By Leslie Anglesey/ For some writers being creative comes naturally and effortlessly. There seems to be a never ending supply. For others, it’s not that easy and they struggle for each brilliant idea that pops into their head. This article gives you eight of my personal juicy tips for arousing creativity in writing when there isn’t much to go around.
#1: Define Your Relationship with Creativity
In your world is creativity something you directly control, or not?
Make no mistake, there are trillions of neural connections ready to fire in random ways at the drop of a hat. You’re carrying around an organic super-computer in that skull of yours, capable of taking in more information per second than you can fathom. That creativity exists within you there’s no question.
#2: Read a Random Magazine
Get outside of your intellectual bubble. Magazines have lots of smaller chunks of information you can draw on for inspiration and creativity. It’s easy to grab something relevant, but resist the urge. Try something completely different and outside the norm for you. Create the mental environment for creative and unexpected connections to be made.
#3: Get in an Exhausting Workout
Exhaust the part of yourself that stands between you and creativity. If it’s plausible for you, start jogging on a regular basis. It honestly takes a while to get there, but once you reach the level of conditioning where you can completely day-dream while you jog…wow!
Cardio works best (stair-climbers, treadmills, rowers, upright & recumbent bikes etc.), but if weights are your thing resistance training is also really effective. Regular exercise and better physical conditioning will sharpen your writing creativity tenfold.
#4: Get up and Clean Your Home/Office
Step away from the computer and set your mind completely to something else. Clean. Trust me, there’s a connection between tidying up the house and removing the clutter of the mind. Oftentimes it’s this mind-mess that bogs down free-flowing creativity. Do the dishes and think. Get the laundry done and mop the floor.
#5: Pace the Proverbial Stage
This one works really well, especially when you’re writing at home alone or somewhere to yourself. Step away from the computer or whatever, and begin to pace around the room. Now, pretend that you’re on a stage.
Become a public speaker in your mind and start talking to the audience about your subject. Explain what you need to create, and why and how awesome it will be once you’re done with it. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly start to see things from a completely new perspective and have a few epiphanies.
#6: Small White-Boarding
Buy a small white board with a black marker. It should be small, but not too small. They’re typically found on the freezer part of the people’s fridges. When you sit down and begin to brainstorm with such limited space you have to be specific, precise and direct. There isn’t enough room for nonsense. Plus, it’s not that intimidating either. Sometimes we can get intimidated by the size of the task at hand.
#7: Listen to Completely Different Music
Most modern writers compose to music. It’s either coming out of their laptop/desktop, or they’re writing in a place with music on in the background. To stir up your creative juices change things up a bit and listen to something different, or go to a new environment that plays music that’s completely out of your norm.
If you’re experiencing what seems to be a lack of creativity, then create some! Give the brain some music it’s never really written to before, or ideally ever heard. If you have no clue what DubStep is, I would try that. Another thing to do is build an incredibly versatile playlist that goes from one end of the spectrum to the other, constantly changing the atmosphere.
#8: The Almighty Paperclip Method
Take any random object around you like a paperclip and come up with ten strange ways you could use it. The more unusual the better. The point is to be…creative. Ever heard the story of the guy who traded his way up from a paperclip into a new home?
Another method is to begin a series of imaginative events leading from one random item. For example, what could happen if you tossed the paperclip out a window? What if you began to use the computer at a potato masher?
The tastiest morsel of all?
If you head online and Google it, you’ll find almost endless amounts of tips, tricks, methods and strategies to become or get more creative in writing. There are videos, blogs, webinars, open-source classes, ebooks and web-articles galore. One of the best ways to tame creativity, is to have a better understanding of what it is. Today, right now, the answers are at your fingertips.
Leslie Anglesey is an associate professor in the University of Southern California and a contributor to EssayTigers, a company that provides writing tips.