my right brain showed up, its appearance followed by comments like ‘How did you come up with that?’ or after strategies I had created involving non-traditional partnerships proved themselves and naysayers wrong. Since I’ve begun writing though, I no longer view creativity as something you either are or aren’t, nor left brain-right brain, but of using your full brain, and employing your full creativity to produce the book you want and experiences your readers will enjoy.
Here are a few things that work for me. Feel free to share your insight and others in Comments.
Organization – I have several notebooks and a binder for each writing project + a planner that includes submission dates and the marketing plan for my current work-in-progress. My binder also holds both an original and revised copy of the manuscript, along with the following tabs [Warning – I was a Consultant and Project Manager 🙂]:
- Planning – Goals, Vision Sheet for the book, Reader Profile, Why I’m writing this particular story
- Story Outline and Synopsis
- Characters and Hierarchy Chart
- Story Timeline
- Accounts – Like AutoCrit, Grammarly…
- Releases – Always CYA (cover your a–) legally!
- General Writing Info – tips, brief articles like Writing Great Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall (more on this later)
- Marketing Plan
- Scenes – I thought of & wrote down. Will place along the way.
- Phrases – Same. Some assigned to characters, some not.
- Terminology – Unique to story
- Components – Random items I’m not sure where they fit, and
- Art Work – Which brings me to
Sketches – This is one reason I advocate writing over keyboards. Not that you can’t do both (I do), but there’s something about the act of writing that causes creativity to flow in ways typing does not (The Benefits of Writing by Hand vs. Typing). It’s also very flexible; not dependent on technology or if you have enough RAM to open yet another program after opening 20 or so windows. Pen and paper makes it easy to switch from writing to sketching that item you just thought of – giving you a visual or otherwise assisting with the development of your story. It’s not about being a great artist, but about feeling the story in a way words cannot.
Photography – I have no desire to be a photographer, but noticed some of the ones taken were actually pretty good for an amateur (you be the judge). One even placed in the Top 20 of a contest. Sometimes, I’ll run errands and come across a scene, view, building… that captures some aspect of a story I’m working on. Pictures often see more than we do. They can also be used to create
Book Covers – This is your book. You only get one chance to make an impression and that impression will last. I’m all for professional book covers and there are some amazing artists like aLex Libris and Joshua Jadon. But if your photo perfectly captures your story, you may want to consider it. A little editing and a graphics artist may be all that’s needed.
There’s more I could say, but I hope these ideas have been helpful to you. Let me know by sharing your feedback and thoughts in the comments.
Here’s to unleashing your creativity and your book!