Creative Writing 'More Quality Work, Faster
Maximization methodologies have long been used in business to produce quantities of quality ideas, faster. Creative writers who want to rapidly produce quantities of quality work should apply these same principles.
a) Waiting for inspiration creates less output than forcing inspiration.
Simply engaging in the task generates ideas. By defining the work process, the author can frame the mind for the coming task and trigger the mind into searching for ideas on multiple cognitive levels. Creative Directors identify a problem and set about finding solutions, thus initiating the creative state. Similarly, screenwriters know that they will come up with good ideas for screenplays while they are working on the present one. Inspiration for projects comes while working on similar projects.
b) Setting incremental targets and final goals produces more output than a 'do your best' approach.
Creative Directors may ask people to generate at least five problem statements a day and come up with at least five ideas to resolve each problem in that same day. At the end of a week, 20 people have generated a solid idea pool that can be analysed. Similarly, writers who set themselves a target of 500 words a day produce more total output after a month than they would if they had not set themselves that target.
By staging the process over a week, the Creative Director i) forces output at regular intervals and ii) allows the problem to incubate in the mind, thus allowing richer insights to generate.
c) Story Structure
Just as in business, where models such as SWOT, PEST, Five Forces and a million others are used to generate ideas for particular circumstances or for particular problems, so stories themselves have such frameworks. Stories are built around templates. The most famous of these is Campbell's (1968) Hero's Journey, around which have been built some of the most successful ever films 'Star Wars, Spiderman, Shrek, The Incredibles and many more. Applying these structures allows the writer to break a task into smaller arts and more precisely define problems and generate better solutions.
The true value of Story Structure is perceived after a few successful uses. It allows i) the creative writer to quickly map out a story from an idea and ii) triggers idea flow because blocks are overcome and competencies learned 'it becomes easier to visualise the idea in the final, fleshed out form.
d) Experience curve, adaptive and generative learning. subliminal and unconscious perception and learning.
Commonly expressed in terms like 'you have to write a million words before you write anything good.' When a task is in the early stages, relative lack of experience, knowledge and refined methodology limits performance to sub-optimal levels. With time these factors improve and productivity increases exponentially. Adaptive and generative learning, subliminal and subconscious perception and learning all help the author to get better at his or her endeavour.
In conclusion, by really understanding and Managing Creativity and Innovation, the Creative Writer is able to produce more quality work, faster.
This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com
Kal Bishop, MBA
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About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.