Friday, 8 June 2012

Ten Ways To Get Your Creative Groove Back

Being creatively blocked is unpleasant.

It can happen for a number of reasons.  Perhaps, for one, you've spent a busy semester bogged down in the theoretical side of literature and have been too busy to actually write some.  On the other hand, you might have gone into holiday mode and decided that, yes, it is okay to get up when your alarm goes off, shower, then hop back into bed in your dressing gown to finish a really good book.  And then sometimes, the muse just doesn't show up for work.

When it comes to your passion, or your deadline, or your goals, you have to work anyway.

So here are a few tricks and tips to help you get your creative groove back.

1. Meditate on ideas in the shower. Or while doing the dishes.  Or walking the dog.   Get away from your writing space or your desk.  Do something easy and let your mind flow free.  Come back when you feel like you've got something and scribble it down.

2. Stay up late.  Some of our best ideas come when we are tired.  It doesn't matter if they don't make sense... you can edit later.  Just make sure you don't have to get up early the next morning!

3. Study your craft.  Read books that are similar in genre and idea.  Read books that you wish you'd written.  Read books about writing.  Attend lectures or talks on writing.  Go to a writers festival.  Being around words and people who are passionate about writing should fuel your fire again.

4. Live.  Art should imitate life, not the other way around.  They say to write what you know, but what if you haven't tried anything new lately?  Maybe it's time to take a plunge.

5.   Write something else.  One author, I think it was Asimov, used to set himself up with a multitude of typewriters, each one containing the progress on a different story.  When he got blocked with one story, he'd move his chair across to the next machine and pick up on that.  Don't feel like just because one story isn't working, you can't write.

6. Try creating something different. Got something you want to say but the words won't come out?  Try drawing it.  Use stick figures, scribbles, coloured crayons.  It only has to make sense to you.  Try writing a song.  Try communicating through interpretive dance.  Try making a cake that only your main character would make.

7. Explain yourself.  Pretend your story is finished and you're trying to sell it.  Get someone you trust, or have a dog or cat play the publisher, and sit them down to talk about the plot.  If it starts sounding silly to you, it probably is.  If it doesn't make sense then you've probably left out something important.  Writing groups are also great places for this.

8. Dress for the job.  Just because writing is a job that you can do from home doesn't mean you always have to do it in your pyjamas.  Try dressing in an outfit that makes you feel successful.  Do your hair, wash your face, even wear shoes.  Pretend you've gone to your office and you're rostered on to work until a set time.  And go.

9. Get off Facebook.  I don't realise sometimes how addicted to Facebook I am until I step back and realise it's the first thing I do most mornings.  I should change my routine.  Perhaps the first thing I should do in the morning is write.  When you're creating, if you find that every time you hit a road block you switch the the Facebook window and hit refresh, perhaps therein lies your problem.  Try switching off the wireless connectivity on your laptop for while and see if this helps.

10. Quit while you're ahead.  No silly, I don't mean go out and get a day job or anything.  If you're on a roll with your writing, stop at an allotted time anyway, and note down where you were going to take it next so you have somewhere to start tomorrow.  (Idea thanks to Leon.)

How do you overcome creative block to get your groove back?


  1. I loved this post. I thought it had some really greats tips.

    I decided to feature it in my weekly musing. :)


  2. Thank you very much Amber-Rose :) I look forward to seeing that.

  3. This was really an interesting topic and I kinda agree with what you have mentioned here! here


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