By Matthew Neylon, Associate Copywriter
Steve Jobs said creativity is just connecting two things. So in the sense of writing, let’s dive into the ways to connect point A with point B, the beginning with the end, the ooh with the ahh.
So where do we start?
1. Start writing on paper
When your writing starts on the computer, your ideas jumble together faster than your rate of words per minute. Ideas just seem to flow from the head to the hand to the pen to the pad more cohesively. When you write by hand—especially in the drafting and initial stages—you have a better handle over your ideas.
2. Keep it simple (with a surprise).
Creativity is simplicity. It’s meant to be understood, not figured out. It should have a simple surprise that makes you say “ahh!” not “huh?” Keep it simple, for the sake of your writing and for the sake of the reader’s interest.
Part of simplicity is economy. Creativity shouldn’t be sought after in a long list of long paragraphs full of long sentences full of long clauses full of long words. Like Jobs said, creativity is connecting things. And the reader is the one doing the connecting. So omit the extraneous content so the reader can fill in the blanks and connect the dots for themselves.
3. Be an avid reader
When I was a scrawny young boy, I played a lot of soccer. One of my most influential coaches was a retired pro named Mike. During practice one day, Coach Mike wasn’t happy with my team’s scrappy playing. He told us to watch a professional game of soccer on TV when we get home. What he wanted us to do was learn from the best by watching them.
Part of learning how to do is by learning how the best do. Developing a voice in your writing can be tough. So learn from those that have already done so. Read some Hemingway or James Joyce. It will help you garner some techniques and acumen for the written word.
4. Do it
Mining the gold nugget that creativity is begins with the mining. Ideas don’t just think themselves up. Words don’t just write themselves down.
In a way, writing is a lot like riding a bike. A shiny, red bike that just shed its plastic training wheels. You have to get up and ride in order to go anywhere or get any better. And to keep going—to keep getting better and to keep moving forward—you need to keep pedaling.
Here are some additional rules and guidelines.
5. Break the rules and guidelines.
Don’t always blindly follow grammar and structure. Especially given the context of what you’re writing. If everyone always followed the rules, we wouldn’t have creativity.
6. Develop your own style.
Writing is written word (duh), not spoken word. So you need to create your own coherent voice for your words to be read beyond the two-dimensional page.
7. Have fun.
Writing should be fun. Creativity should always be fun.