“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” — Edward de Bono
Do you ever find yourself stuck in that “the only way to be a writer is to write” rut? Trying to follow the “write through it” rule when you feel frustrated and creatively stunned?
Well, I absolutely agree that, most often, sticking to it is the best way to get through a lag in creativity. But sometimes we find we’ve “stuck to it” for so long that it feels like we’re looking into a bowl of alphabet soup.
It’s a well known fact that at least 77% of writers experience writer’s block and 19% experience an absence of creativity and inspiration that leads to the absence of literary creation on their part. The remaining 4% experience what has become known as “denial”.
Sounds frustrating, right? Well, have no fear, technology is here… just ask the internet!
There are plenty of ways to catalyze writing inspiration, and they’re all easy to find with a search engine.
Some of the most common ideas I’ve found are:
- Watch a movie
- Spend time with friends and family
- Take a walk
- People watch
- Work around your house
All these things are great ideas. I have always done these things to thwart creative doldrums. But, I have to admit that after reading so many blog posts and other media about writing and creativity, I’ve become more conscious of my creative “down-time” and it’s been quite a learning experience.
I find that these things work well and, in my opinion, it’s because they all involve “unplugging”. Getting away from the screen and keyboard. That includes social media (even Twitter and Facebook on my phone).
But what do I do when I need a creative recharge and the house is clean, the yard already looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine (or it’s pouring rain outside), all my family/friends are busy, and a drive through the hills to join the masses in town would take a bit more time than I have at the moment?
I plug in.
Oh, rest assured that my laptop and phone are off (or in the other room with the sound muted). How do I do it?
Now, I’m not a “gamer” by today’s definition, but I love my video games. And, they seem to have a surprising influence on my creative recharge.
In just a few moments I have gone from being a creatively blocked and frustrated writer to a covert agent, race car driver or alien extermination expert. And, for the most part, I’m in control. I get to decide whether I want to take out my enemies in stealth mode or obliterate them with shock and awe. I can drive with precision and finesse and win the race or I can do a few “donuts” and drive the wrong way on the track just to see the cars fly.
At times I get so lost in the game that I find myself physically leaning to “look around a corner”. 3-D technology is pretty awesome these days, but it’s still not THAT good! I do, however, take full advantage of the fictional transformation. I become my character and start talking to the game. Yep, I’m a screamer.
Even though I have momentarily stepped away from my writing project, am I not, by controlling my part in the game, creating a story? Okay, not completely, but probably more than I was while I sat in front of my laptop trying to force my literary genius (okay, mule) to get a move on!
That being said, I haven’t found direct inspiration from a gaming break… yet. But that’s most likely because, believe it or not, my writing and gaming preferences are not the same. But, if they were, would that be “stepping away”?
I’m not saying that video games are the answer for everyone and I’m not suggesting that anyone spends a majority of their time playing them. It’s just that I have not noticed them specifically listed as a way to relax and recharge creatively, so I thought I would throw it out there.
Is there anything that you do during creative breaks that may not be suggested often? Do you play video games as a catalyst for creativity?
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are so, if you have another moment or two, please leave a comment!
Thanks for spending time with me!
(The photo in this post is from the official Ubisoft/Splinter Cell website – available for download in their “wallpaper” section. http://splintercell.uk.ubi.com/doubleagent/)