Work in progress

Write a list of things you’re passionate about. Include everything: chocolate chip cookies, the actor/actress you fantasize about, vampires, jazz trumpet, dreams of flying….Pick two or three of these and combine them to create a story.

Homemade cookies, organic farming, Russell Crowe, Gerard Butler, Clive Owen, photography, poetry, nature, wilderness, diversity, tolerance, creative pursuits, teaching, forward thinking, creativity, ancient wisdom, myths, legends, storytelling, mysteries, stewardship, smart leadership, freedom, sustainability, protection of more helpless than you, charity, good medical care, fairness and equity, truth and beauty.

Choose something you fervently believe to be true. This could be a political or religious belief, or—perhaps more interesting—the fact that grass is green… Write something from the point of view of a character who holds the opposite belief. But don’t write directly about this issue. Create a scene where your character is dealing with a difficult…problem or a tricky…situation.

This is a good one; that basically, there is more good than evil in the world; that anything you can imagine can come into being, or be created; that the principles outlaid our founding documents are worth upholding; that anything worth having is worth defending; that hard work and talent aren’t necessarily enough for success in life; that a ‘career’ can be elusive and you better commit to other things to be happy; that love is essential to human existence; that drugs should be legal; that access to adequate, affordable and good health care is a critical human right in this day and age.

  • Take something you’ve already written and write it in a different genre. Change a memory to a fictional story about a character who’s a woman if you’re a man, or vice versa. Rewrite a literary passage as a pivotal scene in a mystery novel. Change your crime scene into a romantic segment. Get creative!
  • Write about a secret you never—or rarely—reveal. Be deeply honest. You don’t have to show it to anyone else, ever. You can even burn it when you’re done. But the deep, true writing will still help your creativity grow.
  • Imagine that something you take for granted doesn’t exist—gravity, being a human, your boss expecting good work from you, etc. Write about life without this thing you’re used to.
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