As promised last week, when all else fails to spark your creativity, give one of these a try. They almost always work!
1. Do something relaxing. Take a pad and pencil or a mini-recorder along to capture ideas when they spark. Some relaxation ideas:
- A nice, long bath
- Play with your pet. If you don’t have one, go to the dog park and borrow one!
- Go to a movie
- Cook something you love
- look through old family photo albums
- take a nap
2. Rewrite a well-known story to make it a different genre. For example, turn the opening chapter of Tale of Two Cities into a thrilling car chase. [It was the best of cars, it was the worst of cars…]
3. Gather together some toys (yours from childhood or your child’s), sit on the floor, and think up a character and history for each one.
4. Exercise can be adult play. Rollerblade, racquetball, tennis, swimming, running, biking, whatever works for you.
5. Draw. Don’t worry if your horse looks like a dog, just draw whatever comes to mind. Use as many or as few colors as you want. Try different mediums: charcoal, pencil, crayons, chalks, paint, etc.
6. Play with words. Try:
- Work with words.
- crossword puzzles
- word games
- Scan the dictionary, looking for words that strike you. Come up with definitions for them, then see if you were right. Keep a list of these words and use them when you write.
- play Outburst, Scrabble, anything with words.
7. Do the Dewey Dance. Walk through the library, pulling books at random from the shelves. Start out with a couple from each numerical section (000-099, 100s, 200s, etc.). Sit and skim through your stack, jotting down whatever is triggered.
8. Make a list of topics you want to write about some day. Give it an upbeat title: Brilliant Writing Ideas, Masterpieces I’d Love to Write. Keep the list for a time when you’re wondering what to do next. Pull it out. Flesh it out. Have fun.
9. Work with your hands. Sometimes the best thing you can do is physical work with your hands. Try:
Painting a room
Baking bread, even if you’ve never done it before. There’s nothing like kneading bread to work out frustrations!
Building something, whether with PlayDoh, Legos, or wood. There are great, simple plans online for all kinds of things.
Making a flower arrangement
Grooming your pet
Whatever you try, do it with an attitude of just immersing yourself in that activity. Don’t try to chase creativity. Instead, let it go and focus on something else. Usually the best way to bring it back to life is to stop trying!
Blessings to you, and here’s to a year FULL of creativity!
Thanks, Karen! I’ve actually stumbled onto a few of those, but this gives me fresh ideas. One of my favorites is going to the mall to get in a few miles, and, of course, people watch. 🙂
All great ideas, Karen! Going for a long walk or working on another creative project (beading, crocheting, sewing, or whatever) works for me.
Can we rewrite A Tale of Two Cities into a cookbook? I can see it now… “It was the best of thymes, it was the worst of thymes….” 😉
But more seriously, my method for jump-starting inspiration is to take a drive. Driving requires only a portion of your brain’s activity. Something about partly watching the road and partly just thinking (with the radio OFF) often starts the creative juices pumping.
And my one warning might be to beware lest these useful diversions become excuses for not writing. Word-smithing requires genuine effort. Almost everything is easier than writing, and other activities can become deadly detours away from a manuscript.
Thanks for this, Karen!
Great ideas. I find when I need creative ideas that trying to come up with them is counterproductive. Instead I have to do something completely different, like paint a room or organize a closet. The ideas come when I’m not thinking about them.
From borrowing dogs, to doing the Dewey Dance, and drawing (since I’m envisioning my own drawing…I can’t even draw stick people), these ideas are golden. Love this post! Thanks, Karen.
Great ideas, Karen. I had never heard of the Dewey Dance before, but would hate to be the librarian afterwards!
Awesome ideas! My mind is already playing with what to try first.
Here’s one more.
When I was struggling with paralysis by analysis, the gals in my writers group each wrote out three random words on three slips of paper. My challenge? Without peeking ahead of time, draw any three words from the pile and incorporate them into a scene or story. Any genre. Any topic.
My first three words were “desire,” “squishy,” and “galloping.” And yes, I had so much FUN coming up with a scene that I could hardly wait for my fingers to hit the keyboard!
Although I have no sense of rhythm, the Dewey Dance is something that I could do — and sounds like a lot of fun.
Now I just need to wait for a time when I need to jump start the creative process!
I made up the Dewey Dance, and have been asking librarians for forgiveness ever since. But hey…it works!
Oh, and I have to tell you, the idea to rewrite A TALE OF TWO CITIES came from Mr. “I’m-a-genius” Laube. That man is CLEVER!