Get Set: Build Your Creative Muscle

Last week I talked about pushing the edges of my comfort zone.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not a swift and glorious process.  It can be painful and ugly until I reach a new plateau of comfort.  And I give myself permission to find that new resting place and enjoy it for a while.

The trick is to build up my creative muscle.  I look at it as if I’m moving from the state of 95-pound weakling to buffed weight lifter. Okay, not so much buffed, but beginning to show a little muscle definition when I flex my arm—or my writing skills.

There are two sure-fire ways to build writing muscles:

1.  Reading

2.  Writing

That’s right.  Reading is a major part of building writing creativity.

What will I be reading?  A little bit of everything, and a lot of the genre in which I’m currently writing.  Why?  Because every exquisite turn of phrase, every sensory-rich description, and every unexpected twist teaches me something I can bring to my own writing.  Just as every gaping plot hole, every unlikeable character, every cliché conversation teaches me what to avoid.

The writing side of the equation lands me the back in the production cycle.

Using what I learn while I read, I can try new approaches in my plotting and writing.  Umm, feel that stretch!

One of the new directions I’m heading leads into a project sponsored by the local library.  I’ll tell you more about that later.  (I’m just waiting for their official publicity launch.)

I’ll be working on something entirely new with them, creating workshops to go with their program.  It’s making me take a new look at what I’ve learned about writing and publishing over the last ten years.  I’d forgotten how exciting it is to dive into something fresh and challenging.  And I’m loving it.

Did you discover a new way to challenge your comfort level last week?  How do you plan to stretch your writing skills in the next six months?