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Creativity is in Observation

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 logo-v-smallObservation for the creative writer.


Probably the most important attribute for a writer- the ability to observe, record and relate

How do you identify a book by Danielle Steel, J.K. Rowling, or Paulo Coelho?  Without batting an eyelid, you can answer in just two words: writing style!  Yes, these famous writers are known for their unique styles.  How did they do this?

There is a difference between an ordinary writer, who is just content with straight story-telling, and someone who creates a particular approach to writing; that marks the style as their very own.  This is where creativity is born.

We all know that creative writers are made; that creativity is not in their genes. This means that you, too, can develop your own creative writing skills just as those seasoned writers previously mentioned. Of the several ways to acquire these skills,  reading; playing games with words, including participation in commercially available board games, brainstorming on the forums with fellow writers; developing a regular habit of writing; finding a mentor, or; by enrolling in online courses on creative writing; the most important factor is storing the ideas . It has been mentioned before and will be mentioned many times again. Create your own Ideas mine.

Having your Ideas mine enables key elements to be apparent to the writer. Writing descriptions in a story you should give attention to creative writing observations; this is where many student writers fail. There is a need to evaluate your own senses, do not settle for second rate descriptions, for example, “the yellow-orange sunset” or “it smells good”, descriptions are rather flat and do not evoke any empathetic yearnings,  needs/wants or recognitions  within your readers.  In other words, you need to use the skills of observing, of understanding the complexity and of a thorough investigation.

To set out upon a serious writing task, you need to approach your subject intimately; get up close, get into the mindset, get under the skin and ask yourself probing questions. Keen observation is a fundamental skill that you need to develop to become a good writer.  So, how do you develop this skill?

  • As mentioned earlier, it is important to get into the habit of writing, and most importantly, jotting down your observations every day.
  • Ideas mine. Whether or not, you have the tendency to forget things easily, carry a notebook everywhere and record your ideas and thoughts. Create your repository – your ideas mine- of facts thoughts and phrases.
  • Determine the time of day in which you feel you are most creative. Early morning / mid morning/ after lunch late afternoon or evening.
  • Revise. It is very rare that a story, or even part of it, comes out perfectly the first time it is committed to paper.  Even professional writers revise and edit their work over and over again.  The secret to doing this is, once you have completed the initial draft, leave it for a day or two. Then come back to it fresh; you will see your work from a better perspective. You will observe it in a new light and with new understanding.
  • Take it easy. Use your observation to see that the world will not disappear today, tonight or tomorrow morning. Writing is never a chore.  When you feel that it is a chore, observe how taking a break and refreshing yourself creates a whole new spectrum.  Get back to work when you feel you already have enough of “loosening up”.

To further hone your skills and achieve your creative goals, begin to use forum research, to select appropriate moods to present your detailed observation and creative listening and to unfetter your ideas and imagination.

Terry Gilbert- Fellows 2015

acting editor


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