Hello, my name is Adam Oakley, and this video is about tips for creativity when writing stories.
Tip #1 – Let yourself be still.
Great creativity can come from stillness. I don’t even necessarily mean sitting still, frozen. I mean having a calm or focused mind that’s ready to receive good ideas.
If your school does any kind of meditation or mindfulness or relaxation classes, then those will be very helpful for you.
A way to get yourself still in a short amount of time is to breathe in and out five times, and just focus on your breath.
If you focus on your breath, it takes your attention away from thoughts about your past or people, or what people said to you or anything like that, and it brings you more fully into now, where your creative power lives.
Tip #2 – Write out your thoughts
Tip number two, which can also be combined with tip number one, is to just write out your random thoughts onto a page. If you are a young person with your parents, it can be very valuable if you agree with your parents that they will not read what you write on the page. If you know that no one else will read the thoughts that you write out, it can be a very honest way of getting out the thoughts that are distracting you from your creative power.
For example, if someone felt frustrated, they might write out all the reasons they felt frustrated, all the things that happened that made them feel frustrated, and how they don’t like the feeling of being frustrated. Gradually as they write out their feelings and thoughts, it’s as if the feelings don’t feel so stuck inside them anymore, it’s a way to get their feelings out of their mind and body so that they aren’t racing around and distracting them so much.
Eventually the person’s thoughts might become calmer. They might even end up writing about how they actually want to feel, and how they want their next day to be. They might even be able to shift their mood and find more calmness, just through writing whatever thoughts came into their minds.
And a writing practice like that gets you used to writing spontaneously. It gets you used to accessing a flow with your writing that you can just allow to happen. And the more you do it, the easier it will become.
Tip #3 – Screen freedom
I remember when I was a kid, every evening after school my mum would enforce an hour of no TV. I used to hate it. At first. Then when we got used to it, we found lots of other things we could do and enjoy without needing to look at a screen for the entire evening.
Now let me say, I love screens. TV screens and computer screens and phone screens and technology is what allows me to communicate with you, and do so many other things. But I’m sure it’s true, at least in my experience, that having some time away from screens, whether I’m doing some kind of exercise, or out in nature, or even listening to something inspirational or music I enjoy – all of those screenless activities take your mind’s attention out of your head, and allow it to rest more easily in your body, which makes being creative much easier.
It can also help to put your mind into a creative mode rather than a purely reactive mode. If you have some time without looking at a phone or TV or computer screen, doing anything else that you enjoy, that will probably help your creativity in a big way.
Tip #4 – Music
The fourth tip works for some people, and that’s to listen to music while you are writing.
Something that I often do is to put some kind of music on in the background that has no words, since I find the words distracting. When I wrote the “A Tale Of Two Ninja Kids” series, for example, I would often listen to Japanese flute music to help inspire me. I’ll also listen to classical music or even rainforest sounds if it helps to put me in the right mood for writing.
The fifth and final tip for today is to read great books.
Tip #5 – Reading Great Books
If you want to be a great writer, it usually helps to be a great reader. If you can find books that you enjoy reading, just reading them will mean that the writer’s excellence in storytelling will start to rub off on you. If you have a favourite author, you can also notice how they write, the way they structure their sentences or the way their words have a certain rhythm.
What I mean is if you appreciate certain things about your favourite authors – that appreciation will mean you start to take on those positive qualities in your own writing. You don’t have to write like anyone else, in fact it’s better if you find your own unique voice, but you can certainly be positively influenced by writers and books that you love.
An example for me was Roald Dahl’s books, particularly his short stories for grown-ups. I felt that reading his stories, along with some Rudyard Kipling stories, directly influenced how well I was able to write.
And that’s it for today. I hope you’ve found some tips that are helpful for you to write stories in an easier, more enjoyable way, and if you haven’t seen any of my story writing lessons for kids and grown-ups, click here.
Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.