Creativity is the life force of writing. It’s what makes readers feel alive, and is what captures and keeps their attention. Without creativity there would be no stories. So, what happens when creativity suddenly refuses to strike?
Writers can’t write.
They must find a way to reinvigorate themselves, or their work will come out feeling stilted and forced.
How do writers recover from a dry spell? Over the years, I’ve picked up a lot of different ways from a number of writers.
- Free write. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Verbal vomit, in many ways, can lead to new ideas, even if the free writing itself isn’t all that great.
- Gain a writing persona. Create a separate writing personality, someone other than you to write for a bit. Your hands will still be doing the typing, but you’ll be on a beach somewhere, while your persona gets the creative juices flowing.
- Learn something. Pick up gardening, astronomy, cooking, yoga, Russian, anything that might interest you. Read a few textbooks too. The more you learn, the more information you have to create from.
- Meet someone new. Each new person you interact with comes from a different background, and has a unique perspective. Never been far away from home? Go someplace utterly different and strike up a conversation.
- Keep a journal with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike. Perhaps the sun glinting off a rusty sign, or a man weaving straw hats on the boardwalk, can be used as part of a scene.
- Time yourself. Give yourself a set amount of time to focus on writing. It can be fifteen minutes a day, or thirty minutes every other day.
- Get outside. Yes, allergies can be a pain in the butt, but being outside can breathe creativity back into you. Go for a hike or a jog, or find a bench by a river and people watch. Heck, stare at the way the sun highlights the green in the trees’ leaves.
- Be in the zone. This term is usually applied to athletes, but it works great for writing too. When you’re writing, focus all your attention on writing. In fact, with whatever you’re doing be in the moment, whether it’s reading a book, washing the dishes, or participating in a conversation.
- Be open to everything. Judgment hinders creativity because it limits how you view the world. There’s a reason the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” has stuck around.
- Screw it. Not everything is going to always work out perfectly. There will be roadblocks, hiccups, and mountains. Recognizing this will allow you to move past the traffic jam. One of the great aspects of writing is that you can go back later and edit, so let a chaotic mess crash all over the page. Who knows, something great may come of it.
Have more ideas? Post them in the comments section
(Photo courtesy of subflux.)