Lost your creative mojo?
We’ve all been there - that moment of panic when the blank page stares back at you, and you realise you’ve got absolutely nothing. As an author, creativity is…well... critical, which is why I do most of my writing in the morning when I’m at my best. I usually peak around lunchtime and then do the less demanding stuff, such as admin, in the afternoons. But what happens when you’re on a deadline and don’t have the luxury to choose? Sometimes, the deadline itself will incite the fire in me needed to finish the job but otherwise, I resort to a few of the below to get the most creativity out of my writing day.
1. Meet other creatives
In any major city you’ll find a cafe, or a funky workspace filled with creatives. The atmosphere is lively, the coffee is flowing, and the entrepreneurial energy is palpable. You’d be hard pressed not to come up with something brilliant in such an environment. Soak it all up, have a quick chat with your neighbour, and then get down to business. The ideas will be flowing in no time. As Maya Angelou said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
2. Ask questions
So often when writing a book, it’s easy to become obsessed with a plot point or a particular character that’s not quite working. I’ll spend hours ruminating over a particular issue hoping for a lightning bolt of inspiration and then I'll check the clock and discover I haven’t written a single word. Or worse, I’ve opened up a web browser and got distracted by cat videos. Instead of ruminating (read - panicking), try asking open-ended questions such as: "How can I make this character better? How can I make this plot point more impactful? "Who -- or what -- can help me?" Your unconscious mind will seek to find the answers when you use specific but open-ended questions.
3. Start the day right
There are some days when I sit down in my office at 8:30 in the morning feeling stressed before the work has even begun. Getting up late, rushing the kids their breakfast, getting them organised for whatever activity it is that day, debating whether I have time to exercise (I don’t), grabbing some breakfast to eat in the car – it’s not exactly conducive to a creative mind. But when my youngest began sleeping through the night, I decided I would get up 45 minutes before the kids and write a journal or writing prompt. Just having a little quiet time has made a huge difference to my creativity and in those early hours, I’ll often come up with unexpected ideas. Plus, I get to drink my coffee in peace. Bonus.
4. Change your environment
I love my office and have designed it exactly as I want it but when you spend so much time in one place it’s easy to become bored which is why I regularly change it around. Nothing major, perhaps just move the desk to a different area or add a new picture. Even just playing some different music can add a different vibe. The danger with this one is that it can also be a major procrastinator so if you find yourself rearranging your office for the third time that week, it might be wise to put the brakes on and get back to work.
5. Disconnect (and take a nap)
When all else fails, and you really have tried your best to get a thousand words down on paper, it might be time to disconnect. Even just a 45-minute break can help when you make the conscious decision to close down the document, clear your mind, put all your devices away, and close your eyes. Disconnecting from your work (and other distractions) will allow you to relax so instead of chasing the big idea, you can let the creativity come to you. Preferably in a dream while you are sleeping.
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