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    Home Articles

    Boosting Your Creativity

    Ask yourself if you have quick, effect ways of breaking through the mental blocks that stop you coming up with fresh ideas?

    The two techniques offered here may be for writers yet anyone faced with the challenge of idea creation will benefit from applying them whenever the mental cogs jam up.

    Traditional forms of outlining rely upon a linear approach based upon the logical, functioning of your left-brain. This produces a neatly sequential format which automatically carries us from one concept to the next and keeps our writing focused on each point.

    This focus, despite its benefits, is a major deficiency of linear outlining. Henriette Anne Klauser puts it this way: "The fallacy ... is believing that the concepts we leave behind have been thoroughly thought out and needs no extension."

    Clustering and non-linear outlining overcomes this deficiency by radiating out in a naturally expansive way to grow organically from your central concept.

    Afterthoughts become some of the most valuable aspects of your final outline. You find yourself being able to retrace your steps and easily add in these new ideas without disrupting the neat structure that you would have if you'd started with a linear approach. It defies the 'begin at the beginning' shibboleth of many writing schools. You can start anywhere you wish and leap about in any direction your creative senses wish.

    Three good books on this topic are:

    A Non-Linear Approach to Outlining

    If you:

    1. Allow your ideas to dictate the flow of your outline;
    2. Do not impose any pattern on your efforts;
    3. Let your natural creativity run rampant;
    then your material will form its own patterns in wondrous ways that will sometimes astound you.

    Start at the centre of a blank sheet of paper and write your central idea inside a circle.

    This can be a single word, symbol, drawing or anything that represents to you the main point that you want to write about. After this, you will switch from conscious (judgmental) thinking to instinctive (non-judgemental) subconscious activity.

    Branch out from your central idea for at least ten minutes. Add every thought that comes to mind no matter how silly it may sound.

    Turn the paper around, doodle, let structures form of their own accord.

    If the page fills to overflowing, start a new page.

    Keep going until you've rung the last idea from your mind and then push a little further. Add another line or two, even if you've got no conception of what you'll write on it. Often you'll spark that extra idea you thought didn't exist.

    Did you keep going for the minimum time?

    If not, why not?

    Did you hit a "wall"?

    Then just keep your pen moving.

    The ideas will come.

    Trust yourself.

    Now that you have your ideas clustered, move back into the left-brain mode and proceed to group key concepts in preparation for the writing to begin.

    Copyright © 2002 D'Arcy Mayo

    D'Arcy Mayo is a freelance writer and originator of the Practical Spirituality concept and editor of the newsletter Spirituality In Action. Visit D'Arcy's sites: http://www.PracticalSpirituality.ws and http://www.Mayo.ws. E-mail D'Arcy at DArcy@Mayo.ws.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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