5 Ways to be CreativeNovember 03, 2014

National Novel Writing Month, which is celebrated during the month of November, is not about tips on how to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award. It must be an exercise on creativity. There's nothing wrong on aspiring to be the next great novelist from Oz, but this can take the fun out of writing.

There are many ways to be creative. You must love writing. You have to be passionate. You must try to be flexible on your career options in case you're serious about it. But let's not get ahead. Here are five ways:

Go places. Most writers found their inspiration when they're away. This puts them out of their comfort zone, which is a good thing. There are lots to see on the road. There are many people to meet. There's not a dull moment, but only a perceptive individual would know how to write it. One way of doing it is to reminisce a trip, where time would put some perspective. This makes a piece of writing unique, if not special.

Be imaginative. Harvey Pekar was a filing clerk during most of his adult life. It could have been a drab existence, but the native of Cleveland, Ohio knew a way. He wrote a comic book, about his own life no less. Pekar was hailed a genius. This should be an inspiration for those who are having a hard time to decide on what to write about. And if you don't want to be an author later in life, then Pekar's achievement is enough to motivate you to look at your life differently (and write about it).

Read a lot of books. What better way to learn than reading the works of renowned authors? You'll discover the different writing styles that make them stand out - and there's nothing wrong about imitating them. But if you're serious about being good in your craft, then let the books help you to find your own style. It may not be different from Hemingway's, which may make you downcast. Pat yourself on the back instead. Writing is a lifelong process, and this is a beginning. The experience will turn you into a bibliophile, but this is something else.

Talk to other writers. To be the best in what you do, you must talk to the best. Some may be too eccentric for your taste, but keep an open mind. It won't be long before you realise they're no different from you (and everyone else). This is your chance to ask them when is that moment when they decide to pursue a literary career. You can also find out how they manage to beat writer's block. (Remember students are also afflicted with it.)

Don't forget your support system. If you have forgotten your family (who have been supportive of your passion), then you're missing something. They'll give you the motivation you need. You can include your teacher(s), as they'll have something to suggest. We mustn't forget our mates, especially those whom you've been seeing at the university.

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