I found a thing on Tumblr. It goes a little like this: 29 Ways to Stay Creative! I like being creative. So I read it. It was a mixture of things; some weren’t necessarily ways to stay creative. Some were more like ‘Ways to Stay Human’, for example, 8. Drink Coffee. Coffee doesn’t make me creative; it makes me awake and a delight rather than the monster that crawls out of my bed. Some were more like ‘Ways to Stay Optimistic’, for example 18. Count Your Blessings. I’m grateful to be in country where I have freedom of speech and free education up until a certain point but writing is viewed as a hobby rather than a likely and accessible career path. I’m grateful to be in a society where creative is encouraged but rarely funded. Yes, I can count my blessings but that doesn’t help me to be more creative.
There were some helpful hints; it’s not all new age cheerfulness such as 5. Quit Beating Yourself Up. A favourite of mine was 9. Listen to New Music. I would extend this to Take in New Art Forms. I hear writers talk about what writers inspire them but inspiration can be found in unlikely places. Got writer’s block? Take a wonder around an art gallery; a picture may inspire, a sculpture may make you think differently. There have been exhibits that have blown my tiny uncultured mind, for example, a collection of simple pencil sketches of children’s faces. These faces just happen to belong to some of the most ‘evil’ men and women in history. We forgot that they themselves have been scared, confused, innocent children. Music works too, I’ve been forcibly and consistently told to listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s weird but brilliant, it’s not songs but more poetry sung to music. It has a story to tell and the music is just a vehicle.
It’s got the usual tips such as 12. Get Feedback, 13. Collaborate, and 21. Break the Rules. However, there was one that caught my eye, 23. Read A Page of the Dictionary. Now, crazy as it sounds, I’ve been thinking about reading the dictionary for a while. I’m glad you asked there are several reasons: firstly, my vocabulary is appalling. I use the same words and ‘very’ in situations where a synonym would be a much better idea. Secondly, I don’t know how to say a lot of words. I see them in the books I read; don’t quite understand but try using them to disastrous and embarrassing ends. For example, I tried using the word ‘coup’ in explaining the situation in Ukraine. I’m not entirely sure what the word means and apparently, this was news to me, you don’t pronounce the ‘p’. Thirdly, I just like learning. I like that I know aback is one word and abaft is an adverb for the back of or behind a ship. So I’ve started reading a page a day of the dictionary before I go to sleep with my normal book. I’m still on the As and only time will tell if I’ll take in all that information. But one day I hope to know that a coup is a sudden violent seizing of power from a government and it’s pronounced ‘koo’.