I want to be more creative, and I need your help to do so, but first, some background. Sometimes I worry I’m a cardboard character. For those of you who aren’t immersed in the vocabulary of writers, a cardboard character is one who doesn’t seem quite real. They tend to be cliches or simply fill a role in the story without evoking any real emotional response in the reader. Having one in your story isn’t great. The main character should never ever be cardboard.

I like to think I’m the main character in my own life, but I’m worried my interests make me a cardboard character. Reading and writing are my only hobbies. They’re also my work. Sure, both my reading habits and my writing practice are fairly wide ranging: I write speculative fiction and research-based blog posts, marketing emails about books, and press releases about event centers. I’ll read almost anything. Just this week I read a novel about a Japanese convenience store worker, a book on memory athletics, and the children’s book Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. But ultimately, all the interests of my life boil down to words on a page. 

Sure, I have some quirks. I tend to write only on the right-hand page of notebooks, then flip the whole thing over when I get to the end and write on the new right-hand pages. I read children’s books for fun even though I have no children. And I read really really fast. But you’ll notice all of those quirks are related to the written word.

My fellow writers are blacksmiths, rock climbers, computer programmers and artists. Not me. I do yoga a few times a week and play video games (mostly classics like Mario or colorful adventure games like Lego) about as often. Although, I love to travel, I don’t do it nearly enough. In short, I’m a fairly boring person on the surface. I want to change that.

 

How to be more creative

Today I was reading a book called “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives.” In it, author Tim Harford, talks about how most deeply creative people work on multiple projects across diverse disciplines. A few of his examples include David Bowie, Micheal Crichton, and the engineers at 3M. It made me wonder if, by focusing most of my life around reading and writing, I’m actually making myself into a poorer writer and a less creative person. That’s the exact opposite of what I want. I want to be more creative, not less.

I’m only on the first chapter of Harford’s book, but I can already see that being forced to try new things, to tackle unexpected challenges, to think in new ways, enhances creativity. You can do it on your own, but it helps if you have someone pushing you out of comfort zone.

This is where I need your help, my friend. I’d like you to help inspire my new forays into creativity. Tell me about your:

  • weird and wonderful hobbies
  • favorite places to visit
  • unique ways you of approaching the world. 

I promise to put your inspiration to good use. There’s a comment box below or, if that feels too public, you can email me directly. Thank you in advance. You’re wonderful.