The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘writing prompts

 

Scratching can look like borrowing and appropriating, but it’s an essential part of creativity. It’s primal and very private. It’s a way of saying to the gods, “Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just wander around in these back hallways…”and then grabbing that piece of fire and running like hell.
-Twyla Tharp, choreographer

Where do you get your ideas? How do you generate small ideas that lead to big writing projects? It’s springtime and as we put away our winter coats, boots and hats, we naturally desire to generate fresh ideas for our writing life. Twyla Tharp, world famous choreographer, in her understated, but powerful book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it For Life, uses the concept of ‘scratching’ as a method for finding and incubating new ideas.

‘Scratching’, she observes is what we do so we aren’t always waiting for the “thunderbolt” of inspiration to hit. Tharp says, “That’s what I’m doing when I begin a piece. I’m digging through everything to find something. It’s like clawing at the side of a mountain to get a toehold, a grip, some sort of traction to keep moving upward and onward.”

Twarp notes the importance of reading, as a place to scratch for ideas. Many writers reread the classics or work by mentors they love as a way to sharpen their senses and generate new perspectives. Tharp likes to read ‘archeologically’, backwards in time, working her way from a contemporary idea back to an ancient text.  When working on an idea for a dance she began with Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy which led her to Dionysus and then studies of Dionysus (worship of and symbols connected to), which led her to Euripides and his The Bacchae. These readings led to her choreograph ‘Bacchae’, a dance that explores hubris and is loosely based on the Euripides text.

Inspired by her strategy, years ago, I made a list of the subjects that I typically read about both as an academic and as a creative writer.

List:  self-help /’how to’ in yoga, health and wellness, women’s health, women’s empowerment, public speaking; craft of writing books; cookbooks; leadership; 18-20th century African American history, spirituality; creativity; women’s spirituality; African American women; black feminism; dreams; sociology of race; women’s and gender studies; elections and campaigns; feminist theory, history of the American university; genres: speculative fiction, thrillers, literary fiction

When finished with this list, I felt pretty impressed.

But then I asked myself, what are the subjects I rarely read in, have no working knowledge of, couldn’t put two sentences together about, or even avoid?

Here’s that list: general biographies, colonial American history, world history, geography, travel memoirs, animals, romance, celebrities, sailing, cars, history of language, math and science, sports, nature, children’s books, plays, poetry, Christian fiction, true crime, technical books

Doing this exercise motivated me to dig into many unexplored subjects.

What would your reading lists look like?

Here are three scratching strategies:

-Flirt with a different genre (or even subgenre)-It’s always fun to explore a different writing genre than the one that’s become your norm.  In a recent writing workshop, the instructor encouraged us to take a short piece that we were working on, keep the characters but rewrite it using a different genre. This exercise felt so liberating. I found myself exploring space opera with what had started out as a realistic story. I have little working knowledge of space operas, but it was fun to use my imagination to fill in the gaps.

-Visit a writer’s residence or historic site-Traveling to see a writer’s home is a kind of pilgrimage that can bring us fresh insights. A few years ago, I traveled to Edenton, NC to learn a bit more about Harriet Jacobs, a fugitive slave, writer and abolitionist who penned Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl under the pseudonym Linda Brent. My literary pilgrimage was so rejuvenating.

-Mine Magazines-Acquire ten magazines that you never read (you can buy some and collect others from friends, the doctor’s office, libraries, etc.) and read them from cover to cover. Keep a list about the trends, ideas and musings that spark your interest.

Where are you going to scratch for ideas this spring?

 

We had a blast on my ‘Affirm the Writer in You’ webinar on Thursday! Here is the replay, available through the end of Jan 3.

A way to be connected to your Writing Self is through having what I call a strong ‘creative core’. I talked about this revolutionary concept on the webinar. The concept of the creative core is the foundation of all my work.

Just like you have a physical core that stabilizes you, you also have a ‘creative core’. For many of us, our creative core is underdeveloped. We’re often easily knocked off course, produce inconsistent results and struggle to keep our focus.

As you’re making plans for your writing success in 2017, I’m inviting you to join me in my signature 4 week ‘Tone Your Creative Core™’ Program which helps creative people deal with the universal blockers and dream killers that ALL creative people struggle with.
My program is designed tackle the areas that creative people, ESPECIALLY writers struggle with most: time, abundance and prosperity, feeling worthy to create and goal-setting. Through this program you will get to experience your best creative self.

