Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Recommendations, discussions, and odes to your favorites
Jaya
Posts: 36
Joined: September 6th, 2010, 9:25 pm
Contact:

Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Jaya » October 2nd, 2010, 9:49 pm

I've heard some writers say they gather a lot of ideas from TV and life-experiences/adventures. What about a person who has no TV or cable? (finances being tight). And what if someone is also limited in terms of adventure and is exposed to one little room for most of every day (work, homelife, isolated city).

Where do you get your creativity? Can reading as many books as you can get your hands on and using your (questionable) own imagination spark fresh, great ideas? Or do the other things mean a lot also?

Sometimes I feel stuck. No inspiration. Nothing coming easily. No imagination.

How about you guys?

User avatar
Holly
Posts: 500
Joined: December 21st, 2009, 9:42 pm
Location: Gettysburg, PA
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Holly » October 3rd, 2010, 1:35 am

Jaya wrote:I've heard some writers say they gather a lot of ideas from TV and life-experiences/adventures. What about a person who has no TV or cable? (finances being tight). And what if someone is also limited in terms of adventure and is exposed to one little room for most of every day (work, homelife, isolated city).

Where do you get your creativity? Can reading as many books as you can get your hands on and using your (questionable) own imagination spark fresh, great ideas? Or do the other things mean a lot also?

Sometimes I feel stuck. No inspiration. Nothing coming easily. No imagination.

How about you guys?
Most writers feel stuck at one time or another. I know I sometimes feel that way, but I don't worry about it. That feeling should go away if you just keep writing.

I don't watch TV, either, not because of finances, but because I'm just not interested in it (I do own some DVDs, like The Universe TV show).

I feel inspired by nature, walking around my town, and listening to music. AOL Music Radio is a good place to find free music. So is Youtube.

Three things help me when I'm stuck. I change locations. I pack up and write in the library, a coffee shop, or a friend's house. Second, I brainstorm with a friend. We have coffee and I say, "What could happen next?" Third, I just keep writing. I write every day, no matter what, plus trade writing by email with a critique partner.

Try to find a critique partner if you don't have one -- look for them on forums and writing sites. You can also look for free writing groups to join. Go to the library and ask about what's available in your area. And you can try Nanowrimo (http://www.nanowrimo.org), National Novel Writing Month. That's free and a lot of fun and will connect you to other writers in your area.

Good luck to you!

Down the well
Posts: 516
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Down the well » October 3rd, 2010, 10:37 am

Honest answer? I could get inspired by watching an ant pile.

Everyone is creative, it's a human attribute, but not everyone knows how to nurture it or express it. Daydreaming is undervalued in my opinion.

I like people watching. When I first started writing I would take a notebook with me and go sit at a coffee shop or park. I would pick out an interesting person or two and then scribble down some of their characteristics, mannerisms, whatever. Then I would make up a short story about them -- where they were going, who they were going to meet, who was chasing them, etc...It's a good exercise for sparking ideas. Better than watching television, anyway. :)

And of course you should read, but not just fiction. Read everything. Go to the library and read a science magazine, or a fashion magazine. Look at art books. I love the huge art books that span the entire desk when opened up. Study the pictures in them and make up stories in your head about what's going on in the scene -- and what's going on just out of view.

There are so many places to get inspired. I just never understand anyone who says they are bored.
Last edited by Down the well on February 14th, 2011, 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by polymath » October 3rd, 2010, 1:09 pm

LIterature reflects human existence through imitative reporting. Sure, reading is a source for creative inspiration. That and life experience. Financial challenges and limited social interactions seem to me a readymade combination of life experiences ripe for inspiration. Wish fulfillment is a traditional convention of fantasy and science fiction. Quests seek fame and fortune rewards with consequent self-identity enhancement.

Identity is as much about how others perceive and project identity onto the self as the way the self perceives one's self. Limited social interaction means limited external self-identity influence. A quest for riches and fame then is as much an internal identity quest as an external physical quest.

Homer's Iliad is Odysseus' homeward quest with all the world and many gods opposing him. His identity comes into play occasionally throughout the quest. It comes most into play in the ending when he must prove his worth to reclaim his thrown, his wife the queen of Ithaca by which he has a claim to the throne, and his right to reclaim his Ithaca home. What starts out as the simple complication of a sea journey home from Troy others further complicate by opposing his will, and further complicated once he arrives home.

Complication is a good starting point for inspiration. Financial challenges are a complication. Seems to me a wish fulfillment quest for treasure is indicated. A complication, financial challenges; a purpose, financial gain, and along the way a personal journey of self-discovery.
Spread the love of written word.

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Quill » October 3rd, 2010, 1:31 pm

Jaya wrote:I've heard some writers say they gather a lot of ideas from TV... What about a person who has no TV or cable?
Be glad and rejoice that you have no TV. It is very unlikely that watching television will improve your flow of creative ideas for writing. Get out and do things. And practice observation, of yourself and the world around you.

