This year has flown by — can you believe it’s already October? — and as we approach the holidays, many writers will soon find themselves struggling to keep up their regular workflows. Between all the gift-giving, meal cooking, and school–holiday–concert attending, it can be hard to find time to be creative. But you don’t need to let yourself fall into a creative slump.
If you’re feeling out of your element this fall, don’t beat yourself up: you’re not alone. You just have to put in some extra effort to get those creative juices flowing!
To help, I’ve compiled five of my best methods for inspiring creativity in your daily routine. Let’s get right into it!
1. Try Morning Pages
The concept of “Morning Pages” was first developed by Julia Cameron, a successful writer and filmmaker who knows a thing or two about creativity.
The idea is simple: keep a journal at your bedside. Each morning, as soon as you wake up, fill three pages in this journal with pure stream-of-consciousness free-writing. That’s it! You can write your dreams, your plans for the day, or anything else that’s on your mind when you wake up.
Of course, while the process is far from complicated, the habit can actually be pretty tough to stick to until you get into the routine.
You can expect to be uncomfortable at first — after all, at that time in the morning, you’ll probably be tired, with little-to-no coherent thoughts and illegible handwriting. You may even end up writing, “I have no idea what to write,” thirty times over the course of your three pages. But as Cameron says on her site, there are no rules.
“Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page,” she writes. “And then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Everyone I’ve ever met who did Morning Pages said that it not only improved their writing and creativity, but it also helped reduce their stress throughout the day — and some of them even reported sleeping better.
2. Carry a notebook around
How often does inspiration strike, but you have no method of helping yourself remember it? If the answer is more often than not, then you need to start carrying a notebook with you!
Write down story ideas, character descriptions, or even spur-of-the-moment flash fiction pieces in this little notebook. Think Harriet The Spy: everything you see that could be used in your WIP (or even a future story) is worth writing down. Being able to write whenever the mood strikes and wherever you are is a blessing that you should be taking advantage of!
Are you spending so much time writing that you’ve forgotten how much you love to read? Don’t let this happen to you. Get back to the books! Take a much-needed trip to a local bookstore and peruse the shelves until you find something you like, then read and repeat.
Reading others’ stories won’t just help you improve your grammar and natural story-telling abilities, but it may also inspire your own writing — which is exactly your goal.
4. Take time each day to unwind
Nothing stifles your creative abilities like stress — so avoid it! Unwind at the end of each day by spending a little time with yourself. You can write about your day in a journal (perhaps your Morning Pages notebook?), or even just talk about it with your family or significant other.
Schedule a little personal R&R each day as well. Taking a warm bath or shower or practicing meditation can be great practices for passionate creatives who just need to clear their heads. Find what works for you, and stick with it!
Yes, this means leaving your phone and laptop on your desk, and turning off the TV. These all suck the creativity right out of you! Here’s why:
Your creativity comes from a part of your brain that just can’t function when distracted. So when the dings and flashes of these devices are coming at you from every angle, you’re letting them suck your creative juices right out of you!
If you want to create a story out of thin air, then you need to clear your head, and that means unplugging and letting ideas come to you the natural way — not via social media.
At the end of the day, we all know that we can’t wait for inspiration to strike to start writing. After all, we have mouths to feed! But when writer’s block hits and you don’t feel motivated to write, these strategies can help remind you why you got into the art of stringing words together in the first place.
What do you do when you’re struggling to feel creative?
Share with us in the comments so we can all be inspired!