Working outside the box...
Go somewhere you've never been before...
Theatre doesn't have to be on stage, radio doesn't have to be recorded in a studio. A play doesn't always need a script. An audience can be part of the story. Performance and documentary can weave together to create a 360 degree truth.
Push against the boxes, you'll end up somewhere new.
Site specific and immersive
I love to write for site. That could be a steam-train, a coal yard, a semi-derelict deco building or the grounds of a country house. It can even be a play that uses every part of the theatre building... except the stage. I've had radio drama played in a cemetery as an 'in the dark' experience. And you can't get any more immersive than performing a story around someone's house with the inhabitants, an invited audience, and a Comedia del Arte troupe.
Sometimes the spontaneous, collective response of performers can be stronger than anything one writer could conceive. I've started with nothing but a title and through workshops produced something totally improvised by the company. I've also worked where I've set up characters and scenarios and let the actors loose with them. I've worked with non-actors in the same way, to create a 'guided' fly-on-the-wall documentary fiction. It's hard work and plays like nothing else.
Sometimes as a writer you have to get immersed yourself. Reach out, listen, make a safe space for ideas, explore, grow the stories and voices of a community... then share them with the world. I've worked with families under stress at the Braedam Link in Glasgow, on a Monster Hunt. I've talked to sex-workers, stroke survivors, life-scientists. I've been a conduit for the diverse views of a small town in Chariot of Light. I've also been script-writer on five productions of 'Play in a Week', an annual show made by young people with (and without) disabilities.
When someone has an astonishing story to tell, let it be in their own voice. I couldn't possibly have written the New Mexico accent and energy of Wally Funk pioneer woman aviator and veteran of the Mercury 13. I couldn't have imagined the accounts I heard from the displaced people of Diego Garcia. I record radio on location because you can't recreate the relationship between actor and environment that you get on an actual roof or horse, in an octopus tank, or swimming The Channel. You have to go there, then go beyond.