3 Steps to Find a Romantic Idea for Your Creative Activity

“Opposites attract. If two people just alike get married, one of you is unnecessary.” —Larry Burkett

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’re preparing a talk to a women’s group. Or writing a romantic scene. Or composing a song. Where will you find a romantic idea to entice your female audiences?

Here are 3 Steps to come up with a romantic idea for your creative work.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Step 1. Write What You Know

Who do you know better than your spouse? You don’t have to go back to those budding-romance days. Look at why you love your spouse now.

Step 2. Use Opposites Attract

People love stories about how men differ from women. It’s romantic. So, list ways you’re different from your spouse. When you get about fifty…just kidding…ten, stop. Here’s mine:

1. He enjoys people. I’ve considered building a monument to the person who invented email.

2. He is a man of few words. That’s because I hog all the rest.

3. He finally comments on what I said five minutes ago. I’ve already forgotten what I said and moved on to my next idea.

4. He’s always right. I supply him with numerous opportunities, but I’ve reserved a billboard for the glorious day he’s WRONG.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. He analyzes how to put gutters on our house. I analyze everything else.

6. He takes hot showers so long I can’t find my way out of the bathroom. To save on electrical costs, I freshen up in his steam wondering why my hair doesn’t hold a curl.

7. He leaves a mushy card on my favorite chair on Valentine’s Day. When I find it, I race upstairs, cut out two harts, glue them together, and slap a doily on it, tea stain down, and finish it off with, “I love you.”

8. He laughs at my humor. I force weak smiles while he over-explains the way things work.

9. He does the grocery shopping, if I make the list. I question why he didn’t know “romaine in a bag” meant the easy pre-cut version and not a humongous stalk of romaine that barely fits in the vegetable drawer and happens to be sold in a bag.

10. He never tells embarrassing stories on me. I use this godly man as fodder for my social media posts.

Step 3. Recall a story.

Image courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of xedos4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For each difference, recall a story that proves you’re different in that area.

Here’s mine for number 5:

At our last house, John stood in the backyard, staring up at the roof for a lo-o-o-ng time. I couldn’t fathom what the man was doing. I asked. The expert who configures the gutters for houses was coming the next day. Our roof had funky levels. John wanted to figure it out before the EXPERT came. Do you know what? When the EXPERT showed John his configuration, John suggested his own and the expert agreed it was better!

Now you see why I listed number 4. But I have to admit I my heart tingled that my man bested the gutter expert.

From this story, I can use a similar situation for my fictional hero. Because I know my feelings from my scoffing in the beginning to my tingles at the end, I can give my heroine those feelings.

What’s a story you could use for a creative activity?

Eight Tips to Help You Write More Words

I’ve wished I could write more words in my novel each week. So I was delighted, when I asked author Carrie Turanksy to share writing tips, she passed along tips to help writers be more productive.

GovernessFINAL_HAT_CVR-1Carrie’s historical romance, The Governess of Highland Hall, released last week. It’s set in England in the early 1900s. Beyond Downton Abbey lovers, I recommend Carrie’s novel for those who enjoy intriguing interaction among diverse characters.

Carrie: In my search to stay focused, silence my internal editor, and increase my writing productivity I’ve developed these eight tips. I hope they will help you write more words!

1. Outline the scene first.

Before you start writing take five minutes and outline your scene. Write out 1 – 3 pages by hand. Choose your point of view character and think through what you want to happen. Jot down a few lines of dialogue. This gets your creative juices flowing, and I’ve found the scene seems to come together much more quickly when I start typing from these notes. Knowing where you are going with the scene, can really free you up creatively and help you move ahead more quickly.

2. Give yourself permission to write fast and messy.

Learning how to resist the internal editor takes determination, self-discipline and practice, but it’s a skill you can learn. You have to refuse to listen to those questions that pop into your mind and just keep writing. Self-talk can be very helpful. I tell myself, I don’t have to write it perfectly the first time. I don’t have to follow all the rules. I can evaluate this later, delete what’s bad and keep what’s good. I just need to get it down. It’s also helpful to remember that you can only edit and revise what you’ve written. It’s okay if it’s awful. You will fix it when it’s time to edit and revise.

3. Write with instrumental music playing in the background.

I recently saw an informal survey that found those who listened to music while writing were able to write more words per day than those who didn’t. I like to write with instrumental movie soundtracks playing in the background. Some of my favorite soundtracks are Prince of Tides, The Cider House Rules, Little Women, and Downton Abbey for my present English series.

Carrie and Scott visited Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed last summer on a research trip.
Carrie and Scott visited Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed last summer on a research trip.

4. Set a timer. 

Set your timer for fifteen minutes. Tell yourself you will focus and write for that long. Keep writing and moving ahead in your story without going back to review, revise, or correct anything. Then take a short break and set the timer again. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in short periods of time like this. This is a great way to train yourself to focus and stay in the creative mode.

