- Books, Literature, and Writing
Top 10 Ways to Snap Back into The Creative Zone
As a writer, it isn’t uncommon to occasionally have bouts with writer’s block. This can be frustrating, especially if you write online and are hoping to make some sort of income with your ramblings.
Writer’s block is a condition - a disease meant to take down the writing profession. It is described as a time in which an author loses their ability to produce new work. It is as if the writer has lost their creative mojo. This condition can vary in its intensity and duration. It can last a few hours or even a few years. It can leave you without any ideas. Or it could just be the thought your writing is inferior or unsuitable to be read by the outside world.
However, there is hope. Don’t let this condition cause you to abandon your hobby (or your writing career). You may find your block is something easily be fixed. You may have just lost your inspiration or been out of your creative zone.
There are many reasons you may have writer’s block. Maybe you are stressed out or suffering from depression or other health issues. Financial issues or time constraints can also aid your ailment. Yet, if you are looking for inspiration, it might just be right outside your front door.
So, if you have found this because you too are suffering from writer’s block, I hope this list can help you create something beautiful!
Nice fall day... why not take a stroll
1. Take a Walk
A healthy body will lead to a healthy mind. The exercise you get from going on a walk will help lower your stress levels and clear your head. So go ahead and fill up your lungs with all the fresh air you want. Studies have also shown being outdoors can raise your mood and have positive effects on your health. (So avoid the treadmill and go for a walk the old fashioned way!) One reason for this is because the levels of serotonin will rise just by being outside. The effects will have you clearing your head, lowering your depression and snapping you back into a creative zone.
As an added bonus, walking is a great way to lose weight. If you are a person that spends too much time in front of the computer eating ding dongs, going for a walk will keep you from ballooning up. So, not only will you get back into the groove, but you will stay happier and healthier. So go for a walk and then get back to your writing!
Aliens on the Moon
2. Surround yourself with Kids
If you have ever been around children (and I am pretty sure most of us have!), you are pretty familiar with their active imaginations. Having your own children is an instant inspiration. (Although I will admit they will take away from your writing time!) People are always seek parenting advice, and parents, well, are never short of giving it. Writing on parenting styles, children’s toys, your children, or just activities to do with your kids are instant hubs.
If you don’t have any children, don’t fear. You can still get inspiration from them. Visit family or friends that have children (or offer to babysit!) Listen to what they say; watch how they play; pay particular attention to how they view the world. Children will always come up with a different take on everyday items. For instance, if you ask my daughter about the aliens on the moon, well, you will have quite the story on your hands.
3. Make an idea bucket
Now this might not be the best idea if you are currently out of ideas. But, do you remember how a month ago you had so many ideas you couldn’t even keep track of them all? Most writers can relate. But, how you deal with these ideas can make all the difference.
I have a notebook (ok, I have several) I use to write down all my ideas. The problem with just writing them down in several different notebooks is they lack organization. And, if you are searching for an idea, you still have to come up with which topic you want to write about.
If you decide to use an idea bucket, gather a container and a few sheets of paper. As you get an idea, write them down on a slip of paper, fold it up, and toss it in the bucket. Soon, your bucket will be overflowing with ideas. When you are running on empty, grab one of these ideas and just go with it. You never know what you might come up with. Now this is a form of what I like to call forced writing. When you draw an idea out of the bucket, your don’t have a choice about what you are writing about. Therefore, you take the wishy-washy feelings out of the whole experience.
Note: It will probably be counterproductive to stick timely ideas in the bucket. If possible, write those when you get the idea. Save the bucket for ideas that are timeless and can be written at anytime.
4. Use Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are random ideas or a just a sentence that force you to just write. As a writer, most of us should be familiar with writing prompts. While using writing prompts on a daily basis is good practice, a writing prompt can also help get us into the creative mood.
Here is the key. If you are doing writing prompts, set yourself a goal of how long you would like to write each day. Say it is just 10 minutes. Now set a timer and go. This is also forced writing, but they key is, you can’t stop. If you run out of things to say, you continue to repeat your last word or phrase… your last word or phrase… your last word or phrase. It is a little like a broken record. Eventually, if you repeat it enough, someone will give you a quick slap and you will be off and running again.
