Reader Friday: Rev Up Your Creativity


What form of inspiration most increases your creativity?

  • Art
  • Music
  • Literature
  • Film
  • Theater
  • Nature
  • Pets
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Crafts
  • Food
  • Scent
  • Other

Please explain.


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About Steve Hooley

Steve Hooley is the author of seven short stories published in four anthologies, a Vella serial fiction, and is currently working on the Mad River Magic series – a fantasy adventure series for advanced middle-grade to adults. More details available at:

45 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Rev Up Your Creativity

  1. Good morning, Steve.

    Music would be the answer. I have something on whenever I write. I have “Tres Margaritas” by Los Dodos (surf music) on right now. Or is that “write” now?

    Anyone who has ever had a cat knows how they just love computer keyboards, but only when the owner sits down to write. The usual result is something like sdcsefsrfzc”derfegbov$%$.

    Thanks Steve. Have a great weekend!

  2. Exercising outdoors. If I keep working my brain gets mushy. Exercising allows the creative part of me to rest and recover (or get blood flowing again; I don’t know how it REALLY works).

    • I agree, Vera. When I do “mindless” work outside, it allows the boys-in-the-basement to cook up some new ideas.

      And there is nothing so beautiful as being outside in this beautiful creation we call nature.

      Thanks for participating.

  3. Reading non-fiction: typically history but not always. It’s hard to read history and not have your brain start going “What would happen if….” Likewise, I’d guess most of us write mystery, thriller, etc. with justice in mind. We unfortunately have more than enough fodder in news, articles and books to inspire that hunger for justice, if only creatively through our fiction.

    And having time to simply THINK creatively inspires it. We all go through those phases where we barely have time to breathe, much less create. So much better when we have more time each week to do creative things. Because if you have time to get into the groove of your creativity, it inspires it all the more. Love those phases!

    • Good points, BK, especially that “time to simply THINK creatively.” It is so easy to get too busy to pause and recharge the batteries.

      Interesting take on reading history. I need to start reading with the “What if” question in mind.

      Thanks for some great ideas.

    • I wrote my thriller based on a dramatic wotif:
      What if a psychiatrist gradually discovers during a therapy session that his client has murdered his lover and has the weapon with him?

      I populated the story with Adolf Hitler as the patient and, of course, Swiss (neutral) psychiatrist Carl Jung as the therapist. I discovered from my research that Hitler did murder his girl friend, Geli Raubal, and was always armed. (His valet stated that Hitler’s cloth trouser pockets were all replaced with leather.)

  4. I have to choose two from your list, Steve: exercise and reading. Either one will inspire me, but I get the best result when I combine them. When I’m running outside while listening to an audiobook or course, the ideas pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain. 🙂

  5. Good list, Steve. At one time or another, all of them have worked but the most frequent are nature, exercise, and scent.

    And being around other writers. Their ideas feed off my ideas that feed off their ideas that feed off…you get the drift. A brainstorming session with other creative minds can make a room buzz.

    • Excellent addition, Debbie. I should have put brainstorming sessions at the top of my list. I don’t have a writer’s group in my community, but I do brainstorming sessions with my wife when we’re trying to solve a problem. It’s amazing how verbalizing a problem, then listening to someone else’s thoughts, can allow some creative solutions to bubble to the surface.

      Have a great creative weekend!

  6. I suppose I fall into your “Other” category. More than a half century ago I had the pleasure of sitting at the foot of a series of masters sharing what they had accumulated over their lifetimes. Felt like what I imagined it would be to live in ancient Greece learning in the format common then. One of the most important things I learned was to avoid the disabling mindset often presented as “that won’t work because…”

    Their advice was to approach most problems/situations with “for that to work, I would need to…” And then proceed to develop methods of overcoming obstacles. Only in relatively few cases did I find the obstructions truly intractable.

    I approach my writing in a similar fashion. An apparent roadblock is just an opportunity to find the right combination of actions to establish a way around it. And who wants to procrastinate when opportunity calls?

    One situation I faced was how to make amends for taking an accidental whiz in a corporate Chairman/CEO’s boots. Turns out there are some truly unsolvable problems.

    • Excellent, Lars. I like your “for that to work, I would need to…” approach. And as for that accidental micturition, sometimes we just need a time travel machine, so we can go back and change things. Wouldn’t you like to have one of those and be able to charge people for a do over?

      • If I had such a time travel machine, I’m afraid I would wear it out on “do overs” for myself before I had a chance to rent it out for others.

        And it would definitely need to have a long range. Didn’t see the error of my ways on some things until 20 to 50 years later. But yes, some were obvious almost immediately.

