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Boost Your Creativity

by Rochelle Melander

Creativity is just connecting things. -Steve Jobs

I’m taking a Poetry class this winter with Pomelo books. Our task: to take a subject we know a lot about and write a funny poem using a skill like alliteration, idioms, or synonyms.

The challenge has been great fun. It also provided me with an idea to spice up my regular writing. I’m hoping it will help you, too. It’s easy to get bored when writing about the same thing repeatedly. To make it interesting, try this writing exercise.

Step One. Make a list of three to five of your most common topics. My list includes productivity, procrastination, and writer’s block.

Step Two: List five topics you find fascinating that have nothing to do with your main topics. Mine includes snails and turtles.

Under each of the topics, note some facts that you know and find interesting. Did you know that snail slime allows snails to crawl up a tree and not fall off? When enemies appear, snails use slime to seal themselves in their shells!

Step Three: Combine topics from the two lists. How does what you know about cat behavior help you explain meditation? Can your knowledge about baking bread inform your essays about healthy relationships? Play with combinations until you strike gold.

Do any of these combinations spur a new essay? Could they help you write about something familiar in a new way? Or have they led to a whole new topic?

Moving Forward

You don’t have to wait until you get stuck to play with ideas. Set aside time every week. I like writing ideas on sticky notes or old playing cards—and then combine them. Each time you get a new combination, write it down. Reflect on how you might use it. Then shuffle and try again!

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