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8 Sharp Techniques to Improve Your Creative Writing Skills

8 Sharp Techniques to Improve Your Creative Writing Skills

Good composition skills in any facet of creative writing will take you to amazing heights. You should remember that in order for your creative writing to reap rewards, it should captivate the reader. Your words should be carefully thought out, and they should have meaning. How can you accomplish this? It may take some adapting, but aiming to improve with these tips will never do you harm.

1. Have a Broad Understanding of the Subject

Writing creatively requires a focused approach and broad understanding of the subject in order to create a larger picture for the reader to visualize. You should spend time researching and conducting informational interviews in order to gain this knowledge about the subject. The more knowledge that you have, the more that you are able to convey to the reader through your writing. Oftentimes, writers miss out on painting the larger picture.

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2. Do Something Different

Never be scared of doing something different or unique that will bring your writing to a whole new realm that may be unexpected or out of the ordinary. Oftentimes, this can evolve into something that is different yet amazing—something that readers will enjoy.

How can you achieve this? Think differently and put yourself in environments that are inspiring or relaxing. Sometimes, having no rules is the best way to reach your full potential when it comes to creative writing.

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3. Think of the Three Act Structure

This method is prevalent not only in modern writing, but also in television and film. These “acts” are not distinct from one another, rather they flow seamlessly through the piece.

Setup, confrontation, and resolution. The setup will establish characters, how they relate, and their world. There will be an inciting incident that has an attempted resolution and a turning point. The confrontation will be the central problem with the main character attempting to resolve it with much adversity, turning into a journey. The resolution consists of the climax and the resolution of the problem.

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4. Add Interesting Details about the Setting and Location

Bring your essay to life—literally. Using specific details about settings and locations, readers will be transported into your piece. Literature can be dry if focused only on the hard facts, but can become increasingly interesting when adorned with details about a location or setting. Even the smallest details can prove to have a major impact in creative writing.

5. Extended Metaphors

This is when the writer uses an analogy to explain a complex concept so that the readers may understand it better. Unfamiliar concepts can be explained in a way that is familiar and can be visualized.

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One example of a well-known extended metaphor is when Shakespeare wrote “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!” in Romeo and Juliet.

6. Record Your Ideas

Keep a notebook with you at all times so that you can scribble down any ideas when they come to mind. Inspiration can strike at any hour. Think about your topic when you’re doing mundane tasks or when you are out and about. You’d be surprised at what you’ll think of when you’re out of your working mode.

7. Use Meaningful Dialogue

Meaningful dialogue will demonstrate how the character feels or what they mean by what they are saying. Rather than only including the words that are being spoken, include one or two details about the character that will invoke an image in the reader’s mind about how the person is feeling. Most people know how to write a creative essay, but having meaningful dialogue transforms it into a masterpiece.

8. Create Tension or Conflict

Tension and conflict is created between characters and can be internal or external. You should balance these opposing forces to keep the reader interested in the story and anxious to see how it will be resolved. There are plenty of themes for conflict which include, but are not limited to, high stakes, universality, insight, empathy, surprise, causality, progression, empowerment, and mystery.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

Do you sometimes feel that you add items to your to-do list faster than you tick them off? Do you spend most of your day worrying about your lack of time?

The truth is, no matter how much we love our job, or how productive we believe we are under stress, there comes a moment when the pressure rises above boiling point. The sheer number of urgent tasks multiplies in a geometric progression. New possibilities no longer sound inspiring, they sound overwhelming and equal more work.

If that’s where you are right now – keep reading! If not, it doesn’t mean you should wait until you get there to learn how to cope with a demanding work schedule and how to calm yourself down quickly when you feel overwhelmed.

Here are 7 quick and easy tips on how to calm down when you are overwhelmed:

1. Let go of a few activities

Yes, it’s that easy! Take a look at your to-do list and ask yourself, “If I don’t do it today, will it matter a month from now?”

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Not every urgent task is important. Just like not every important, high pay-off task is urgent. The best way to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and to manage your time is to know the difference between the two and learn to simplify your life by getting your to-do list down to three big tasks.

2. Take deep breaths to calm down

This advice sounds so simple it’s often overlooked. But it works better (and faster) than any other relaxation technique out there.

There is a direct connection between our emotional state and breathing. An anxious, frustrated or overwhelmed person breathes as if they have just finished running a marathon. A calm person breathes differently. Their breathing is deep, slow and steady. So when you have a panic attack, the best way to bring your heart rate down and to regain your cool is to change your breathing.

Try this now:

Take a slow, long deep breath in, filling your lungs with air and expanding your diaphragm. Hold your breath for four counts and then slowly release the air through your mouth. Repeat four times and notice frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed dissolve with each long exhale of these calming breaths.

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3. Make “Just one thing” your mantra

When we feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on our to-do list, it’s easy to enter the ‘deer in the headlights’ state. You see deadlines approaching directly towards you, and you know that something has to be done about them, but you just don’t know where to start.

The best way to get your mind out of an ‘inactivity trance’ is to create momentum. This is what makes the “Just one thing” mantra so powerful. It helps to change our expectation that everything has to be completed right now, “or else.”

Next time you feel overwhelmed make grabbing a cup of coffee your “Just one thing.” You can do it, right? Then come back, pick one of the smallest tasks on your to-do list and tell yourself you’ll do just that one task. This is your next “Just one thing” that you will concentrate on until it’s complete. After that you can move on to the next task and so on.

It’s not “One thing at a time.” Saying this implies that there is a huge line of other tasks waiting to get done and that’s not the message you want to keep repeating to yourself. Learn how to focus here and stop getting overwhelmed.

4. Reduce the multi-tasking and multi-thinking

It’s been proven that multi-tasking is very inefficient, to the point of dumbing us down (more than smoking marijuana does). The same is true for multi-thinking, when your mind frantically jumps from one thought to another, trying to focus on and analyze several things all at once.

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Fortunately, there is help. A few minutes of meditation or brainwave music is all it takes to start feeling more relaxed, more creative and less overwhelmed.

5. Get moving

Any exercise you engage in – be it walking or dancing to your favorite beat – helps to release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones, through your body and to clear your mind.

Staying active also increases your productivity, enhances your ability to combat stress and anxiety. It also helps you to release the tension, boosting your mood and changing the thoughts that induce the sense of being overwhelmed.

The best part is you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the mind-soothing benefits of exercise. Even as little as 15 minutes of dancing or jogging can go a long way towards making you feel better and staying calmer.

6. Change your surroundings

We all need and deserve to take vacations from work woes and family responsibilities. Unfortunately, spending two weeks lazing on a beach, toes in the sand and a Mojito in hand, is not always an option. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t take short ‘vacations’ from work stress and the technology buzz.

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Go outside for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine. Stop at a park instead of driving straight home from work. Sometimes changing your surroundings and ‘spicing up your routine’ is all it takes to change your perspective on things and find creative solutions to seemingly complex and overwhelming problems.

7. Get some pet therapy

Studies have shown what most of us already guessed – our pets can be a great help during stressful moments. Simple actions such as petting or playing with your dog or cat can lower high blood pressure, boost your immune system and boost your mood.

Besides, pets can make the best conversation partners to share your frustrations with. They listen, they love you unconditionally and they never talk back or say, “I told you so.”

Final thoughts

Don’t wait for stress to hit you to start practicing these quick ways to calm down when you are overwhelmed. The best way to enjoy a worry-free life is not to push yourself to the limit of being overwhelmed and frustrated.

Featured photo credit: Dardan via unsplash.com

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