  7. Almost everything on your list inspires my creativity, Steve, especially exercise, walking, chores, any sort of movement. But really, anything that gives my muse / the Boys in the Basement the chance to work while Mr. Consciousness is distracted.

    Under “Other,”: Deadlines. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, nothing inspires me like the prospect of an eminent deadline 🙂

    Also: when a project isn’t working, then it’s time for serious and sometimes prolonged brainstorming to figure out the solution. That always produces ressults.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Great ideas, Dale. Good point about keeping Mr. Consciousness distracted. It’s as if “he” can see only one way, and we need to pull him back so we can see all the options.

      I like your quote from Samuel Johnson. Interesting how sometimes we need to step back and look around. Sometimes we just need a bigger bulldozer to make it happen.

      Have a great weekend!

  8. Music, certainly, but mostly travel. A river in South Africa and a small boat tied up by a bridge. The cavernous African Trader’s Market on the Cape. A small village in Germany and the maze of Paris streets. The Tetons were the setting for my first book, and I have a series set in the trails area of southwest Virginia. A child running down a cluttered alley in Fairbanks, and the utter vastness of Alaska’s wilderness, where a person could be tied up and left and only the bears and vultures would find it. Every place can be a location, any person there a minor character.

    • Beautiful, Becky. Location, location, location. The first rule of real estate, and a great analogy to inspiration for writing. Your descriptions inspire creativity.

      And music playing in the background while we pan across the settings you have described.

      Thanks for participating.

  9. Great question, Steve!

    I can point to a few on your list, but mostly I’m in the “other” category.

    Casual conversations with random people are where, so far, my ideas have sprung from. People say the darnedest things sometimes, and I usually end up warning them that they’ll probably end up in a story down the road. No one’s ever screamed “Nooooo!” at me yet.

    Happy Friday all!

    • Excellent ideas, Deb. Great source of ideas for characters and truth being stranger than fiction.

      Do you eaves drop on the people at the table behind you in a restaurant? That’s a lot of fun. It’s wonderful how loudly people will talk when they are so close. Maybe we should carry a recording device to get it all captured.

      Thanks for discussing the “other” category. and have a wonderful weekend!

      • We don’t frequent a lot of restaurants, mostly eat food at home.

        But . . . I love eavesdropping at family gatherings. Especially listening to our grandchildren, ages ranging from 26 down to 9. Talk about “stranger than fiction” moments!

  10. I’ll pick several from your list and kinda combine two. Music is a definite. When I get too worked up, I’ll put something on and listen real close to the lyrics. If I need a story, musical theatre soundtracks!

    And exercise is an always. If I can’t focus on anything, I need to do some lunges or something.

    • I like that, Azali, lunges for writer’s block. I definitely agree with you on the exercise. And music seems to be one of the most popular vehicles for helping the writing process, different music for different purposes.

      Great thoughts. Thanks!

  11. Good list, Steve. I like to go for a walk. I live by the beach, and a walk helps me sort things out. On my last walk I saw a double rainbow over the ocean.

    • Thanks, Elaine. A double rainbow would be awesome to see. And the sound of the waves breaking on the beach is therapeutic in itself.

      Our “nature” is our woodlot on the back of our property. The solitude and the large oak trees helps me put things into perspective.

      Sorry for the delayed response. I was out “enjoying” our wood lot, hauling in firewood for the winter. The sore back makes me want to write.

      Thanks for your comments.

  12. Music. Since I write with headphones cranked, music helps me strike the right mood. When I’m in the zone, the songs become white noise so my complete focus stays on the screen, not on my environment. 😀

    • Thanks, Sue. When I listed Music in the list above, I thought of you. Music is probably the most powerful force in changing emotion, except maybe film, and film has a sound track.

      I need to get my sound system put together. It’s been about 3 years since we’ve moved and I still haven’t done it.

      Thanks! And have a great weekend!

  13. Brainstrorming. I’ve found that a 15 minute brainstorming session, following the rules therefor, will heighten my creativity for a half hour or more. Our brain’s emergency response center✻ is also our creative center, perfect for finding ways out of trouble. It has no conscience, so it is naturally suited for brainstorming.

    ✻ “Guardienne”

    • Wonderful, JG. Thanks for weighing in. I knew you would have something to teach us about the Guardienne. As always, it is very interesting.

      A brainstorming session every forty-five minutes sounds frequent. In practice, while you are writing, how often do you stop to brainstorm?

      Sorry for my late response. I’m an east coast early-to-bedder.

      Thanks for your contributions. They are appreciated.

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