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Creative Writing from the Outside

No matter if you love or hate writing, you know that it can be a chore sometimes. Especially the getting started part. Creative writing often means hours spent wandering around Facebook, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and hours spent staring at an empty page. Lots of tools and apps are available to help writers get their creativity out. Creative writing story prompts can be useful tools to kick things off but sometimes, still, creative writing can be intimidating and many of the world’s famous writers have reputations for being excellent drinkers.

If even with the apps and prompts, you still can’t think of anything to say, here is some secret good news! Creativity doesn’t always have to come from within, and it doesn’t have to be entirely original. Copying the work of others (of course, not completely) can be a great motivational boost and a creativity enhancer. Also, it’s fun brain exercise. Two useful methods of piggybacking off the creative writing skills of others are ‘substitution’ and ‘found poems’.

‘Substitution’ is a great creative writing learning tool. Choose a paragraph or two from one of your favorite authors, and rewrite it. Change the nouns, verbs and adjectives, but keep the sentence structure and style mostly the same. Then put your name on the bottom, followed by the words “in the style of Ernest Hemingway/Jane Austen/Neil Gaiman”. You’ll sound quite slick, and your friends will be impressed. As a learning tool, it allows you to closely examine how other people put their thoughts together in print.

Another favorite is ‘found poems’. A ‘found poem’ takes words and language from other contexts, usually a piece of prose but it can come from anywhere, and re-craft it into poetry. Pull out any interesting pieces of imagery from the prose, take words or phrases, and put them all together into a poem. Then, take that poem anywhere you want. Leave it as you found it, or change some or all of the words and rewrite it completely.  Come back to it later, and give it a complete reworking with a fresh mind, when you have completely forgotten the original. It’s all creative writing.

Here is an example of a poem found inside Omar Mouallem’s article entitled The Great Indoors from Avenue Edmonton magazine on page 44, published February 2013. It has been left almost as it was found.

Creative_Writing_040320131634From the glory years
Its stature has shrunk
Impossibly, loss of pride is
Its defining monument

Born in a broken home
Raised in an urban center
An escape on a budget
That brings us for feeding

A shadow watches over
Angelic snowflake designs
Replacing cartoon architecture
Same Oz, new Wizard.

When you are trying to motivate yourself toward creative writing, getting started is the hardest part. Sometimes, the best way to get started is to make the exercise as easy and low stress as possible. Sneak a peek at what other people are doing and let their words start you off. Just be sure to share the credit.

This article was written by Susan Hofforth on behalf of I’m Write, providing SEO copywriting and web content writing for SEO firms.

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Writing