A warm welcome to our friend, Suzanne Santillan! She was born and raised in Los Angeles and always dreamed of writing a children’s book. She currently works as a freelance graphic artist and has illustrated charts and graphs for over 100 library reference books. Grandma’s Pear Tree is her first picture book, and a realization of her childhood dream. It was a recent recipient of the Golden Moonbeam Award for picture books ages 4-8. Suzanne enjoys cooking, sewing, doing crafts, and reading. She is a member of the SCBWI. When not writing, reading, or working on her blog Writing on the Sidewalk, you’ll find Suzanne walking the beaches and canyons of San Diego with her husband Ken, two sons and writing partner/sidekick, Buddy. We're sure you'll find some inspiration in Sue's creativity blog below. -Ellen and Anne
The Creativity Tool Belt: A Writer’s Secret Weapon
by Suzanne Santillan
One of my favorite superheroes is Batman. He doesn’t have the super strength of Superman or the swinging and climbing skills of Spiderman. Batman has no special powers, only a tool belt. With the help of his faithful sidekick, and armed with his belt and a really nifty car, he does a great job keeping Gotham City safe.
While I may not be a superhero and drive a nifty car, I do have a sidekick and a secret weapon - The Creativity Tool Belt. Each tool is highly specialized to help me when my creativity starts to wane.
Here are the items in my tool belt:
If your life is like mine, you are constantly coming and going. Taking the time to soak in a tub filled with bubbles helps you find your inner child and is a great way to relax. I like to use my niece’s bubble bath, because it’s hard to take life seriously when you are sitting in a tub of watermelon-scented bubbles.
Here’s another handy tip- make sure that you have a note pad by the side of the tub to write down any ideas (you’ll thank me for this).
Music can get your blood pumping and your brain thinking. I find listening to country music a great creativity stimulator. Listening to songs about trains, dogs and love gone wrong really helps generate new ideas. Classical music is great for working out those tricky plot problems and good old fashioned pop is great for jump starting my ideas and perking me up if the country music starts to get me down.
-A Bottle of Glue
Getting lost in a repetitive craft often helps to spark creativity. I choose to do mosaics. The process of gluing several small pieces of tile in a pattern is just the type of repetitive project that allows my mind to wander. It is during that wandering that the ideas ping pong back and forth and usually lead to some great insights. Not into mosaics? You can try knitting, scrap booking, basketball or rowing, or anything repetitive.
A Garden Trowel
Digging in the soil and working with nature is a great way to spark creativity. I like to look the at the flowers: how are they made? How do they smell? Taste a strawberry. Listen to the wind or birds. I try to open my mind and use all of my senses. This usually sparks a memory, which can sometimes lead to a whole story.
-A Dog Leash
I like to joke that my favorite writing partner/sidekick is my dog Buddy. More supportive than a writer’s group, he doesn’t criticize my writing, sits at my feet while I work and most importantly is always willing to go for a walk.
For me, walking is the best way to unleash creativity. When I am stuck for a plot idea or working on a tough section of dialog, I grab the leash and my writing partner/sidekick and I are off. That’s better than anything Robin could ever do for Batman. Maybe Batman should get a dog. It’s just a thought.
That’s my creativity tool belt. What’s in yours? Is there something that helps you when your creativity begins to ebb?