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by dios4vida » October 3rd, 2010, 2:53 pm

I don't get out much, either. I don't watch TV, don't work, and can't drive so I'm pretty much stuck at home all day. Sparking creativity can be hard sometimes but I think it's still totally possible. Reading is my favorite way of sparking things. Also video games (my husband & I are gamers). Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere - you just have to be open to it. When I see/hear/read something interesting I like to postulate on it - what would I have done with this? What kind of creative twist could I put on that? Could I combine this is something completely different and come up with a new, cool idea?
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Margo » October 3rd, 2010, 5:33 pm

I don't think I've gotten many ideas from TV, thank GAWD. Most of my ideas have come from a combination of (historical) research and listening to the stories of the people I've met. I do admit, however, that a surge of life experience starting about 15 years ago made a huge difference in what I have available to me to add depth and detail to those ideas. I didn't have to leave my podunk town or travel to exotic places to get that experience, though.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Claudie
Posts: 707
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:57 pm
Location: Quebec
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Claudie » October 3rd, 2010, 8:37 pm

Most of the time, my ideas are a collision between what I read, what I discuss with friends and what I'm thinking about. They have never involved the television, and I somehow doubt they will. A movie, perhaps, but certainly not TV shows.

I do think if you read widely, it could be enough to inspire you. Honestly, I believe life is enough inspiration, when you push it a bit. :)
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 4th, 2010, 8:41 am

I don't tv. I have *A* tv, but it doesn't get channels. I'm a video game player. Video games inspire me.

I also get out of the house on adventures in and around my city. It's kind of amazing how many neat places and people are right outside your front door but we tend to take for granted because we live in our city. It doesn't seem that interesting. But if you come at it like a tourist, things can get pretty inspiring pretty fast.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Mira » October 4th, 2010, 12:42 pm

I've heard that being bored is one of the best things that can happen for a writer.

My suggestion: Just start writing. It's all inside you. I don't believe you need any external stimulation at all to write. If you start wriitng, I bet you'd be surprised at what comes out.

Jaya
Posts: 36
Joined: September 6th, 2010, 9:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Jaya » October 5th, 2010, 8:57 am

Good responses. Particularly the humorous ones.

I do have life experiences. But to be honest they are not mood-lifters. Though they might make for a good, raw story, they also threaten to throw me into a dark head space. I know people say to write what you know, and honestly the things I have penned about those events are raw and vivid and perhaps my best writing. But, there are times that you just want to "break away" from the dark and the crap and be creative. Be a kid again.

Jessa
Posts: 37
Joined: October 5th, 2010, 12:42 am
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Jessa » October 5th, 2010, 9:24 am

Put me in with the list of people who don't have any tv service. I have a tv, but without cable or satellite, it's just this big box in the corner that collects dust (the patterns as the dust rolls off the screen can be quite pretty). I had satellite, but one day I realized I was paying $60+ a month to watch reruns of Bones and suddenly Hulu was looking much better to me.

Anyway, I'd never write what I know, either. I write daydreams. I write what I can't find to read. I read voraciously, usually 2 books at a time (one in the purse, one by the bed), and invariably I find myself thinking, "I liked x and y in That One Book, but I could've lived without z." Or "All these epic fantasies all do x, y, and z. Why doesn't anyone ever do a, b, and c?" Or even "I liked a from That Book, b from The Other Book, and c from That Book Over There... I bet I could make a story with those elements." And that's where I get my ideas. The stories people aren't telling, the stories I want to read but can't find, or stories that combine all the things I really love into one weird tale.

Of course, I also spend rather more time on fanfic than is seemly... But what the heck. Fanfic's like eating pop-tarts for breakfast: tasty and light, but not particularly satisfying, and sooner or later you're going to want something more.

Claudie
Posts: 707
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:57 pm
Location: Quebec
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Claudie » October 6th, 2010, 7:12 pm

For the record, I also find a lot of my insptiration doing completely unrelated tasks. When I'm stuck, I go out for a walk. The length depends on how stuck I am, or how fast before I find an idea.

When it's too cold for a walk (half of the year), I'll put music on and start cleaning something, or I'll do physical exercices at home. Earlier I gathered the leaves outside.

There are tons of way to spark your creativity. TV is unecessary.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

saraflower
Posts: 106
Joined: October 28th, 2010, 10:58 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by saraflower » October 28th, 2010, 12:08 pm

It's weird, but I seem to have more inspiration and ideas than actual time to write. I find a mixture of music, reading, watching artwork, photography, really good movies, and taking a walk in the woods all help induce inspiration.

User avatar
sbs_mjc1
Posts: 155
Joined: June 28th, 2010, 5:20 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland/Boston, USA
Contact:

Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by sbs_mjc1 » October 28th, 2010, 2:31 pm

Michael is inspired by research and if he's out of ideas will go to some obscure corner of the library and read up on history stuff.
I like to go running, or cook.
http://sb-writingtheother.blogspot.com/
FORGOTTEN GODS is out September 17th 2011! Check the blog for details.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest