This month’s theme for the LEaD Writing Group was creativity. We started by using an activity suggested by Heather Leach in The Road to Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion.
Stretch the imaginative muscle (Leach, 2014).
Choose any object that you have around you. In our case, I gave the participants a book. Make a list of as many uses for it as you can. Give yourself a time limit or a target to reach (10/20/30 uses). As you get more desperate your ideas will get more fanciful. My last idea was to tie the book to my foot so I could use it to slide on ice.
What does this have to do with writing a blog or even academic writing?
When writing, sometimes we get to a point where we are blocked. This may occur before we start or during the process. Having activities up your sleeve that encourage you to think in alternative ways may help you overcome such blockages. In addition, like most skills, the more you practice them the better you get. The same is true for creativity and writing. Therefore, having little practice exercises can help you develop your skills.
After the activity, discussion turned to a Horizon documentary – The Creative Brain: How insights work. One section shows an experiment illustrating which types of break help you have insightful moments when you are trying to overcome blocks in your work. It’s really worth watching ( click here to watch the clip in BoB).
What is BoB?
As a student or member of staff at City, you can access Box of Broadcasts (BoB), which is an archive of over 2 million broadcasts from 65 free-to-air channels from the 1990s to the present day. It’s a great resource to enrich sessions with multimedia content such as clips from documentaries.
Apart from playing with creative ideas, we spent the majority of our time working on our writing – blogs or otherwise.
Finally, we briefly looked at another blog to get inspiration about how we might develop our own writing style. We looked at Steve Wheeler’s – Learning with ‘e’s blog. He has quite a conversational style of writing – generally challenging, brief and to the point.
Do you have any tips on how to get your creative juices flowing? Or perhaps you have a favourite blog that you would like to share. If so, post a comment below. You can also join the LEaD Writing Group in Yammer! For more details and to join the mailing list contact – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us at the next LEaD Writing Group sessions:
Wednesday 1st or Thursday 2nd March, 1 – 2 pm in B310 (LEaD Training Room) on the 3rd floor of University Building.
Leach, H. (2014) ‘Creativity’, in Graham, R., Leach, H. and Newall, H. (eds.) The Road to Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion. 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.15 – 21.