How Creativity Starts at the Very Beginning

Creativity kicks off right from the very start. When you’re writing, speaking, or presenting, the beginning sets the tone for creativity, and, in turn, draws attention and piques interest. A creative start is essential for a creative middle and end.

How’s this for an opening paragraph?

THE BAT stays with me. Isn’t that strange? I did so many amazing things on this crazy cross-country trip in search of what baseball means in 2011. I ate a Dodger Dog. I marveled at the artistry of Adrian Gonzalez’s swing. (“Artistry” is the only word that comes to mind; if the swing could be frozen, it would be in the Louvre.) I chatted with Vin Scully, took in a game with Bill James on an afternoon when the temperature topped even the heat of Justin Verlander, watched Prince Fielder uncoil his wonderfully violent swing. I contemplated eight simultaneous big league games while eating pizza in Manhattan’s East Village, then, 15 hours later and 157 blocks to the north, drank in the sound of a city in full celebration of history. I munched Cracker Jack in Cooperstown, that little American village where people so desperately want to believe baseball was invented.

This paragraph comes from an incredibly well-written article about baseball in the July 25, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated. Once I read that opening paragraph there was no way I was going to put the magazine down. I had to keep reading. My persistence paid off all the way through, until I found myself shedding an emotional tear at the end of the article. Read it for yourself. You’ll see.

But it all began with the introduction. The introduction of this masterful article does three things:

  1. It piques my curiosity. Of which bat is he speaking? Out of all the incredible things he lists in the opening paragraph, in the end it’s a bat that “stays with (him).” I want to know more.
  2. It gives me an overview of what is to come.  I know I’m going to learn more about Los Angeles (“Dodger Dog”), Vin Scully, the best pitcher in the game (Justin Verlander), and one of my beloved Milwaukee Brewers (Prince Fielder). I want to read more.
  3. It uses adjectives and description to draw all of me in. A baseball swing that deserves to be in the Louvre? An afternoon topping the heat of Justin Verlander? Pizza in Manhattan’s East Village? Cracker Jack in Cooperstown (…nice alliteration!)? I want to taste more.

Granted, I am a huge baseball fan. But even if you are not a fan of baseball, I challenge you to read the article and not be interested, impressed, and drawn in by the writing.

And it all started with a masterful introduction. Creativity starts at the beginning and flows all the way through.

What examples do you have of great introductions?

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