Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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August 25, 2023

How to Find the Writer Within, Your Creative Self

by Ellen Buikema

“I’m not creative.” Not true.

We all start life as creative people—you may have been discouraged during childhood or another time along the way to now, but creativity is within, waiting for you to rediscover it.

How can we cultivate our creativity to finally call ourselves ‘creative’?

Creativity is built into the system. It is part of being human.

Think of a time when you’ve:

  • Done something without being asked to.
  • Solved a problem.
  • Successfully communicated a point to someone.

All the above takes creative thinking.

Get to Know Yourself

Know yourself to find and use your creative voice—the special spin you put on everything you do. It makes your work yours. 

Getting to know yourself will help you discover or recover that creative voice and put a little bit of you into all you create. 

Questions to help you get to know yourself

What do you care about? 

What is your passion? Which tasks on your to-do list are things that you actually want to do? What could you talk about forever?

The answers don’t matter. The point of these questions is to find things you love in order to know yourself better.

What are your fears?

Fears can be controlling. Think about the fears you have that might be holding you hostage. Common fears are:

  • Disappointing others
  • Failure
  • Inadequacy
  • Imperfection
  • Rejection
  • Success

Knowing your fears can help you better deal with those feelings when they rear their ugly heads and try to strangle your creative voice.

You can also use the emotions from fears and put them to good use in your writing.

What inspires you?

Search for what you like.

  • If you want to write a novel in a specific genre, be inspired by reading books written by authors you enjoy.
  • To create music, listen to the music from bands you love.
  • If you wish to paint, gather a collection of the artists whose works make your heart sing.
  • Copy the old masters, in any of the arts, for practice. It’s a good way to learn.

Inspiration cannot be forced and will often strike like a lightning bolt at the oddest times.

  • In the shower.
  • Folding laundry.
  • Daydreaming.
  • While meditating.

The muses seem to work best when our minds aren’t cluttered with thought. We can’t hear them if we are too tense or scattered. Since I am a “Look! There’s a squirrel!” type, I only hear the muse when I’m completely relaxed and have done my best to not think.

What motivates you?

What gets you into gear on any given day?

  • Achieving a personal goal or career milestone?
  • Do you need a deadline? Some people thrive under pressure.
  • Earning a living?
  • Setting an example for a team, being a leader?

Use your motivation to keep life’s plotline moving forward.  

What are your work habits?

When do you prefer to do your creative work, early in the day, or late at night? Local customs can work into the mix. When we lived in Mazatlán, near the beach, the decibel level rose dramatically in the afternoon—like one big party—so I wrote in the morning.

Do you work best when you do use “chunks” of time? A writing group I meet with now and then has write-ins. We write for 45 minutes, socialize for 15, and repeat. I found them on MeetUp.com.

What writing environment brings out your creative side? Local coffee house? Beer garden? Library? Home office?

How about sound? Do you prefer quiet? Music playing in the background? Ambient noise?

Identifying your work habits will give you a clearer sense of how to build your days around your creative high points, and help you notice when your creative voice, your muse, is speaking.

Meditation Supercharges Creativity

Years ago, I took a Transcendental Meditation course at the urging of some friends. I found it useful, relaxing, but let it drift away after a few years.

During the pandemic I started meditating daily to help reduce stress. I found during that “down-time” it became easier to connect with the muse.

“As shown by a 2012 UCLA School of Medicine study, meditation cranks up the corpus callosum, making it bigger, stronger, thicker, and in-turn, more well-connected. Yes, very much like Einstein.

(Note: We aren't saying that meditation will make us the "next Einstein," it's more about being the best version of "us." Meditation helps you reach your potential better than any other medium.)”

The Eco Institute

Creativity makes life better and has no limits.

Have you ever felt as though your creativity dried up? What do you do to get your creative juices flowing? When are you inspired?

* * * * * *

About Ellen

Author, speaker, and former teacher, Ellen L. Buikema has written non-fiction for parents, and The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon chapter book series with stories encouraging the development of empathy—sprinkling humor wherever possible. Her Works in Progress are The Hobo Code, YA historical fiction and The Crystal Key, MG Magical Realism/ Sci-Fi, a glaze of time travel.

Find her at https://ellenbuikema.com or on Amazon.

Top Image by Merlin Lightpainting from Pixabay

13 comments on “How to Find the Writer Within, Your Creative Self”

  1. Yes! We are all born creative and use creativity every day. As a creative, as a writer, I believe it's essential to know the answers to your questions. It's important to remember they aren't questions you answer once. As you grow in your field of creativity, some of your answers will change.

    Thanks for this post, Ellen. And thanks for reminding me that meditation can be a useful tool. Overtime, I've become fairly lax in including meditation in my daily routines.

  2. I'm glad I read your blog, Ellen. I drifted away from meditation and you've inspired me to give it another try. I needed your reminder.

    1. You are most welcome!

      Now that I'm back to a regularly scheduled meditation, I notice a difference when I skip it.

      I think, even if you only take five minutes in a day, that down time makes a positive difference.

      When I first learned TM, back in the day, 20 minutes twice a day was the proscribed time. That doesn't work for everyone and can put people off of a really beneficial thing.

  3. Liked this. I often have a good case of imposter syndrome. I'm learning to follow my creative side and am ready to listen to critiques. Am writing a Child's secondary reading book that is late middle to high school interest but more on a 2nd grade reading level.(I'm a retired special needs teacher.) Half way there. Found a writing group in a coffee shop once a week and that seems to encourage more work at home. I've been researching how to create/write and edit my book for around 6 months and like your posting. It repeats what I've been learning and shows me how much I've grown by repeating the "you can do it" mantra. Thanks. Barbara

    1. Hi Barbara!
      For a while I taught as a RSP for K-5, and sometimes 6th grade.
      I'm familiar with the high interest/low reading level books.

      The sixth graders truly appreciated having something fun to read that they didn't see as "baby-ish."

      I don't think there are enough of these books and am glad that you are writing them.

  4. I really like this. Creativity is often seen as something relegated to a select few. But that is not true. Creativity is in everyone— it just shows up in different ways. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Creativity can take many forms. Since the pandemic, I've found writing fiction to be very hard, so I've given myself permission to explore the graphic side of my creativity instead. I know there will be a time when my creativity will swing around to the written word again, so I'm enjoying this side of /me/ until it does.

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