So I’ve written a lot of books. Of those books, more than fifty have actually been published. People ask me if I’ll ever run out of ideas. I don’t know that answer (I hope not because I love writing!), but I do know that I currently have a whole list of books I want to write. Some ideas are just nuggets—flashes of a premise or a character—while others are well-developed as they’ve simmered in my mind for a while.
The tricky part about writing so many books is figuring out how to keep my ideas fresh. I don’t want each book to be a repeat of previous ones, and, occasionally, I do get stuck writing a storyline that seems a little too familiar. That’s when I have to back track and make sure there are no repeated plots!
There are a few things I’ve learned to do to keep my creative juices flowing.
- Try a new location. I’m amazed at how inspired I am simply being taking a road trip. It doesn’t have to be far away, but maybe just a small town that I’ve never explored. Something about being in a new place almost always sparks my imagination.
- Read a new book. Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself as a writer is to read. That should go without saying. But reading books outside of my normal genre helps me to see stories in a different light. Some stories inspire me, and make me want to try new things. Others show me things that I want to avoid. A good book always makes me want to be a better writer.
- Meet new people. There’s something about meeting people who are different from me and from my normal circles that always gets my juices going. I suppose I have a habit of studying people and trying to figure out what makes them tick. Stimulating conversation with people who think differently than me or who have interesting pasts always get my imagination going. Where do you find these people? Maybe try a new bible study group at church or accept that invitation from an old friend you. Attend a new play group with your kids or say yes to a new committee at your child’s school. There are all kinds of ways!
- Study new articles. Truth can be stranger than fiction. I like to read various publications, especially crime reports and stories. I always get ideas. Sometimes I like to read magazines that have articles on different cultures or new discoveries, and they can also inspire ideas.
- Say yes to a new hobby. Sometimes just trying new things is what you need to get you out of your routine and get those juices flowing. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment. Maybe you can take a class on remote control vehicles (there’s one of these offered a place down the street!). Maybe try skydiving on one of those indoor facilities. Take a horseback riding class. Sit in on a free seminar at the library. Then start asking “What if . . . ?” That’s the start of every great novel. ☺
Stories abound. They’re everywhere. And sometimes getting away from our normal is just what we need to keep our writing fresh and our minds refreshed.
Congratulations to Paula Shreckhise for winning last week’s giveaway. This week you have a chance to win a copy of Ready to Fumble. Simply leave a comment for a chance to win. Answer the question:
How do you keep your creativity flowing?
About Christy Barritt
USA Today has called Christy Barritt’s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”
Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.
She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious—but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.
Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She has more than fifty books published with over one million copies sold.
For more information, visit her website: www.christybarritt.com.