Smash Your Finger for Creativity*

So I smashed my finger.

I don’t think I realized how much I used my little pinkie until I put in the way two colliding pieces of metal. Even though I could bend each joint, it turned nice and purple from the tip to the first knuckle. I made the mistake of touching it, thinking I was wiping some dirt off and watched the red bloom across the tip. There probably should have been a doctor involved.

Yeah, it hurt.

Now what does this have to do with being creative? I’m getting to it.

For the last two weeks I painfully learned how much I actually used that little finger. I used it like a sensory input. As I moved my hand around, it acted as my hand antenna. It helped balance plates as I carried them. I scratched my ear with it. And the worst?

I typed with it.

My pinkie, back where it belongs. I no longer cringe when I hit .

My pinkie, back where it belongs. I no longer cringe when I hit “Enter”.

So I’ve been forced to find ways around using my trusted pinkie. It wasn’t easy. I tried to keep it curled in my palm and found that to almost as painful when it made contact. I ended up treating everything like a dainty tea-cup, with my pinkie held out as far as it could to avoid any kind of collision. My typing digressed to a two-fingered hunt and peck I haven’t used since I first laid hands on a Commodore 64.

The point is, I was forced to be creative.

I couldn’t very well stop doing things. My ear won’t scratch itself. The trash won’t take itself out. I had to be creative to do the things I wanted to do.

It reminded me on ways I use to be creative in my writing, Taking away things I normally use. If I force a certain situation on a character or take away one of their crutches, what will happen? I know what I want to happen. So I have to become creative to get the desired results with the limited tools I have at hand.

Have you checked out the writing prompts we do here on Thursdays? There’s a great way to test those tools out. First of all, you’re limited to a small word count. And second, there’s usually a particular rule you’re trying to follow. I’ll be the first to admit that not all the prompts speak to me. Now I’ll admit one more thing.

My best ideas come from the prompts I didn’t initially want to write. I took a situation I wasn’t too crazy about and turned it in a direction that made it fun for me.

So why not try out some prompts. If not ours, someone else’s. After all, it’s got to be better than smashing your finger.

* – Please don’t smash your finger to test my personal theory. I guarantee it won’t be a result you’d thank me for. I’d like to say I’m a trained professional, but who am I kidding. I smashed my finger.