Over the past six weeks, I’ve been doing something I rarely do in the evenings: watching television. Mainly the History Channel and NatGeo—I’ve learned a lot about how the earth was formed and what John of Patmos was really writing about in the Book of Revelation. I suppose I could feel guilty that I haven’t gotten as much writing done as I otherwise would have. But I don’t.
Why? Because writers need to replenish. It’s easy for writers to get locked up in their own heads. If their inward focus becomes too extreme, they won’t have anything interesting to write about. Or they’ll keep writing about the same things over and over again, with no new ideas to freshen their work.
By exposing myself to subjects that I rarely encounter in my own life—like earth science, history, and theology—I reignite my curiosity. I doubt that I’ll have use for these subjects in my writing. But they’ve gotten me thinking in new ways about human resiliency. Will our race be wiped out by a giant asteroid hitting the earth, or perhaps by an epic battle between good and evil on the fields of Megiddo? I’m skeptical.
I believe humans can, and will, overcome anything—maybe not as individuals, but as a species. The record of our time on earth demonstrates how we continually adapt to the challenges we face. This is what drives me. At the core of my fiction is a fervent belief in human resiliency—a belief I want to share.
It’s good for writers to be reminded of why they write—and to remember that the themes that permeate their writing grow out of other, seemingly unrelated parts of their life. New ideas and experiences nourish you as a writer. Take the time to embrace them.
Do you have any tips on how writers can renew their creativity? Leave a comment!
2 thoughts on “Writing and Creativity: Going Outward to Go Inward”
Good thoughts, Andrea. Looking outward exposes us not only to new subject matter, but to new ways of expressing things. For example, you mentioned National Geographic: I love all of the imaginative ways in which their writers can tell a story.
I agree, Larry. In nonfiction as in fiction, the point of view determines the story.