Why you need to FEED your creativity

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about the need to feed your creativity….

I’m not generally a fan of fantasy, science fiction, horror or mystery. Nevertheless, I am a huge fan of Ray Bradbury, pictured above, who wrote in those genres. Mainly, I appreciate his advice about writing, which I’ve always found to be terribly wise.

I started thinking about Bradbury again after reading a recent Austin Kleon post, in which he invoked some of the late author’s advice relating to how to feed your creativity.

You know creativity is something that needs feeding, right? In a 2001 keynote address called, “Telling The Truth,” Bradbury suggested that every night aspiring authors read:

  • one short story
  • one poem
  • one essay

If you do that for the next thousand nights, he said, you’ll be full up of ideas.

Writing, of course, is not simply about the act of sitting in front of a computer and putting words onto the screen. You need to have something you want to communicate. And collecting that something requires all sorts of effort that appears to have nothing to do with writing.

It might include:

  • reading
  • listening to music
  • going for walks
  • meeting friends for lunch, coffee, dinner
  • seeing a play, a symphony orchestra or a ballet
  • going to an art gallery

All of these activities will feed your creativity and give you something to write about. They are not just “fun” (although many of them are indeed very enjoyable); they provide the essential raw material for writing.

Here’s one final important point that Austin emphasizes:

“You shouldn’t just feed on what you think you should feed on, but what’s most delicious and what really nourishes you. “I have fed my Muse on equal parts of trash and treasure,” [Bradbury] wrote, and that often included “comic strips, TV shows, books, magazines, newspapers, plays, and films.”

Don’t allow others to shame you. Consume what you enjoy and use it to feed your creativity.


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