Tag: Creativity

How to Spark Your Creative Genius

Losing your sense of creativity or simply failing to find the inspiration needed to to create the best work possible is something all writers face. It can be frustrating and debilitating, which can lead to a forced piece of written material lacking in passion. If you as a writer are struggling to get in touch with your inner creative genius, just know that everyone goes through the same thing, even the best of us. Consider any of the following strategies to wake that sense of imagination and originality.

Understand and Practice Monotony

This seems entirely counterintuitive, but taking part in an activity, or not, that is mundane and downright boring can lead to a wandering mind. A study published on Sage Journals stated that this mindlessness and attempt to subconsciously entertain one’s self can actually promote creative thinking. Some monotonous tasks you could take part in include cleaning your house or work area, counting the number of items on your desk, or simply staring at a wall! Don’t get too excited.

Void Yourself of Distractions

All writers seek to eliminate distraction to some extent, so this is nothing new, but it can do wonders for your creativity. Depending on the area in which you prefer to write, make sure any televisions are off, your phone is on silent, and you are left with nothing but your thoughts. This free-thinking mindset will spark thoughts that you may not have been able to access with distractions or background noise.

Fill the Room With Distractions

I know what I said. While eliminating all possible distractions is a good way of promoting creativity, conversely, distracting yourself with a variety of activities can have the same effect. When you are deeply focused on a single task, your brain effectively ignores all other stimuli around you, which can limit your mindset to that one specific project. Actually delving into the distractions around you can spark ideas for a number of different solutions to one problem. Read a magazine, listen to music, or watch a brief amount of television to get the creative juices flowing.


Sometimes this mental lapse in creativity can be caused by overexertion of the brain and a forced attempt to think of something new, which can have adverse effects. When this is the case, simply walk away from your computer, notepad, typewriter, or whatever medium you are utilizing to write, and clear your mind. Meditate, take a nap, talk a walk outside, or even make a drink to destress and rejuvenate your creative genius. You’ll come back to your written work with a refreshed sense of inspiration, which could lead to ideas that were previously blocked by mental overexertion.

Keep Pounding Away

The best advice that was ever given to me was just to keep writing, no matter how inspired or uninspired you feel at the moment. This is important to remember because writing is like any other activity, in that in order to get better, you just need to keep practicing. Waiting on the “aha” moment, will cause you to stall out, and procrastinate on your writing. Sometimes the best ideas come from just sitting your butt in a chair, and getting it done.

How to Receive Proper Feedback

Hearing criticism or feedback is tough to hear, especially for anyone in the creative arts such as writing. But one of the best ways to improve as a writer is receiving and learning from the feedback of others. Whether they are casual readers or fellow writers, criticism, praise, or suggestions can all help you learn from your mistakes and progress into a better writer. However, the trick is actually getting that feedback.

Attracting readers is absolutely necessary if you wish to better your writing. There may be lines you’ve written that seem comparable to those of Hemingway in your mind, which then suddenly appear to be poorly constructed the next day. As many would believe, you are your own worst critic, so it’s hard to tell which is the truth.


Asking for feedback is a two-way street. Simply asking, “Can you review this?” is a vague questions that leaves the door open for even vaguer answers. Instead, ask a few specific questions to give the reader an idea of what you’re looking for in his or her feedback, and a direction in which he or she can provide meaningful answers. After asking these questions, refrain from trying to explain certain parts of your work. Let readers form their own opinions. Consider the fact that you won’t be able to explain these possibly confusing parts to people that may read your work halfway around the world. The piece should speak for itself.


The first step in receiving feedback is accepting that you need it. Before revealing your creative work to the world, make sure you have an open mind. It will be criticized, but do not let that deter you from continuing. Rather, learn from it. Constructive criticism is not a personal attack on your work. The world’s most successful writers, authors, and poets wouldn’t be at their respective levels of fame without having their works criticized, and then taking away meaningful lessons from those critiques and suggestions.


Proofread. There is perhaps no greater frustration than having a simple grammatical error pointed out by a reader that you missed before submitting your work. In order to avoid this frustration, read over your work before submitting it to those who’ve offered to review it. A story, article, or poem that is riddled with small errors immediately comes off as unprofessional, and will most likely be dismissed by its readers. You want to display your work with confidence. Only when you feel that it is as its best possible state should you ask for feedback on it.


