At the risk of disappearing up my own arse this week’s post is about blogging. Sorry.
Back in the days when I had a proper job I worked in television development. This involved being paid to think up new programme ideas. It sounds like fun and it was.
Whilst there was a lot of sitting around drinking tea there was also a great deal of being told your ideas are shit.
In fact it was mainly being told your ideas are shit and then having all the reasons why your ideas are shit pointed out to you before being sent away to go and think up some more ideas that are not quite so shit.
Eventually I got quite good at thinking up ideas that are not, at first glance, complete shit.
And I developed the creative hide of a rhino.
I recently attended a session at the Edinburgh TV Festival where TV bigwigs discussed how to create an atmosphere of er, creativity. It was all about moving away from the daily grind using ping pong tables, glass boxes and cushions.
Well I’m one step ahead of them – I have a floor carpeted with wooden train tracks, some Donna Wilson cushions and a toddler who asks why? at least fifty times a day so here are my top tips for getting kick ass creative.
1. Write Something
Sit down with a blank piece of paper and a pen and fill the page. Try a story or a poem (less words, easier to fill a page) or write a letter to Lord Alan Sugar explaining why he really should re think appearing on television now it’s all gone HD.
Maya Angelou said: You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou is a frickin’ genius. So do what she says.
2. Stop Thinking Start Doing
As someone who writes a blog about parenting. I find that the best inspiration is, erm, well, parenting – albeit badly. If you write about food go and cook, if running is your thing hit the road. Get stuck into something else and forget about your blog. You should be able to return to your writing refreshed and if it doesn’t work at least you will have made a pie.
3. Start an Ideas Notebook
*warning: this will make you look slightly unhinged*
I have tons of notebooks filled to the spines with terrible, terrible ideas.
Bad ideas for novels, Rubbish poetry and awful, awful tv concepts. Every now and then I like to get them out and marvel at how incredibly bad many of my ideas are. It inspires me to do better.
4. Kill Your Babies!
That would be an appalling thing for a parent blog to advocate.
Everyone has one idea that they know is the germ of something amazingly brilliant which just doesn’t work…. yet.
Put it to one side and start on something new. If it is a good idea it will pop up again. But let’s face it. It’s probably shit. Stop wasting time trying to make something work and find something new that just works.
5. Go to a Book Shop.
Before they all close down!
As well as having a dodgy tax record Amazon are stifling creativity. Book shops are the ideal spot to find new ideas. Have a browse through the sections you have no interest in and make yourself interested. Is there a way you could cover any of these topics? Are there any useful titles? Which author has the funniest photograph?
6. Look Up.
Take in something amazing.
A book (currently:The Letters of Spike Milligan), music (Kate Bush: Every goddam time), a blog, a poem (Keats: I’m a secret romantic), a TV show (Frasier) or some art (David Shrigley).
Consume something creative that stuns and amazes you and weep at its beauty, just when you start to panic thinking there’s no way you’ll ever reach such heights of brilliance…..
7. Look Down
Find something you think is pants and dive right in.
Nothing will kick you into action more than the feeling that ‘I could do better than that’. Go out and do do something better than that.
8. Have an Ideas Meeting
I do this all the time, set a regular deadline to present five new ideas for blog posts. To yourself.
Heck four of them will be bollocks but that last one….
9. Turn Your Bloody Computer OFF
Go on sod off.
And now get off the tablet.
And your smartphone.
OK one last tweet about how you are not going to be tweeting for the next hour.
I’m off to explain to a 2 year old why she cannot have a bath with a real life dolphin. Sometimes I’m not sure where the parenting ends and the crushing of dreams begins….