Tips for cultivating life-long creativity
A few weeks ago, I received an unexpected message from a friend I’ve known since grade school. Her fourth grade class was immersed in a unit on writing, and she wanted to know if I could speak to an assembly of students about what it’s like to be a professional writer.
In case I wasn’t already flattered enough by her request, Katie added a P.S.: “I’ve been sharing some of your articles with the kids, and they love them!”
I read that last line and was immediately overcome by the “warm fuzzies.” This may surprise you, since I write for a living, but because I spend at least sixty percent of my workweek in front of a computer screen, it’s incredibly easy to forget that people read my writing and that my words can make a difference.
Only when I venture out from behind my standing desk, participate in new experiences, and meet new people do I begin to see that articles like those in the View’s “Giving View” section are positively influencing generations.
The magic is that those same life experiences, in turn, provide a fountain of new ideas that can then be parlayed into written material—like the aforementioned speaking engagement.
That day, while addressing the school’s fourth graders from the cafeteria stage, I answered many questions and made observations about the life and times of a professional writer. But here’s the point I wish I had addressed more eloquently:
At the heart of it, a “writer’s mindset” is nothing more than a “growth mindset.” You must be willing to veer away from your everyday routine, continue learning, and nurture an inner presence that drives you forward.
Let’s unpack that:
Veer away from everyday routine. It really is true that the best ideas happen in the shower. But they can also happen when you are gardening, traveling, or going for a jog. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and creativity comes most easily once you step out of your typical routine and give your mind time to “breathe.”
Continue learning. The next step in the process of thinking like a writer is indulging an insatiable hunger for knowledge and understanding. Make life-long learning an ongoing mission, taking a keen interest in those around you and allowing yourself to be curious about many things. Not only will you be a more knowledgeable person; you’ll also be more interesting and well-rounded.
Move forward. Breaking out of daily routine spurs creativity. An unflagging hunger for knowledge leads to clear, engaging communication. But there’s a third piece to a writer’s growth mindset: determination. An inner drive is a skill that will serve you well whether you’re writing a book, holding a job, or maintaining a marriage.
There are thousands of books, blogs, and articles about creativity, the craft of writing, and growth mindsets; but if you keep these three points in mind, you’ll be well equipped to find inspiration, clarity, and growth in any profession or wherever your travels take you.
Shake things up! Break out of your day-to-day routine and experience something you’ve never tried before. The sky’s the limit.
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