Today’s post is an excerpt from my book, Ready, Set, Write: A Guide to Creative Writing, which takes you on a tour through the world of creative writing while offering writing ideas and inspiration. This is from chapter thirty-one, “Curiosity and Creativity.” Let’s find out how fostering curiosity can increase your creativity. Enjoy!
Curiosity and Creativity
Even though inspiration abounds all around us, we writers sometimes get stumped. We search for essay topics, plot ideas, and interesting language for our poems. Unfortunately, our searches don’t always yield desirable results.
But by fostering curiosity, we can ensure a constant stream of creativity. Some of the best writing ideas come from asking simple questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Most writers are curious by nature. We look at the world around us and wonder at it. Who are these people? What are we all doing here? Where are we heading? Why do we do the things we do? How will we move forward?
Remember how curious you were as a child? Everything you encountered spawned a series of questions because you were trying to learn and understand the world around you. Bring that childlike curiosity back, and you’ll always have a full supply of inspiration.
It doesn’t matter what form your writing takes or what genre you’re writing in. By fostering curiosity, you can create a fountain of ideas.
Below are some questions you can use to get inspired. Mix them up, change them around, and come up with your own list of questions:
- Who is this about?
- Who can help?
- Who is standing in the way?
- Who am I?
- What is the goal?
- What are the stakes?
- What is the underlying message?
- What if…?
- Where did it all begin?
- Where have we been?
- Where should we go?
- Where does it end?
- When did it start?
- When did things change?
- When will things improve?
- When will it be too late?
- Why did they do it?
- Why does it matter?
- Why take a risk?
- Why are we here?
- How did this happen?
- How does this make people feel?
- How does this sound?
- How will this get resolved?
If you can keep your curiosity on fire and continue coming up with new questions, you’ll find that you can write your way into answers and constantly discover new writing ideas along the way.
As you work through your writing projects, you can also use questions to help you overcome hurdles that are preventing you from crossing the finish line. Not sure how to move a plot forward? Start asking questions. Don’t know how to begin your next poem? Ask questions. Want to write a piece that is informative and entertaining? Ask away.
Throughout time, many great thinkers have used questions to prompt creative and critical thinking. Sometimes, one question will lead to the next, and you’ll end up with more ideas than you thought possible. As long as you keep your curiosity well oiled and let those questions flow, you’ll never be at a loss for inspiration.
Open one of your writing projects, and make a list of at least twenty questions that get to the heart of your project. Be sure to include a mix of who, what, where, when, why, and how.
As an alternative, try using any of the questions from this chapter as writing prompts. Simply place a question at the top of a page, and then start writing in response to the question.
Do you have any favorite techniques for developing new writing ideas? Are there any questions you ask to get through a project or to come up with new project ideas? What are you curious about? Share your thoughts and ideas by leaving a comment.
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