Monday, April 25, 2011


When I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered without hesitation: “That’s easy—a professional football player, who’s a secret agent when not playing football.”

Seemed practical to him. The first thought that popped in my mind—he’s been watching too much TV.

Maybe so but, wouldn’t it be great to think like a kid sometimes? No hesitation in your mind about how to pull off a career that only one-in-a-million people get (let alone two careers that require elite qualities). No limitations to story plot lines, because anything is possible. And little cares of writing a sentence without the fear of a critiquer highlighting and leading it to a comment box full of no-no’s.

In a recent copy of Reader’s Digest, an article on problem-solving included a creative tip from Julia Cameron, a novelist and playwright. She said to write three pages, in longhand, first thing every morning about whatever comes to mind, no second-guessing, no editing. She said that it’s a mental dustbuster that sucks up the negativity that might inhibit creativity later.

Try putting yourself in a kid’s pair of gym shoes, or else, try these ideas:

1. Laugh - Think of something that you think is funny. For me, I like to read one-frame comics—like Far Side.

2. Daydream About Your Novel – Imagine the novel you’re working on and act it out in your mind. Try listening to music with the emotion you want in your story.

3. Pretend – Try pretending to be your character. Since I’m an adult, I did a web search on how to pretend (a little ridiculous, right?):

I came across a Wikihow article on “How to Pretend You Came from a Rich Family.” Well, maybe one of your characters comes from a rich family? Here’s a condensed version of the article’s suggestions: Be seen reading a classy book, be nice to servants, never buy anything with huge logos, and to show that you’re really rich—ask your parents to give you money and take your friends out to an expensive restaurant…but don’t discuss money.

Does a character in your book need to fake that they can dance? Here are suggestions from another article on “How to Pretend You Can Dance:” Move to the music, snap your fingers or clap your hands, go to the YMCA, or talk to your partner—not deep conversation, just random chit chat.

Here’s the Challenge: Try to think like a kid and spark that awesome power of creativity in your mind!

--Marjorie DeVries


  1. What a great post! I daydream about my novels and act like my characters all the time..maybe even too much (keeps me from sleeping at times).
    Oh, I toggled the thing that makes your name lable show up at the left.

  2. When she was young, my daughter also wanted to combine two careers. She wanted to be a hairdresser--and an astronaut! When she grew up, she compromised and became a nurse who is out of this world.

  3. When I was in ninth grade, I wanted to be a high school teacher who was also a doctor or a doctor who was also a high school teacher--and I had two examples to follow. A married couple in our small town were both doctors but there wasn't enough work for two, so she taught high school algebra and chemistry and physic and helped her husband sometimes, and he was the town doctor who substitute taught once in a while. But my ambition changed when I decided to be Perry Mason, instead.

  4. This is great, Marjorie, for getting us to think outside the box. Great article. :)

  5. Thanks for the kind comments!! Rick, I love your daughter's compromise--that's great! And Kathryn, you make a great Perry Mason :).