From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Re-post: Extra-curricular Activities for Creative Writers

ne of the things I love best about calling myself a writer is that absolutely anything can qualify as "research." People watching, movie watching, book reading, game playing, music listening, grocery shopping, etc. It all counts, because it can all inspire and generate creativity. In fact, I think ever writer kind of needs something extra to keep the juices flowing and the blocks from staying.

Think of 'Julie and Julia.' Julia Powell accomplished her goal of becoming a published writer through the extra-curricular activity of cooking. J. R. R. Tolkien developed Lord of the Rings out of his love for studying languages. Shakespeare was both a writer and an actor, and I bet both activities fed into and inspired each other.

In my case, as an example, I'd say my primary "extra-curricular activity" is theater and film. This is a little easier to tie in to writing because both theater and writing are creative, artistic fields, but it works well as an example. You can meet people who inspire certain characters. You can practice inhabiting a character, which is essential for both actors and writers. You get to practice being rejected over and over again until you finally get a yes. You experience stories in a new and exciting way. All of this can apply to theater and writing.

But there are lots of other activities with more lessons to teach. Extra activities can help you heighten your emotional sensibilities, connect with other people, relax and expand your mind, refresh your bank of characters and plots, inspire a specific story, refresh your mind and body physically, keep you up to date with the modern world, teach you about the ancient one, find creative ways to market your work, and the list goes on and on. Find activities that work for you and derive your own lessons from them.

Here's a very incomplete list of extra-curricular activities that may help inspire you. It may be useful as a starting point:

-Theater/Film (acting, directing, reviewing, costume/set design, cinematography, dramaturgy, etc.)
-Improv (improv groups are a GREAT source of creative inspiration)
-Pets (breeding, training, loving, etc.)
-Mothering (this is a huge one)
-Sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, etc.
-Sciences (biology, psychology, astrology, chemistry, etc.)
-Design (interior design, fashion design, ad campaign design, etc.)
-Physical training
-Anything else you like to do

What extra activities do you do for inspiration?

Sarah Allen


  1. Living in the city, gardening is not only a way for me to keep in touch with Nature, but this bond gives birth to new ways of thinking. Same goes for music. You hear a song; it could be a soundtrack from a movie, a variation of your favorite song or the latest release from your favorite singer/band. Music inspires and promotes new thoughts that enter into the creative process of writing. Let's not forget dreams; the kind that you remember and stay with you the next day. Something about these special dreams can bring out the best in inspired writing.

  2. Thanks for your comments, and I totally agree. I think writers need something to freshen their minds once in a while.


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