Have you ever had that kind of day when the creative well runs dry? That was me last week, staring at my notebook, waiting for the ideas to come. While we love to think we are in charge of our writerly destiny, there are days when you're out of sync.
But there is good news! Otherwise, this would be a seriously depressing blog post, am I right?
Today, I'll teach you ten simple ways to boost your creativity! Ready? Okay!
1. GO OUTSIDE OF YOUR ROUTINE.
Think about the day-to-day of your life. For me, it looks something like this:
- Wake up. Coffee.
- Go to work. Coffee.
- Lunch break. Coffee.
- Go home. Coffee.
In all seriousness, routine is a blessing and a curse. It can help us to create a schedule for our writing, but it can become mundane. When we're trapped in the routine rut, it's time to break out.
How can we do this? Here are a couple of ideas for you:
- Take a day off. Time to play writing hookey! Get away from your desk and refresh.
- Make a small switch. Keep it small, man. Park on a different floor. Wear heels instead of flats. A minimal shift can bring a maximum impact.
- Take a walk. Getting outside can both inspire and de-stress you.
2. BREAK OUT THE BOOKS.
Obviously, we like books. But are we taking the time to actually, you know, read? It's time to set down our laptops and pick up the hardbacks!
Here are some creative reading tips for you, my friend:
- Read a book outside of your genre. Don't be a one-note reader. Expand your horizons and read something fresh.
- Read something outside of your medium. How about poetry? A medical journal? If you are a fiction writer, it doesn't limit you to being a fiction reader.
- Read a visual story. Pick up a graphic novel or a comic book this week!
3. GET SOME SHUT-EYE.
In college, I consistently pulled all-nighters. I'd stay up all night perfecting whatever writing project was due the next day, and I'd roll into class looking I belonged on The Walking Dead. Don't stay up too late, okay?
If you must stay up late, then make room for a nice nap in your schedule. You only need twenty minutes to refresh your brain and rebuild your energy. You'll be amazed at how much more productive you can be when you're well rested.
4. START WRITING ON PAPER.
If you haven't read my post about writing the old fashioned way, hop on over! (Or skip. Or slide.) Writing on paper is an incredibly freeing experience, mainly because it prevents you from editing as you go along.
When you break away from the computer screen, it allows your mind to wander in a bigger, broader way. Don't tie yourself down! You're a balloon! A plane! Okay, I'll stop now.
5. TAKE A DIGITAL BREAK.
I need to confess something. I'm slightly addicted to my phone. If I'm not checking Instagram, I'm flipping through my Twitter feed. If I'm not studying my blog stats, I'm refreshing my book sales. This madness must stop.
Lately, I've been seizing every excuse to ditch the tech. Here are a few tips for breaking the digital bond:
- Shut the data off on your apps. We're bringing back the 90's, my friend. When I'm off writing, I turn the data option off of my apps, so that I can't use them unless I'm connected to WiFi.
- Set a time limit. Instagram to your heart's content... but only for ten minutes. Be specific, so you can stick to it.
- Leave your phone in the other room. Turn the ringer on high and get to work!
6. BE PRESENT.
Our minds are constantly jumping to the next big thing. How many times have you finished a book only to dive right into the sequel? We are always looking ahead, which is both good and bad.
If you're trying to find your creative spark, it's imperative that you stay in the moment. You can't write a story now when you're thinking about how to sell it later. Stay grounded, like so:
- Meditate. Sit in a quiet space and block out the thoughts. Find a guided meditation to get you started.
- Free-write. Pair this baby with #4. Basically, write as fast as you can with whatever nonsense pops into your brain.
- Mind Map. Break out a blank sheet of paper and start mapping! You begin with a big idea bubble, then branch out with smaller idea bubbles.
7. ISOLATE YOURSELF.
I consider myself to be a social person. I love hanging out with friends and family, but sometimes, I need to take a few hours for myself. It's okay to take a break! A few ideas on how to unwind alone:
- Binge-watch a new show. But do this with intention. Pay attention to dialogue, setting, or storyline. Give your TV time a purpose!
- Spa trip. Time to relax! Get thee to a spa-ery. (Butchered that.)
- Start a creative project. Have you tried the new adult coloring book fad? Or maybe you're a scrapbook maker. Find your creative drive in non-writing creations.
8. FIND INSPIRATION ONLINE.
While the Internet world can serve as a distraction, you can also make it work for you. I have a set of blogs that I read daily, as well as podcasts I listen to, and youtubers I watch. It's important to surround yourself by the people who inspire you. Looking for ideas? Have at 'em:
- Podcasts. I'm mildly obsessed with this platform. From business casts to Harry Potter casts, I can't get enough. Fun podcasts to get you started: MuggleCast, Dear Hank and John, and Magic Lessons.
- YouTube. Get lost, people. I love watching booktube videos and getting new book ideas. (P.S. I'll be posting monthly reading wrap-up videos over here.)
- Instagram. Just search #bookstagram. You won't be sorry.
9. ESCAPE FROM THE DAILY GRIND.
Cabin fever? No thank you. It's time to get on your feet and greet the great outdoors. Or maybe just a shopping mall. Totally up to you.
If you really want to re-energize and kick your inspiration up a notch, it's time to get away from the desk. Here are a few ideas:
- Travel. Make like Nemo, and get lost! (Ha. Ha.)
- Take a Day Trip. Don't have the time or money for a full-fledged vacation? Take a day trip to somewhere nearby.
- Have fun! Go to the aquarium. Ride bikes in the park. Visit a cupcake shop. So many options!
10. HAVE A POW-WOW.
Maybe isolation isn't for you. Maybe your creativity needs a tribe! I love having brainstorming sessions with my writer pals and find inspiration from talking shop with them. If you need a pow-wow, look no further:
- #StorySocial chat. Kristen of She's Novel and I host a Twitter chat every Wednesday at 9 PM EST, helping writers to navigate social media. It's a great place to ask questions and make friends!
- Meet in person. Have in person writer friends? Meet up at a coffee shop and get chatting.
Discussion Time: How do you boost your creativity when you're in a slump?