7 ways to boost your creativity
1. Be a child
One of the biggest lessons my children have taught me is how to play. To them, there is a world of magic and adventure in our garden. They look at a fallen leaf and see a fairy boat to be floated on our pond. The space behind a tree, hidden from the path, is a hiding place for mythical beasties. Even an oddly shaped cloud is a dragon flying in for a visit.
As adults going through the daily grind, we often spend so much time concentrating on the tasks ahead of us that we forget to look at the possibilities around us. Next time you have a moment to spare, take a look at the world through the eyes of the child that you once were.
2. Turn your hand to a different artistic skill
If you're a writer, try drawing or painting. If you're a painter, try singing or playing a musical instrument. If you're a musician, try to sculpt with clay. Just because you seek success in one artistic area, doesn't mean that you can't try your hand at another. I love writing but when my muse evades me, I turn to drawing with pastels or jewellery making. Changing tack creatively in this way often finds me returning to my writing with new ideas.
3. Be fearless
This is another lesson that I've learnt from my children. So often fear and self doubt keep us from even trying something. We doubt our talent or possibilities at success. How could anyone possibly take me seriously? Who am I kidding? We sabotage ourselves before we've begun.
My children don't care if they don't get a dance move right first time. They draw and sing to have fun. Write first for yourself and your own enjoyment. Be fearless. Just do it.
If ever you needed an excuse to clean your house or file those bank statements, here it is. When ideas just will not come, when your character becomes tongue-tied and your narrative loses its oomph, stop. Step away from the keyboard (or pen and paper) and do something mundane that requires little thought. Weeding is probably the best task for me in this situation. I switch off and attack the wee green invaders in my garden. Nine times out of ten, rebooting my imagination in this way allows my mind to reconsider my writing.
5. People Watch
I'm not suggesting anything illegal or covert here. No binoculars please. What I am suggesting is this. Take yourself out of the house (or office) to a place where you can innocently (and in a socially acceptable manner) watch people as they pass by. It could be a park, your local high street or a cafe. Now try to work out where the people might be going? Furthermore, ask yourself why? What are they called? What are the details of their life - married, childless, a grandparent? If they're in a bad mood, then what caused it? A word of warning though: please, don't follow them. In this country, that is called 'stalking'.
6. Move to a different location
If your writing location isn't serving you (or is even hindering the creative flow), then move your writing plot to somewhere else. It can be as easy as moving from the study to your bedroom where the light is different and you can see the trees in the garden. With a little more effort, you can take a pen and pad to a local cafe or the park. A new location can throw a drastically different light on your writing and provide new inspiration.
7. Write with pen and paper
Finally, if the computer screen continues to glare at you blankly, why not switch it off (after saving anything you have written - even if it's only the title). Grab a pen or pencil and a pad and try to write the old fashioned way. I find writing like this encourages me to write more freely than if I'm typing and discourages me from editing until the end.