Indie Author Weekly

064: Fun and simple exercise to enhance creativity

June 16, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 65
Indie Author Weekly
064: Fun and simple exercise to enhance creativity
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Indie Author Weekly
064: Fun and simple exercise to enhance creativity
Jun 16, 2020 Episode 65
Sagan Morrow

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about a handy, simple exercise you can use to expand your creative abilities. It’s going to help you tap into your inner creativity, make great use of your imagination, and make it easier for you to sit down and work on creative projects at any time. Pretty cool, right? 

This is an exercise I use all the time, and it’s something that comes fairly naturally to me. It’s how my brain works, frankly. I think in terms of stories. I live in my imagination a lot. I like playing with ideas and exploring concepts and going down the rabbit hole.  

That being said, you can use this as an exercise to actively work to enhance creativity. It’s a neat way to get more inspiration from everyday life. TUNE IN to this episode for the fun and simple exercise to improve your creative abilities, plus real-life examples of how I've used it! 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about a handy, simple exercise you can use to expand your creative abilities. It’s going to help you tap into your inner creativity, make great use of your imagination, and make it easier for you to sit down and work on creative projects at any time. Pretty cool, right? 

This is an exercise I use all the time, and it’s something that comes fairly naturally to me. It’s how my brain works, frankly. I think in terms of stories. I live in my imagination a lot. I like playing with ideas and exploring concepts and going down the rabbit hole.  

That being said, you can use this as an exercise to actively work to enhance creativity. It’s a neat way to get more inspiration from everyday life. TUNE IN to this episode for the fun and simple exercise to improve your creative abilities, plus real-life examples of how I've used it! 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about a handy, simple exercise you can use to expand your creative abilities. It’s going to help you tap into your inner creativity, make great use of your imagination, and make it easier for you to sit down and work on creative projects at any time. Pretty cool, right?

This is an exercise I use all the time, and it’s something that comes fairly naturally to me. It’s how my brain works, frankly. I think in terms of stories. I live in my imagination a lot. I like playing with ideas and exploring concepts and going down the rabbit hole. 

That being said, you can use this as an exercise to actively work to enhance creativity. It’s a neat way to get more inspiration from everyday life. 

Okay, so let’s get it into. Like I said, it’s pretty simple!

The exercise is this: take any minor thing that happened to you today, and craft a story around it. 

I do this all the time in my work as a productivity strategist: I’ll take the simplest things that happened during my day, and pull out a business lesson from that experience. For example, I actually wrote a productivity newsletter featuring 3 lessons I learned from writing my upcoming romance novel, Her Bad Idea, which is Book 7 in my Polyamorous Passions series. You can learn more about it at SaganMorrow.com/books.

Here’s what I wrote in that newsletter: 

While I was writing the first draft of Her Bad Idea, there were a few sections (mainly scene transitions and character motivations) that I'd been struggling with for weeks. I didn't know exactly why a character was doing X instead of Y. Or, I didn't know how they got from Point A to Point B. 

When I was initially writing those chapters and scenes, I told myself, "It's okay, Sagan. It doesn't matter that you're not sure what's going on there. You'll figure it out later." Sure enough, while I was recently deep in rewrite-mode on a printed version of the book, it all came together! 

Even better? I realized that many of the scene transitions could be tied together in just a few quick sentences... and that some of the character motivations had actually been alluded to at other parts of my book, so I could tap into those areas and make the story that much stronger. 

I wanted to share this with you because there are 3 great business lessons we can learn from this:

  1. Trust yourself. Just because you don't know WHY something is happening, or HOW it's all going to unfold... trust the process. Trust your skills. You've got this.
  2. Simplicity goes a long way. Instead of adding entire chapters to provide some kind of long meandering reason for why a character did XYZ, I could explain it in a few sentences. Likewise, there could be a very simple, straightforward solution to your business problems!
  3. A fresh perspective can change everything. Working from a printed version of the book helped me look through the story more easily than working off the screen—especially since I deliberately set aside 4 days to prioritize my book rewrites. Setting that time aside gave me the space I needed to explore those "problem scenes," without trying to rush through it or force something.

So, that’s what I wrote in my business newsletter, and you can see how I’ve applied lessons learned from writing my romance novels to the business world. Everything’s connected! By the way, if you want to get on my weekly newsletter list, you can sign up at SaganMorrow.com/newsletter.

In another example of pulling a business lesson from something, I’ve shared on Instagram in the past that I use bone china teacups to drink tea, and my grandmother’s antique silverware is the cutlery I use on a daily basis. And when I’ve talked about this, I framed it in terms of, “what are you waiting for? Why are you saving your good stuff til later? Why not live every day like it’s something special, something to celebrate, something that’s deserving of the ‘good cutlery’? What are you so afraid of? Is it really that big of a deal if you accidentally break something?” 

Through that lens, we can then tie it back to the importance of taking action in business on the stuff we’ve been tiptoeing around, perhaps out of fear of making a mistake. So you can see how this everyday thing of me grabbing a spoon to eat my morning yogurt with, leads into this whole business analogy!

And you can do this as an author, too. Take anything that happened and change one element of reality. What happens then? 

I love doing this as a way to get inspiration for my romance novels. It’s basically the “what if” game: for example, earlier this year, I was at a party with friends. One of my friends spilled her drink on the dance floor, so a couple of us grabbed the mop, cleaned it up, and that was that. 

But! What if we took that basic concept of a spilled drink and getting the mop, and we turned it into the foundation for an adorable meet-cute, where the hero saves our main character from slipping on the drink by showing up just in time with a mop?

Yes, that’s a sneak peek of something you can expect to get when you read my upcoming romantic comedy, Her Bad Idea! Pre-order it when you grab the Polyamorous Passions boxset at SaganMorrow.com/books.

I share more about how to do this “what if” game, and how to get more writing inspiration from small real-life events that happen to you, in Episode 10 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

The more stories we tell ourselves on a regular basis, the easier it is for our creative juices to get flowing. The more we exercise our brain to think of creativity as an everyday activity, the more we’ll be able to tap into our creative abilities as often as we want. 

You don’t need to follow a particular structure, here, either. You’re letting your imagination and flights of fancy take you where they will. You don’t need to try to define the setting and the characters and all of that in such a rigid fashion: instead, you’re just letting the story tell itself to you. 

This week, I encourage you to try this every day. Set the timer for three minutes, choose a random thing that happened to you, and try to craft a narrative around it. See if you can come up with a lesson or analogy, for example, the way I do with my business newsletters, or see if you can come up with a comedic or dramatic scene, the way you might in a novel. Use this opportunity to practice free-writing or just thinking in your head or even speaking out loud. 

You don’t necessarily need to do anything with the end product. It’s more about the exercise, the practice of it, than anything else. I’m curious to see if, after a week of doing this every single day, you find that it’s easier to sit down and work on your creative projects in general…

In fact, I’d love to hear from you about it! Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it! And you can send me a message on either of those platforms if you have requests for future episode topics, too. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. You can also submit your questions or topic ideas anonymously at SaganMorrow.com/question.

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and subscribe and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support.

By the way, you can access complete word-for-word transcripts of this episode and all past episodes, plus sample chapters of my books and a few other bonuses and goodies, on the “secret” version of this podcast. Get access to all of that at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.