How to Find Your Creative Fuel
I’m a historical fiction writer. I am drawn to events, lives and things of the past.
Everyday objects have a particular fascination to me. They are my creative fuel for writing novels.
My imagination can’t help running wild when I eye an unusual artifact — it can’t help but create a life around each piece. (You can imagine how much my wife likes taking me to an antique store.)
I can’t stop my imagination any more than I can stop a sneeze.
My imagination even has the audacity to create characters, plots and storyline twists inspired by that artifact. And the more captivating the mystery surrounding it, the more compelled my imagination feels to create a story.
The story comes to life — for me anyway.
My first manuscript — The Piano Surgeon — is a perfect example.
As a child, I often traveled with my best friend, Philip, and his family to Pond, Mississippi — population 3 on weekdays and 10 or 12 on weekends, depending on the number of visitors Philip’s family piled into their 15-passenger van.
Philip’s grandparents had operated a country store, which was connected to their home. His grandmother closed the store after her husband passed away, and the merchandise sat on the shelves untouched for years — slowly evolving from modern conveniences to tarnished antiques.
Philip and I spent many humid afternoons exploring the treasures of that country store.
On one occasion, in the shadows of the corner, I spotted a coffin-shaped, weathered grand piano. As we plinked on it, I ran my fingers along the ivory keys scrawled with signatures in faded India ink.
Philip then revealed a tale about a nineteenth century surgeon who owned that very piano and had used it as his Civil War operating table.
Can you hear my brain whirring?
The signatures belonged to the survivors.
The Piano Surgeon is my fantasy of the mystique behind that man and his piano, which still stands at the Pond General Store — now run by the next generation.
I hope this is the year my agent gets the novel published.
And it all started with an antique piano — my creative fuel.
What is Your Creative Fuel?
What makes your heart race? What compels you to take some creative action?
Does the creativity of others influence you?
Photography? Music? Paintings?
Do you love good design?
Architecture? Product design? Fashion?
Does nature awaken a passion inside you?
The pound of surf at the ocean? The expansive view from a mountain top? The quiet of a forest glade?
Are people your muse?
The laughter of children? The touch of loved ones? Good conversation?
Pay attention to what compels you to create, what makes your heart race, what makes your imagination run free, what agitates you to want to do something about it.
That is your creative fuel.
That is your muse, your source inspiration, your afflatus.
That is more precious than gold.
Protect Your Creative Fuel Reserves
Creative fuel reserves must be protected, maintained, and filled. Or your creative wells can run dry.
Another source of creative fuel for me is the creative genius of others.
I almost worship it.
I feel privileged to see it. Hear it. Taste it. Touch it. Witness it. Experience it.
When I see a Monet masterpiece in person, I feel the itch to create.
When I watch a touching story in film or on the stage, I must pick up my laptop and write.
When I hear poetic language through song or verse, I must produce.
So when I feel my creative fuel reserves dwindling, I know what it takes to refill them. I seek out art, storytelling, design, and innovation. I devour literature. I crave culinary masterpieces. I watch an episode of Abstract on Netflix.
I put myself in a position to experience the talent and skills of people who create — no matter their discipline.
Because creativity of all forms speaks to my soul.
Your creativity fuels mine.
And that’s all it takes to spur me on.
A Call to Action
When you identify your own creative fuel, surround yourself with it.
Bask in it.
Let your creative juices brim and flow.
Then do something about it!
Sometimes You Need a Little Creativity Boost
My free eBook might just help:
I use these exercises to keep the juices flowing — in myself and in my clients. (I am a marketing consultant, after all.)
Follow me on Facebook.