Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Stimulate Yourself!

Whether you're a copywriter, a journalist, a poet, or a novelist, as a writer you are required to constantly think of fresh, creative ways to communicate. An excellent blog post in ProBlogger.net, titled 5 Ways to Enhance Your Creativity, has great tips on maintaining a creative edge. The first idea struck a chord with me - stimulating yourself to keep the fountain of ideas flowing. I found that one way to continue stimulating myself is by constantly talking with new people, reading new books, and considering new viewpoints.
Last night I attended a Chamber of Commerce grand opening for a new, delicious, non-chain restaurant in the county: Monkey Dish bar & grill. I spent the night sipping excellent pinot noir and meeting a group of people that had the writer in me salivating to run off and take notes, while the businesswoman in me offered up my 2-minute commercial and looked for ways to help them with business writing. I met John Sarantakis, the president of People's Choice Entertainment, (a mega-chain video and gaming company here in Lake County). He told me that he and his partner started working together in high school by selling toys and novelties to classmates. My response? I need a pen! I just can't make this stuff up!
I talked music and modern bands with the hard-working grill cook, a young guitar player who loves Linkin Park and who was less impressed with the two-piece blues band than I was. I met allergy experts and professional scrapbookers, and the new owners of the Monkey Dish. Our applause encouraged the band to come sit with us, so I had the pleasure of meeting Barrelhouse Chuck, aka Chuck Goering. He's actually a long-time Chicago blues pianist who used to open for the likes of BB King and Willie Dixon. He has about a hundred recording credits and a dozen albums of his own. Chuck's memories are a Wonderland of 70's-era blues stories; I could have listened to him all night. He was practically in tears as he told us the old generation of blue masters is gone, and no one is taking their place in originality and passion. Passion? Talk about a passionate musician! Darn, where's my notebook?
Each person that I met last night had a passion for something, a unique outlook, a new perception that stimulated my own creativity. Something in each encounter will make it's way into a character in one of my novels or provide insight that I'll use while writing an article or website content someday. I'll likely never be a great blues musician or an entertainment magnate, but I can talk to the people who do those things and find out what it feels like, how they think, what their world is like.
Keep your eyes open for the unique and the special in each person you meet. These encounters will stimulate you to look at the world with ever-fresh and new eyes. We need to keep nurturing our creativity in order to write effectively; other people's experiences widen our own.
Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite way to stimulate your creativity!

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