These tips on how to write creatively are inspired by my recent meeting of CWEST (pronounced “Quest” and representing “Creative Women Expressing Soul Together”). CWEST is a group I started a couple months ago – and I daresay it’s the most interesting group I’ve ever created!
We discussed The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield during our last CWEST meeting. Resistance was the topic du jour…resistance to creating, resistance to art, resistance to self-expression and artistic endeavors. I love The War of Art because it taught me that resistance is normal, and there are practical ways to overcome it. Professional writers feel the resistance, and write anyway.
I recently created CWEST on Facebook; feel free to visit and even join our group. We’ll be sharing photos of our creative endeavors. Below, I describe what CWEST is all about – and how this group is inspiring me to learn how to write creatively. You’d be surprised at how your writing can be fed and energized, simply by meeting with a group of artists a couple times a month.
How to Write Creatively
In 10 Creative Ways to Improve Your Writing, guest writer David Eagle shared practical tips on how to write creatively. This post has an entirely different slant. Instead of focusing on writing, I’m encouraging you to focus on different types of art.
Practice a different type of creative endeavor
Two months ago, I created CWEST – Creative Women Expressing Soul Together. It’s a free, open group for women to write, knit, draw, paint, scrapbook, or otherwise be creative together! We meet the 2nd Weds (7-9 pm) and 4th Sat (3-5 pm) of every month at my house in Vancouver.
In this group, women are encouraged to work on whatever creative endeavor they want. For instance, I want to colour and paint, so that’s what I usually do in our meetings. Other women knit, crochet, paint, make dolls, needle point, and write.
What creative endeavor would you pursue if had more time? Would you draw, sculpt, paint, or weave? That’s the first tip on how to write creatively: go beyond writing. Your art will fuel your writing. Your art – or craft – will bring new energy to your writing.
Join a group that isn’t focused on how to write creatively
In 7 Tips for Starting a Writers’ Group – Writing Alone, Together, I shared my experience starting a writing group. I’ve also started two book clubs and a group for women who don’t have kids (WWAP or Women Who Aren’t Parents). Clearly, I love groups!
CWEST is absolutely my favorite group. Hands down. It’s so encouraging and inspiring to meet with artistic, creative women every two weeks! We sometimes talk about writing, but also about knitting, painting, scrap booking, needle point, and photography. This fires up my creative writing spark because I’m learning to see the beauty in everything. I also feel comforted and nurtured in this group, because we’re all amateur artists and writers and artisans. We’re all learning together, and we share our insights and struggles about creating art.
I admit, I’m not sure exactly what it is about CWEST that is teaching me how to write creatively…but I’m finding it more inspirational than the writers’ groups I’ve been part of in the past. Maybe because writing gets so insular and self-involved. Writers are introspective and thoughtful. This is great, but it’s important to look up and away from your navel! I mean your novel.
Really see – examine, explore – the details in a doily that was crocheted. Look carefully at the swirls that oil paint makes on canvas. In this way you will learn how to write creatively because you’ll see, appreciate, and write about details that you previously overlooked.
Treat your writing as if it was a living, breathing beast
This is the quote I sent to my CWEST members before our last meeting:
“A work in progress quickly becomes feral,” said Annie Dillard. “It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”
What I love about this is that though Annie Dillard is a writer, she wasn’t just talking about writing. A “work in progress” can be a book or a bookcase, poetry or Pinterest. Any creative endeavor is a work in progress that needs to be treated with respect and reverence.
If you need a quick way to tame the lion, read 10 Fast Tips for Creative Writing.
Explore different ways to write creatively
CWEST aside, it’s important for you as a writer to go beyond metaphors and similes. Similes are like trendy colors and clothes: everyone thinks they’re being unique and creative when wearing them, but everyone does it. Ipso facto, it’s not creative.
Some writers are naturally good at stringing sentences together. Others need to work at it – they need to learn how to write. If you belong to the “how do I write?” group, then you need to start laying track. Learn the foundations of good writing, sentence structure, grammar, etc. Then move on to literary techniques.
After you’re comfortable with the basics of writing and a few literary techniques, start exploring your voice as a writer. One of the best tips on how to write creatively (after joining a group like CWEST!) is to find your voice as a writer.
What do you think, fellow scribes – have you learned how to write creatively, or are you a work in progress?
Your writing won’t be easy. But, it will be meaningful, fulfilling, and energizing – which is far more important than easy!