5. Set a word count goal. 

Word count goals can be motivating and helpful guides. Some writers like to set daily word count goals, but I like the weekly goals. That gives me a little more flexibility for a day I may have to go to the doctor or have another appointment. I know if I meet my goal each week, then I’ll finish my book on time. That relieves some of the pressure and helps me stay in the creative mode. It also helps me be accountable to stick with it when I feel like reorganizing the spices in my kitchen cabinet or playing around on Pinterest.

Carrie recently hosted a book launch tea party in honor of the release of The Governess of Highland Hall.
Carrie recently hosted a book launch tea party in honor of the release of The Governess of Highland Hall.

6. Write at your most productive time of the day.

When are you the most productive and creative? Some authors are morning people, others work best late at night. Others find that their best writing happens after they’ve been writing for a certain amount of time.  So do a study and keep track of the time you write, where you write, and the word count for each session. See if you can find your most productive time of the day and the best locations for you to write. Then set aside that time to write, and don’t allow email, Facebook or Pinterest to eat up your best writing time. Turn off your email program so it doesn’t ding every time you receive an email, and use your less productive times of the day to check email and social media.

7. Wear earphones.

Earphones are a great way to block out noise as well as pipe in your favorite music. Even when I am not listening to music, I sometimes use them. They block out some of the noise and distractions, and they let my family know I am working, then they are less likely to interrupt me unless it’s something important.

Carrie with her friends Deb and Gina at the tea party.
Carrie with her friends Deb and Gina at the tea party.

8. Reward yourself for reaching your goals. 

Why wait until you’ve finished your book to enjoy a reward? Set several short-term goals and celebrate when you reach them. Do something you enjoy when you meet your weekly word count goal or the halfway point in your book. Take breaks to enjoy a walk, go shopping, meet a friend for lunch, or play ball with your kids or grandkids. Enjoy life and take in God’s blessings so you will be ready to give them out as you write.

Which of Carrie’s tips will you try next week? I’m thinking #8.

Carrie TuranskyCarrie Turansky is the award-winning author of eleven inspirational romance novels. She and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for thirty-five years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and three grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with friends:

My website: http://carrieturansky.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorcarrieturansky

Printerest: http://pinterest.com/carrieturansky/

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How to Tap Your Best Resource for Your Next Entertaining Creative Idea

“When I grow up I want to be a little boy.” —Joseph Heller

My grandson, the cowboy.
My grandson, the cowboy.

I think inner children get tired of waiting for their adults to consult them. They keep reminding their adults creativity peaks around age 5. But their adults ignore them.

It’s time to stop pretending your inner child isn’t there. For Pete’s sake, put her silly idea on your brainstorming white board. And before you knock on her door for help, read the sign taped askew there. “Eccentric geezers allowed. Irritable geezers keep out.”

My grandson, the chef.
My grandson, the chef.

Inner Child’s Credentials

Think back to when your inner child was the outer child. Or peruse your record of the things your child said or did before he was relegated to inner child. Haven’t children come up with some doozies? To avoid punishment. To get what they want. To enjoy creative play. To bolster courage.

Okay, so adults see through many of these creative ploys. Still, children’s ideas are original. Imaginative. Artistic. And inventive. Children are free to come up with whatever idea enters their mind. At least until adults encourage them to think more rationally. Is that about age five? When they go off to school? Go off to be an inner child?

Example of a Child’s Doozy.

My grandson, a sneaky robber?
My grandson, a sneaky robber?

One evening, my three-year-old grandson came into the mudroom with me after a day at the river. He carried a toy jeep. We sat on the bench while I removed his muddy shoes.

His mom came in from the garage. As she passed through to the kitchen, she said, “Put the jeep in the toy closet and come upstairs to get ready for bed.”

My grandson glanced at the door to the garage and then leaned toward me. His eyes were large and earnest. He spoke in a conspiratorial voice. “I’d better put my jeep in the closet. A robber might come in and steal it. Robbers are very sneaky.”

I replied, “That’s true, robbers are sneaky, but we’ve never had a robber come into our house.”

A Rational Look Concerning Sneaky Robbers

Grandma’s take on her grandson’s doozy: He disliked his mother’s two directives: putting his toy away and getting ready for bed. He chose to come up with a creative way to obey his mother.

My grandson, the fisherman.
My grandson, the fisherman.

Grandma’s analysis of her response: My inner child delighted in the idea of hiding jeeps from sneaky robbers. Maybe I should hide my iPad before I went to bed. So, I affirmed his truth, but I also had a responsibility to my grandson. I didn’t want him scared when his mother turned the lights off. Afraid that robbers would come into the house.

You Can Juice-up Your Creative Work with “Sneaky Robbers”

My grandson, the protector at T-ball
My grandson, the protector at T-ball

1. Identify your need.

2. Come up with a perfectly good solution.

3. Knock on your inner child’s door and ask her to come out to play.

4. Snicker together at the perfectly good solution.

5. Rest your head against your chair, close your eyes, and ask her what she’d do.

6. Use what she tells you, modifying only what is irresponsible.

The next time you’re looking for a good idea, think of sneaky robbers.

What idea suggested by your inner child have you had the courage to use?