The post below is my response to being invited to be a guest blogger by my friend Nina Amir for her blog Write Nonfiction in November.
Hope you enjoy it and visit the site to see the rest of the terrific postings for the month.
Coaxing creativity into your writing life
We’re going to talk about how to get the spark back into your writing. Writer’s Block is a phrase known to strike terror in the hearts of all writers because we can’t call on our creativity to perform as we’d command a dog to sit or roll over. But we can use little tricks to coax and invite creativity into our lives.
Jack London tells us “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Well, somewhere in-between Mr. London’s club and the following suggestions, I hope you’ll find a way to invite Creativity into your life.
- Take a hike – or a walk, or a swim, or do yoga – in other words exercise and breathe deeply. The great writer Brenda Uland (who wrote the classic “If You Want to Write”) said we should walk for hours to exercise our Muse. Since moving a pencil, pen, or a computer mouse isn’t much of a weight-bearing activity we need to unleash our physical side to tap into our brain.
- Give yourself permission to play and develop an attitude of playfulness – paint, sew, stamp, garden, collage, bead, hit a ball, jump in the water, or blow bubbles. Lose yourself in the sheer joy of bouncing a ball, paddling in a canoe, watching the bobble of a fishing line instead of the blinking cursor while you try to figure out the next phrase.
- Seek out the Masters – who do you admire? Why? What is it that sets them apart? Transcribe a chapter of your favorite book. Go to a reading at the library, bookstore, college or university. Attend a class or workshop.
- Take a nap – Dream your way to creativity! A Harvard study determined that sleep helps us learn and proposes that sleep is a state required for the nervous system to grow and change. Musicians have heard the scores of operas and the strains of classical masterpieces while asleep. Our dreams produce unusual combinations of ideas that can seem surreal, but they can also result in an amazingly creative solution to an important problem.
- Think outside the box – experiment and break the rules. There’s usually another way to accomplish everything. Be an inventor. When faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem, decide on the outcome you want and work backwards. The shortest distance between point A and point B may be a straight line – but is it fun?
- Sit in a different spot – Allowing ourselves to think outside the box means we can shift our perspective. I recently had to wait for my husband at his office and I felt like I was in George Jetson’s cartoon living room; very modern and futuristic without an ounce of warm and fuzzy. It made me appreciate my comforts and how I get into my writing space emotionally as well as physically.
- Change your focus or POV – be willing to see the situation from another point of view, fresh eyes could interpret things in an entirely new light. Stuck about how to approach your writing project? Write in a journal. Write an unsent letter. Make a list of random words.
Now, I’m off to tear up some magazines for a collage. Hope you’ve found an idea or two to get your writing juices flowing.
Come on, coax your creativity today!