The audience you ask to review your piece is just as important as the ‘when’ and ‘why’. Ideally, you’ll want to ask fellow writers or avid readers that understand the difference between a masterpiece and a poorly written diary entry. Not only do they know what they’re talking about, but they will most likely be upfront and honest in their answers. Asking family members or significant others will almost always yield sympathetic answers. Though flattering, they are not often constructive.

As a writer, I believe that feedback is necessarily to fuel your career and grow your skills. However, make sure it is constructive, and process it in a way that helps you learn. You will not always hear what you want to hear, but that is no reason to get too emotional, or attached to it. Show appreciation for those offering to review your work, and listen to what they have to say. Learning from your mistakes is what will eventually allow you to develop your abilities in the writing world.

Leonard David Raymundo holiday writing

Writing During the Holidays: Mission Impossible

For writers who wish to continue their passion despite time consuming obligations, coupled with large gatherings of friends and family members, the journey is quite the challenge. Rather than accepting the fact that finding a suitable environment to develop creativity is hopeless, it’s probably best to get creative in that sense. It’s more important than ever to think of new ways to generate creativity and spark your imagination.

Finding the time to sit down and write during periods of constant commotion can be a hindrance to any writer, even outside of the holiday season. One thing I’ve found that works wonders, is other than simply leaving the room, try experimenting with different writing mediums. If you’re someone who typically writes on a laptop, consider having a journal nearby. Writing by hand when you’re used to typing can bring about a surprisingly dramatic change in your thought process. Even more so, switching to mobile to finish a thought or sentence can give clarity, as well as give you a decent excuse to step outside for a moment. I prefer apps that can seamlessly save my notes between my phone and laptop.

Write something that’s outside of your comfort zone. Sticking to your normal creative process time after time can actually regress your creativity. If you feel that the subject you’re covering in that moment is lacking in passion or just doesn’t have the feel you were aiming for, scratch it. While this may seem like a waste of time, continuing to force the scene can actually waste more time, in addition to creating a scene that you’d rather not include in your piece.

If you’d prefer not to scrap an entire scene, take a break from that and writing something completely different. This can be a journal of your thoughts, a documentation of those around you, or an entirely different piece of literature. The goal is to give your mind a break from the task at hand while still keeping the creative writing juices flowing.

Keep in mind that during the holidays, you may be around a lot of people. Writing, in a sense, is about people. Find inspiration in your surroundings and expand on any ideas you come up with. Do you have an aunt or uncle that had one too many cocktails? Could their now impressive change in speech volume translate to a characteristic for the antagonist of your story? Ask your friends and family members if they have any stories they’ve failed to tell you in the past. Anything new can help. Despite potential distractions, thinking of new angles could be slightly simplified with the added crowd and noise.

When all’s said and done, continuing to write while the holiday season is in full swing can be tricky. The strategies mentioned above can certainly help, but don’t limit yourself to just those. Being creative means thinking for yourself, ignoring doubt, and above all else, applying yourself. So, during your family Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa party, rather than feeling overwhelmed, embrace the chaos and let your writing immerse itself.

Leonard David Raymundo visual writing

Visual Writing: Painting a Mental Picture

Captivating your audience as a writer can be fairly difficult due to a number of factors, including the topic of the piece, the attention span of the reader, and most importantly, the style of writing. An effective way to attract readers and inspire them to continue reading is writing visually, and by that I mean creating images within the heads of those reading simply through your choice of words.

A definition of “good” visual writing would be painting mental pictures in your audience’s minds without them even realizing you are doing so. In order to engage your readers, they’ll want to be able to see the action taking place in their heads. However, don’t have the mindset that bigger is better. More action, violence, or drama in general doesn’t necessarily translate to visuality. Focus on the detail of every scene in your narrative. This includes things like the set, symbol, and characters.

The line “It was nighttime when I awoke.” gives little insight as to what the character is actually seeing in that moment. As the narrator, imagine yourself in that position, and expand on what could possibly be seen. This line could convey much more visuality if it were to say “I awoke to a dark room dimly lit by moonlight, with shadows cast by the items on my desk next to the window.” Already the audience has an idea of what that room looks like, and can put themselves in that position.

