Creativity is about thinking in more than one way

Perhaps the whole time you’ve been writing your manuscript you’ve thought this is the best way to write it (i.e. POV, tone, genre, character age, setting). It’s natural to plan for the outcome in the framework you’ve predetermined, however what happens when a little voice in your head (or a big voice namely your agent or editor) suggests that maybe the POV should be centered around another character, that the target market should be YA not adult, or that the setting should move counties or countries.

When you are trying to reason and ‘solve’ this issue you think so hard about what’s the best way to communicate the story you’ve set out to tell. The voice you are trying answer might have been there all along.

This is why books take so long to write. Just when you think you’ve finished a new angle might be introduced that would better suit the project. What would happen if THE PARIS WIFE had been told from Hemingway’s perspective?–Well I suppose it wouldn’t have been called THE PARIS WIFE and it certainly wouldn’t have been such an interesting book.

Thinking around your novel and not directly trying to solve the problem will help give you the objectivity to connect the dots that have been missing. Listening to those little–and big–voices in your writing head will give you a better manuscript. Writing is a creative process that is multi-layered in its approach and execution. Follow the paths that your creative minds leads you down because you might have a better manuscript because of it.

Take a hike. Go for a swim. Do some baking. Read another novel that you use for inspiration.

Taking your mind off the issue at hand will give your imagination the freedom to connect its own dots. You just have to be open to listening to it when the answer comes.

Writing isn’t a sprint, your writing career is a marathon–so treat the training and execution like everyday matters and everyday contributes to your craft. The quick fixes aren’t going to help you or the reader. Revisions and ironing out the issues in your book are worth the time, mental struggle and effort that it takes. You’ll see the light if you’re open to looking outwards instead of inwards for that final boost of creativity.

Image via Happiness is…

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

9 thoughts on “Creativity is about thinking in more than one way

  1. It’s very true, I’ve made a substantial change to my ms in the last few days that I’d been deliberating over for a while. It has freed up the prose and made events further on far more seamless. It is worth the big changes to get it right before submission! Thanks for posting about the topic so eloquently!


  2. I’ve actually found that writing AS a sprint is far more effective for me getting words down on the page. This could be why I do so well with NaNoWriMo. Then I take care with the revisions and things all seem to work out for the best.


    1. That’s true. Getting words on the page is the first thing. But overall, in the editing and questioning stage writers need to take their time! You could be the exception to the rule though, Ian!


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