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How to Be More Creative: Building the Perfect Writing Environment

Whether you're an experienced writer, or you're just beginning to explore the world of creative writing, this blog post will show you how to be more creative, laying the foundations for your creativity to bloom!

Step One: Creating the Right Environment

Imagine you wanted to plant a tree in your garden. You wouldn't just close your eyes and randomly pick a spot to plant it in, or choose a shady corner that never gets any sunlight. Instead, you'd carefully consider the perfect location, making sure that the tree has the best chance to grow and thrive. Creativity is just the same. For a story to grow with ease, you need to create the right space too.

Your writing space will be unique to you. Some prefer a clean, clear desk and total silence, while others might feel more relaxed in a busy coffee shop, with background noise and hustle and bustle.

Personally, I love to have a clear space, or to be out in nature. I like to light a candle, or some incense, have some gentle instrumental music on in the background, and I always make sure I have a drink and a snack with me. This kind of space always makes me feel good.

What you need may be very different, and it may change from day to day. If one day you crave silence but the next you want music, go with that. If one day you want to be sat at a desk and later you want to curl up in bed to write, that’s great, you can go with that too!

Taking this time to create a space that feels good to you, and making sure you prioritise this every time you sit down to write, will signal to your brain that this whole process is something enjoyable, something to look forward to. When you’re feeling relaxed and positive, your creativity will be free to flow.

Step Two: Get to Know Your Inner Critic

Even more important than your outer environment is your inner one. We all carry negative thoughts and beliefs about our creative abilities. A really common one I often hear is: ‘I’m just not very creative’. And I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are. I truly do believe that everyone is creative, we are born creative, but along the way this natural creative spark can be lost or dimmed. We just need the space and permission to tap back into it and regain our creative confidence.

These kinds of negative beliefs can, and often do, go all the way back to childhood. Maybe at school you had a teacher who wasn’t very kind, or who shamed you in front of the class, maybe you weren’t very academic, and you were made to feel stupid.

To begin cultivating a creative mindset, it's essential to acknowledge and examine these negative thoughts. Take some time to reflect on your feelings when you think about writing. Are there any negative thoughts and worries come up?

These negative beliefs come from a particular part of you. You can call this part of you the ‘inner critic’, or come up with your own name for it. This inner critic is a part of you that developed over time, as a way to protect you from potential failure, rejection, or embarrassment. It might seem counterintuitive, but the inner critic's intentions are rooted in a desire to protect you, and keep you safe.

So, now you know, you can begin the process of getting to know your inner critic better, to help it transform. Take a moment to reflect on the specific negative beliefs you've identified, and invite your inner critic to come to the forefront of your awareness.

Often this part of us is stuck in the past, still seeing you as a child in school for example, so let your inner critic know how old you are now, and tell them about the things you’ve achieved. Have you ever written anything before? Is there anything you have accomplished that requires creativity? Look for examples that challenge the negative belief and offer a more balanced perspective.

As you speak with your inner critic, instead of getting angry, or dismissing it, approach it with compassion and empathy. For example, you might say, "I know you worry about making mistakes, but I believe that mistakes are a really important way to learn and grow. I’m willing to give it a go, even if I do make mistakes, because I think that’s OK. Are you willing to let me try?”

Remember, this process is ongoing. Just as weeds can resurface in a garden, negative beliefs may re-emerge over time. Your inner critic may need a lot of reassurance and attention. Each time you notice your inner critic resurfacing, revisit this process of acknowledging and gently challenging its beliefs. Over time, with consistent practice and self-compassion, you can gradually begin to shift the narrative and create a more nurturing and supportive inner dialogue.

Step Three: Positive Affirmations

Once you've recognised those negative beliefs, and you’ve worked with the inner critic that holds them, it's time to find more positive affirmations. These might be something like:

I am creative

I trust my ability to create

I believe in myself

I am capable of writing beautiful things

Start with affirmations that feel comfortable and authentic to you. If the jump from negative thoughts to very positive affirmations seems too big, you can soften them at first. You can start them with phrases like "I'm willing to believe that..." or "I'm in the process of becoming...". As you begin to believe these positive beliefs, you can adjust them.

Challenging negative beliefs and working on positive affirmations is an ongoing process. Just like weeds in a garden, negative thoughts can return if left unchecked, and positive thoughts can wilt and die if they are not tended to. Make it a regular practice to revisit your affirmations, reminding yourself of your creative potential. Incorporate them into your daily routine, you can say them out loud, write them down, or display them in your space (post-it notes on the mirror anyone?)

Creating the right environment, both inside and out, is key to the success (and enjoyment!) of your creative journey. By creating a supportive space, getting to know your inner critic, gently challenging negative beliefs and creating new, positive affirmations, you'll create the perfect environment for your creativity to grow and your writing to thrive.

If you feel inspired to take your writing to the next level, I teach all of this and more on my upcoming ‘Sophie’s Storytellers Academy’ course. We begin on 14th July, but you can catch up at anytime! Find out more here. I’d love to see you there.

Happy Writing.

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