How to make ‘Tea’. My Thoughts on the Creative Process

Just about every country has a different way of making tea and just about every person has a different approach to making starting a new story.

Coming from a job (dance) that requires visualisation only and not the spoken or written word (unless you’re a repetiteur, a person who records choreography using Benesh Movement Notation, the language of ‘written’ ballet) I naturally tend tosee my story in movie-form first from start to finish, allowing my imagination to run wild, keeping my foot off the brakes and seeing where it goes. And always it surprises me! Many people have muses that guide them, inspire them, and give them great ideas that they, of themselves, could never conceive of.

I, on the other hand, do not have a muse, but I fully trust in my unconscious mind, and, if you want to get esoterical about it, I suppose I can say I trust that which the Universe (or God, if you want to make it more personal) brings me, for I know that not one of you can explain where your ideas really come from, hey? Don’t you just love it!

So where does this ‘tea’ business come in?

Well, in my home my hubby and I make tea like this: empty cup, then teabag, then sugar, then water, then milk.

Empty Cup

That’s you, ain’t it! That’s you where you start, completely empty, whether you are a ‘big chunky mug’ or a ‘dainty teacup’, that’s you, and it’s the best place to be for your creativity to find a home and settle comfortably. Empty your mind of all distractions, influences, and the voices of others, and turn inward – to your muse, your inner-self, that part of you that you can trust implicitly because it knows more about what’s going to work and be a success than you do!


This, of course, is the essence of your story; the Big Idea! This is the flavour (the gist of the story from start to finish); the aroma (the emotional aspect and the setting – where it takes place); the colour (the characters); and that happy place a good cup of tea always brings you to – the perfect, relax-back-into-the-couch “Aaaah!” moment – and that includes those that will soon share it with you, the reader!


Ah, yes, the sweetener, that which infuses the flavour, energises it, and makes it hit (chuckle) the sweet-spot! Yes, people, the sugar is that part which enhances the Big Idea and makes your reader cry, laugh, rage, and gasp in shock or delight! Whatever you do don’t leave it out!


Without this you cannot have tea. Water stirs the Big Idea to life, mixes all its aspects together, and makes it pop! It is the life-force, boiling, hissing, spitting, and creating!!! The water is YOU – your energy, your brilliance, your uniqueness . . . your very LIFE!


Now I know a lot of people don’t have milk in their tea, especially those who drink herbal tea, but my hubby and I do – even if it is herbal ’cause we’re weird like that!!! But if you leave out the ‘milk’ to your story – the flavour enhancer – then I think that’s quite alright because milk is the part that is left to the taste of the Maker. Some have a little, some have a lot, and some have none. Personally, I can’t do without milk because it softens the edges and fluffs my story out and completes it. But, hey, maybe you want your Big Idea to be cutting and harsh (no milk) because it’s about a vampire who wipes out an entire town of people in a matter of days (‘salem’s Lot: Stephen King)! Then you most certainly can’t be fluffy! Just be careful, though, that you don’t neglect those loose ends, leaving the reader confused or unable to connect the dots and thus unsatisfied after ‘drinking from the cup’. Sometimes the reader needs milk even if you don’t fancy the stuff!

I know I’ve based my creative process on the way I make tea, but that’s the idea. We all do it differently but hopefully we all get the same results: lip-smacking flavour to delight all who partake of it! Sometimes it takes practise to get it just right, to create the perfect cup of satisfaction. Just remember to keep practising; it can only get better!

Happy ‘tea’ making!

Image courtesy of


About SwordBearer

I am a fantasy and science fiction author. I have published three epic fantasy novels in a tetralogy with Xlibris Publishing, and a sci-fi short story, The Door. All are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major online retailers. The Door is also available on Smashwords. I love reading everything from King to Koontz, Cussler to Brooks and Feist, to name but a few. Before writing became my life I was a professional ballet, jazz/contemporary dancer in South Africa. Writing and storytelling have always been passions since childhood, and I want to share them with the world!!

Posted on May 3, 2012, in Believe in Your Writing Abilities, Just Begin!, Tools to Help You Get Started and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. That’s how I make tea, too — though I only add milk if I’m drinking chai or something equally spicy.

    It’s also my creative process. Well. I think I have a process; the tea-making analogy seems to fit. 😉 Good post!


    • Thanks so much, Katje! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Pukka Chai Tea is definitely my favourite! I find the processes of each individual writer fascinating and completely unique. Thank goodness there is no one alike! It makes for wonderful entertainment and brilliant ideas! Happy tea-making!


  2. Reblogged this on Writing with both sides of my brain and commented:
    I loved this concept for creativity of the writer, and since it’s right down Gram’s and Emma’s alley, I just had to share with you. How do you like your tea?


  3. Reblogged this on T!pT0e.


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