Symbols and motifs are also great ways to further describe each scene. The items on the desk mentioned above could be better detailed depending on the mood. If this is a horror story for example, the character could describe seeing the silhouette of a doll standing on the desk casting a shadow, when the doll was previously on the floor before he or she fell asleep. Or, if you would prefer to be a little less obvious, the doll could be a recurring theme that symbolizes a specific thought the character is having about another character in the piece.

Another aspect of visual writing to consider is the depth of emotion that you wish to channel in any given scene. Things to play off of can include the focus of a specific image, duration, already connected emotions, and the genre of the piece. For example, in a dramatic play, describing a moment where the main character is looking at a picture of his or her deceased father, and going into great detail as to what he or she is seeing, feeling, and hearing in that instance can perpetuate the anguish of the piece.

It is important to remember that images are subjectively interpreted. Asking a large group of people to describe a tree for example, will result in possibly hundreds of variations. The same can be said when asking that group how a specific image of a tree makes them feel. Some may react positively, while others react negatively. With that said, it is not an easy task composing a picture that you want to convey one single emotion, but focusing on that picture with words that give emotional context can help.

While stories are typically comprised of a beginning, middle, and end, it’s the scenes in between that build each. Visual writing is vital in establishing characters’ motivations, the theme, and the plot as a whole, and could spell the difference between a subpar story, and a great story.

5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Your calendar just cleared for the weekend, and that excitement of sitting down to write starts to build. You wake up, make your coffee, walk your dogs, before finally opening up your laptop with the intention of using your time to hammer away at that manuscript you’ve talked about since forever.

Except, when it comes time to actually move your fingers to start writing, you hit a wall. You stare at that blank word document, searching for answers that may or may not come.

It’s a feeling that all writers have come across at some point. With writing inevitably comes moments of stagnancy where you feel as though every ounce of creativity you ever had has been completely exhausted. Writer’s block affects almost everyone whose interests lie within a pen and paper. This temporary inability to think can be caused by fear of critique, wanting to create something perfect, or simply a lack of motivation. Here are a few techniques to aid in getting out of this creative slump.

Get up and move

It may seem simple, but going for a leisurely stroll around the block can do wonders for one’s mental clarity. Walking and physical activity in general reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and boosts creativity. If there happens to be inclement weather that day, try yoga, or other meditative practices. The trick is to clear your mind. Sitting around your desk wallowing in self-pity from your lack of imagination will only worsen your writer’s block.

Change your environment

Many writers tend to lose motivation over time from a stale environment. A writing area that remains unchanged for years can easily turn into a place of dread if you begin to associate that area with negativity, regardless of aesthetics. Rearrange the layout of your desk or of the room entirely. Add a few plants, paintings, or candles to inspire yourself, and create a whole new atmosphere that feels different. If you’d prefer to leave your current area of creativity as is, even writing outside or in a different room can be the environmental change your mind needs.


Writing when you’re experiencing writer’s block may seem counter intuitive. One simple solution is to write about just that. Describe your feelings about your current situation, and expand on the frustration of not being able to write in general. An alternative to this method would be to look around the room and write about what you see. Though it may feel forced, getting your pen moving can actually promote mental activity, leading to a wider range of thought.

Indulge in another form of creativity

Your temporary absence of thought when writing could be limited to just that. Direct your creativity towards another hobby like painting, playing an instrument, building a house of cards, or cooking, for example. The key is to keep the creative part of your brain active regardless of the task. Focusing on other art forms could put an end to that mental pause, and get you back into the flow of writing.

Eliminate distractions

Common causes of writer’s block are consistently checking one’s phone, surfing the internet, or constant interaction with others. Anything that can direct your attention away from writing should be considered a distraction, and should be set aside for the time being. Turn off your phone, unplug your internet connection, and lock the door. While you may feel like a bit of a recluse, disconnecting yourself from the outside world can help your brain tap into its most creative portion.

Writer’s block can truly discourage those who believe the pen is mightier than the sword from thinking so. Do not let this pessimism consume you. Try some of the strategies listed above if you’re experiencing a creative deficit to keep your pen or pencil moving.

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