Lost Your Creative Edge? Here’s 14 Tips to Get it Back Again
Every writer gets this. Whether you are looking for that next topic for a blog post, a catchy title, a killer opening, a story to write, or just some new angle to write an essay or paper, you are just stuck. Sitting at the blank screen and agonizing over this will only make it worse. You have to shut that screen down, get up, and do something else. Creative though cannot be forced – it comes when it comes and sometimes at the least expected moments. Once you accept this, you will more willing to walk away if only for a small amount of time, and change your focus and thought patterns. Here are some things you can do that might “fire” you up again
- Remember that novel that is sitting there that you have not even opened yet? Give yourself about 1/2 hour to start it – set a timer in case you get too engrossed. Sometimes reading the creative writing of someone else will get your own “juices” flowing.
- Walk around your house. Pick a piece of furniture and pretend that it could talk. What would it tell you? What would be its stories, its favorite moments, etc.? Have a conversation with that chair.
- Walk outside. Pick a leaf or a flower and study it. Look at all the details of its construction and marvel at its intricacies.
- Call a friend who is quick-witted and always has something unusual to say. That can spark an idea.
- Go to the nearest park or mall and sit on a bench. People watch. Make up stories about the people you observe.
- Play a game with yourself. Actually, you should have this pre-planned for when these moments arise. You should have a jars or boxes – one for nouns, one for verbs, one for adjectives and one for adverbs. (Note: all of your verbs should be action ones). Pick one item out of each jar or box and force yourself to make a sentence. Once you have your sentence put together, that is your story starter. Write a very short story based upon that sentence – no more than a page.
- Get an adult coloring book. Researchers do say that coloring can stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain from which creative thought arises.
- Do some housework. This does sound a bit “off,” but often when your brain is “shut down” a bit, it will allow creative thought to flow. Nothing is more mindless than mopping a kitchen floor or vacuuming.
- If you have a topic for what you are to write, get online and google it. Read how others have addressed it. Of course, you are not going to copy what they have had to say, but just reading about the topic can give you some fresh ideas about addressing it yourself.
- Experiment with different odors. Light a scented candle; smell your cleaning products; open bottles of pickles, salad dressings, and other things in your fridge. Often, these things can trigger memories or thoughts that you may be able to massage into a creative message.
- Go to a restaurant that specializes in ethnic food you have never tasted before. Order some up, to-go if necessary and enjoy those new tastes. All of what goes into our minds really is through the senses, so if you can stimulate those senses, you will stimulate brain activity as well.
- Dance. Pull up your favorite music and dance and sing. Getting physically active will give your brain some pause, and the pauses, like those that occur with cleaning, can allow creative thought to be released.
- Write something totally unrelated to what you are trying to write. One blog writer, whose topics were typically focused on providing information to his readers, writes limericks when he is stalled – you know – those short poems that always begin with, “There once was a man from ________.”
- Don’t “force” it. Here is the biggest mistake that writers make. Even if you have a deadline and you manage to meet that deadline, if what you write is not engaging and compelling, what good is it? It will either be sent back for revision, no one will want to read it, or you will feel like you pretty much “bombed.” Better to get an extension, to take the consequences of not meeting the deadline than to turn in garbage. Your reputation suffers too.
A Bonus Tip
Be proactive. You never know when a great idea will hit. And it may come to you when you do not have any urgent need to write something. If you don’t write it down, you are missing out on future content ideas. Either text or email it to yourself (if you are out), or get an app that will let you must enter it. If it comes to you in the middle of the night, have a notepad next to your bed. Every unique idea you have today is a piece of writing at some time in the future.