Thank all of you for the blessing of your shared thoughts, encouragement, and condolences on my blog last week. As I suspected, many others have been in this place of struggling to wrench creativity from the jaws of emotional/spiritual/physical fog. Your suggestions echoed my own, from giving yourself time to setting a timer, to just writing anything to get words on paper (I even decided writing out the grocery list qualified <gg>).
I went through a similar struggle after my mom died back in ’02—and I was on a book deadline. It was awful. A year or so later, as I thought through that struggle, I decided to make a list of the things that spark my creativity. I was surprised to discover that some are simple—such as smelling a fragrance that takes me back to childhood—and many don’t have anything to do with actually writing. But in doing them, I often find scenes or stories or even just the expression of emotions sending me to the keyboard.
I’ve added to my list over the years as I’ve discovered new sparks, and I’m finding that this list has been so helpful to me now. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to do the same. When you’re not in the struggle, and even when you are, make a list of your most effective Creativity Sparks. Then, in those days when you can’t think straight, you have something tangible that can be a springboard. No, not all of the ideas will work during the hard times. But if even one can do so, that’s a victory.
Here are a few of my Creativity Sparks:
- Sit in a dimly lit room, put on music and crank the volume so loud you feel it in your bones.
- Go outside and watch the birds.
- Take macro pictures (what I mean by this is to take super close-ups)
- Take a nap
- Watch a movie
- When you watch a movie, ask yourself why you like/dislike a certain character
- Fix hot chocolate with marshmallows and savor it
- Hug your dog. Close your eyes and feel the softness of his fur. Lean your face against him and listen to his breathing.
- Study the colors of the leaves
- Float in the pool and watch the clouds
- Look through pictures on gettyimages.com until you find a face you want to write about
If you don’t have one already, why not start your own list today. It doesn’t have to be long. Just one or two sparks can, well, spark even more ideas. And you may be surprised what a lifesaver this list can be when you’re lost in the fog.