This program shapes your ‘creativity core’ so that it unleashes your potential. You will be rewarded with a new level of energy, focus and commitment!

  • You’ll strengthen a relationship with your Writing Self
  • You’ll learn how to create with consistency, passion and purpose.
  • You’ll learn how to recognize and conquer your internal and external saboteurs.

I have a special FAST-ACTION Bonus-– if you act by 11:59 Jan 3rd you will ALSO receive a personal coaching session with me! I bring my experience as a published writer and creativity coach and provide structure and accountability to support you. If you’ve been wanting to work with a coach to receive individualized support, here’s your opportunity.

2nd Bonus: You’ll also receive my 40 day Affirmation workbook. In this workbook, I share 40 powerful affirmations about writing that will inspire and encourage you every time you face the page. As you know, my daily practice of using affirmations has changed my life. I did a recent guest blog post talking about lessons learned.

3rd Bonus:  MP3 audio file of how to generate energy for your creative work (esp. when you just don’t feel like it). I interviewed successful writers, artists and coaches about how to generate more energy for your creativity, even when you don’t feel like it! They share their secrets and phenomenal tips. You’ll hear from Eric Maisel, SARK, Amanda Owen and many more. You’ll have at your fingertips numerous strategies to combat feeling overwhelmed and just TOO TIRED TO CREATE!

The investment for you is $67. Start the New Year by investing in your creative life and guaranteeing transformation!

Sign up here.

Motivation and momentum are the twin power sources that fuel a writer’s life. Most of us struggle with having enough of both, especially when trying to finish long writing projects. In my ‘Affirm the Writer in You’ webinar tonight, I’ll be talking about to how connect with these power sources and the importance of connecting with your  Writing Self.

It’s the holidays and you might have missed my invitation. That’s OK. Below are the details for you to join me tonight-without signing up. I want to empower you to take action on your writing dreams in 2017.
Preparation and Prompts:

Have on hand a pen and some paper for the webinar. I’ll take us through a few exercises that will require writing. You can also type, if you prefer.

If you have time before our call, you can play with answering the following prompts:

-The words I would use to describe my Writing Self include…
-At the beginning of a writing session, I usually feel…
-When writing is going well, I feel…
-One writing goal that I have for 2017 is…

On this live call, I will be offering special bonuses and gifts. You don’t want to miss out!

The webinar will begin at 8pm, Thursday, December 29, EST. You’ll want to hop on a few minutes before to make sure you are able to log in, etc.

Here is the info:

Use the link to see my slides!

Hi there!

I’m sending a special invitation to readers of my blog. I want to empower you to take action on your writing dreams in 2017.

During the year, I’ve heard from many of you about the challenges of maintaining a writing life.

How has your writing life been this year?

Are you feeling disconnected from your Writing Self? That’s the part of us that creates the magic, believes in us and gives us courage to face the page.

Do you walk around frustrated knowing you have writing gifts to share but don’t know how to begin or keep going?

What I learned this year is that when we are deeply connected to our Writing Self, we can live our highest vision as a writer. And, we can rock it! I’ve been doing a daily affirmation practice for the past 355+ days and it has changed my life in.  My writing productivity has exploded and my inner critics have disappeared.

I am hosting the Affirm the Writer in You: 5 Ways to Connect to Your Writing Self for 2017 webinar and I’m inviting you.

It’s free and I’ll share a process to connect to your Writing Self and set yourself up for success in 2017. During the webinar you’ll find out:

·How to deepen a connection with your Writing Self
·How to supercharge your productivity and sustain your momentum
·How to get unstuck and approach the page with more ease
·How to deal with challenges of time, energy, self-worth

Go here to save your seat for this live training! I’ll be offering some special bonuses to those on the call.

Get the support and tools you need to take your writing life to the next level!

 

Affirmations-366Days#310: I use timed writing exercises to get past the inner critic. I allow words to pour out of me fast and free.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Hi creative peeps,

I’m doing ‘pop-up’ coaching at 6:30 (EST) tonight on Facebook Live. Ask me ANYTHING about writing, making time for a creative life, and how to beat those pesky inner critics, etc. I’ll also share some tips about how to get your creative projects going full blast through the end of the year.

Come to my Facebook Page (Michele T Berger) at 6:30. I’d love to support you in meeting your creative goals.

Affirmations-366Days#269: I enjoy creating my own supply of writing prompts that help me when I get stuck.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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