So many books to choose from
5. Read a Book
A good writer doesn’t just write. They are also a reader. Reading is very important to writing because it helps to expand our vocabulary; help us in recognizing proper grammar and punctuation usage; and it also is a mold for our writing style. If you have a favorite author, compare your writing to that person or several of your favorites. Most of the time, you will find your styles have similarities. We read what we like, and we like what we write, and we write like we read.
Yet, reading will also help in another way. Anybody who loves books, loves a good story. Yet, these stories might be inspiration for other stories. After all, there are only so many plots, and the same plot may have been told over and over again. Look at the story of Cinderella. That story line has been used several times, and it may not have always involved a glass slipper or a prince. The plot is there, but the way you tell it is limitless!
Practice your right to write
6. Write a Letter
As a teenager, I could write a letter in every single class, pass it to my friend as we passed each other in the hallway and still talk on the phone to them for hours every night without running out of things to say. So, what is it about a letter that helps us to put words on paper. Is it because we are essentially talking to someone? Is it the format or the style? Either way, if you are in a rut, writing a letter might be just the cure you were looking for. Maybe you first recipient can be the rut your in!
Why do you torture me with endless words that never create a sentence. I feel the grasp you have on me is unnerving and frustrating. However, I am stronger than that and vow I will break away from your gripe. You are weak and I am strong. Therefore, I am getting away from you Rut and you don’t have a say in it.
Much Gratitude, The Writer in a Rut
Your recipient can be anybody. Write a letter to a family member; write a letter to a famous celebrity; write a letter to your favorite animal; write a letter to the president; write a letter to the tree in your front yard. It doesn‘t matter who you write to, as long as you are writing! The best part is, you don’t even have to send it to them.
7. Have a Conversation with Someone
Inspiration can come at the oddest times. When I am talking with someone, they will say a silly catch phrase and immediately a light bulb will pop on in my head. Yep, that has got to be my next hub. Some of my greatest hub ideas have come from this very way. I must give a shout out to RealHousewife, because she is one crazy character. Since we are friends on Facebook, this gives us the opportunity to comment back and forth on each other’s status updates. Through these, or just email messages, she has given me some great ideas that I might never have thought of otherwise.
So, if you are dreading that dinner date with your crazy relative or off-the-wall friend, think of it as research. The crazier the conversation, the more likely you are to come up with a killer idea!
8. Return to the Caveman Days
Yes, you heard me right. Return to the caveman days. Turn off that computer or the laptop or even your Netbook or Ipad. The current running through those electronics is frying your creative braincells. So do it the old fashioned way. I won’t suggest using a rock tablet and a stone to carve in the letters, but at least grab a notebook and a pen… kike we used to in the old days. Write until you fill up a notebook or write until you run out of ink. You will be amazed at how freeing it is to write on paper instead of always typing everything. Who knows… it might even be what you need to get the creativity flowing once again.
As an added bonus, imagine how much exercise your hand will get from writing on a notebook instead of typing on a laptop or keyboard. If you have done most of your work in the form of typing for the last few years, you will notice how sloppy your handwriting has become, and how sore your hand gets in just a few minutes of writing by hand. It can be a great escape, and you can take a notebook with you anywhere!
Escape the pressures of life... and write about it
9. Experience Life
If you do nothing, how can you expect to have any fresh ideas? When you live life, life will supply you with plenty of ideas. If you do nothing but sit in front of a computer, it will eventually wear on you. Sure, you might have a great imagination, but having experiences will mold the stories you tell.
Experiencing life doesn’t have to cost much. Sure, you might occasionally want to write about the time you survived your trip into the jungle. But, you could very easily write about taking your children to the park. Or how about an article about being stuck in traffic? The ideas could be endless. Living life will have the ideas continually coming to you.
So, don’t think you need to spend all your time writing. Go out and experience life and write about it. Think of it as researching your next topic.
What do you think of lists?
10. Make a List
People either love or hate lists. Whether it is reading a list or creating your own, this is something people will either be drawn too (because of its quick passages) or turned off from (because they don’t expect to get any real information from it). But, if you are currently reading this, chances are good you like lists too.
Making a list is also a great way to brainstorm. For instance, you can make a list of the Top Ten Reasons Why a Monkey Would Make a Great Pet. Or you can make a list of the Top Movies for the year 2011. How about the Top 5 Ways to Ask Someone Out. The topics are endless and are totally up to you.
So get out there and make a list! I just did this!