No matter how much you love writing, or doing any type of creative work for that matter, it doesn’t always come easy. It’s inevitable – there will be times when your creative juices simply don’t flow. What do you do then? We have a few ideas.
Just beat it
Sometimes the way to get your creative juices flowing is to simply force them to flow. How? We recently outlined a few tips on Beating Writer’s Block that might help you out.
Of course, sometimes the problem isn’t writer’s block, but rather, a lack of ideas. This is when it might be a good idea to put down your pen and paper or walk away from your computer. Just remember to follow our next tip.
Jot everything down
Ideas can pop into your head any time – in the shower, at the theater, during your daily commute, or even in your dreams. You don’t know if any of them will be good, but one thing we know for sure is that you won’t remember all of them when you finally sit down to write something. However, if you jot all your ideas down in a notebook you’re less likely to let your great ideas slip away.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to a notebook. You can also use a tape recorder, loose scraps of paper (some great ideas have been sketched out on paper napkins), or anything handy. You can also take advantage of technology by typing notes on your phone or using a voice recording app.
Grab some shuteye
Have you been cranking away at your computer all night? Chances are your creative juices aren’t flowing very well now. Give your mind (and your body) a rest. After a nap, or better yet, a full night of sleep, you should be able to concentrate better and get into a creative groove. Of course, don’t forget to keep your notebook by your bed in case an idea pops up in your sleep.
Sweat it out
Sometimes, it isn’t lack of sleep that cramps your creativity, but stress. Try hitting the gym, going for a jog, shooting some hoops, or doing whatever you want to get a good sweat going. Physical exercise is a great way to combat stress. It can help you clear your mind, and it’s good for your body too.
Go for a swim
We’re not suggesting you jump in a pool (though that’s a good idea too – see the previous point). Instead, we suggest immersing yourself in your topic. If, for example, you write a blog for stay at home moms, try playing with your kids (or your nieces and nephews), or whipping up a meal for your family. When you’re immersed in something, there’s a good chance you can find inspiration for your writing.
Go elsewhere for inspiration
Immersion is one way to get some ideas, but another way is to get as far away as possible from what you’re writing about. You can follow our previous suggestions and try sweating it out or grabbing some shut eye, but you can also get out and do other things.
Do something that relaxes you. Try going for a drive (this usually works for me, but I wish I could bill clients for the gas), mowing your lawn, or even taking a shower. You can also try something stimulating, like watching a movie or TV show, browsing through magazines, listening to some music, or even surfing the net.
Whether you choose something relaxing or something stimulating, when you get back to your desk, you can look at your writing from a fresh perspective.
Read, read, read
We think reading is a good idea, whether or not you’re having trouble writing. When you read a lot, you get a sense of what works, and what doesn’t; in other words, just by reading a lot, you also become a better writer.
Reading can also inspire you to write yourself. Try reading a few passages from your favorite authors, and just maybe, some of their energy (and hopefully talent too) rubs off on you.
We can’t (and won’t) claim that this is an exhaustive list of ways to find inspiration, but we think we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Still, we’d like to know how you find inspiration when you’re running short on writing ideas. Please share some of your own tips, tricks, and suggestions with us by leaving a comment. We’re looking forward to your input.