“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein
We’ve all had those moments when we feel like our muse is on vacation and our creative juices just aren’t flowing. As my friend and mentor Rob Gilbert often says, “You’re not lacking creativity, you’re blocking it.”
What to do, what to do? A few creativity-boosting strategies can help you break out of your rut and think differently:
Make unlikely connections: A hallmark of creativity is the ability to make surprising links between ideas and things. Just think of some of the wonderful similes you’ve read. As this suggests, one of the best ways to stretch your mind and shake out the cobwebs is to find connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. Just think about the different ways kids use a cardboard box — as a spaceship, a lemonade stand, a log cabin, a clubhouse. One simple way to challenge yourself to creatively connect the dots is to pick three words randomly from a newspaper or a dictionary and spend 15 minutes writing a story about them. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with.
Come up with a new angle: Changing your perspective can be a fruitful way to jog yourself out of the creative doldrums. If you’re writing a novel, for example, you might rewrite a scene from your antagonist’s point of view instead of your hero or heroines. Or you might play devil’s advocate and try to talk one of you characters out of taking an action and see how he or she responds. You might also find inspiration by having an inanimate object or a creature without a voice share its view of what’s unfolding.
Switch gears: Sometimes all we need to get our creative juices flowing is a mental coffee break — a pause that refreshes. Since we work with words all day, grabbing some crayons or colored pencils and drawing free hand or in one of those new adult coloring books can be relaxing and reenergizing. If you’re a logical left-brainer, try daydreaming and see where it takes you; if you’re a right-brain intuitive, solving a complex puzzle can help your creative juices start flowing.
Creativity is a bottomless well, just waiting to be tapped: The more we draw from it, the more there is to draw from. Are there any creativity boosting techniques you’ve found especially helpful during a dry patch? Feel free to share them as we all write on!
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