Written by Emily Harstone November 23rd, 2020

13 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

If you have writer’s block, this list should be helpful. If you don’t have writer’s block, this list should be helpful. If you don’t believe in writer’s block, this list should be helpful.

I am a big believer in this quote by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.

I am not currently a writer that writes daily, but I have been.  I am however a writer that writes regularly, regardless of whether I feel inspired to do so.

One of the interesting things I have discovered over the years is that the writing is generally better if I am feeding my creativity through other ways as well.

Some of these directly interact with writing, others do not. However, all of them should give your writing a new energy, new focus, and new direction.

If you want to strengthen your writing, this is the article for you.

Change Where You Write

Before the COVID-19 pandemic I used to write primarily in coffee shops. Since then I’ve had to get a little more creative. When the weather was warm during the summer, I got a small patio table and moved it around the yard. Now that the colder weather has settled into my city, I’m writing more inside the house.

Sometimes it’s as simple as writing at the kitchen table instead of the sofa, or in my daughters’ bedroom instead of my own.

Whenever I feel persistently stuck, I re-arrange the furniture a little.

At first I thought it would really bother me to not have more flexibility with my workspace, but over time I’ve really adjusted and found options in the relatively small space of our house.

Spend More Time Walking

Ideally this time spent walking will be in nature, maybe even hiking. Actually, any form of exercise is good for getting the blood moving, improving the way your brain functions, and therefore improving your creativity.

A lot of people think of writers as sedentary folks but I can say, based on my personal experience, I have always been most productive in terms of writing when I am also walking a lot.

Change When You Write

If you have always written in the morning, and you now find yourself dreading writing, then, stop. Don’t force yourself to do it. Instead, change the time of day when you write. This is an easy way to get at different material.

Attend a Writer’s Conference

Writer’s conferences can really be one of the best ways to stay motivated, and often they can help you generate a lot of good ideas. Loretta Bolger Wish wrote a great article about this.

Right now during the pandemic it’s very hard to attend one in person but there are lots of good and sometimes even free options that have moved online.

AWP 2021 will be virtual, and so was YALLWrite. If you are interested in a specific conference not listed I would look it up, to see if it is now online.

Take a Writing Class

Sometimes you just need to be encouraged by other writers and be given inspiration and concrete feedback from a teacher. We like to think that we can manage on our own, but for our writing to grow we often need more feedback and a little bit of guidance.

A lot of online writing classes that are cheap to not include in-depth feedback, so keep that in mind when parsing the price.

Some online workshops that are good and include personalized feedback include The Writers Workshop at Authors Publish, The Gotham Writers Workshop, and Fledgling Writing Workshops.

Join a Book Club

Ruth O’Neil wrote a wonderful piece about why every writer should join a book club. Since joining my book club four years ago, my writing has really improved.

Listen to More Music

I love music. In parts of my life I have spent a lot of time listening to it, live and otherwise. However, since having a daughter my time seems to be filled with listening to “not music” (usually her various barnyard sounds), or if music, music she likes. Her favorite song is Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. To give you some context I am more of a rock, indie, folk music person.

However, by deliberately listening to music more, mostly while walking, I’ve really started writing new and interesting things again. I feel a lot less stuck.

Use Writing Prompts

Writing prompts can generate a lot of writing. They can also encourage you to write about things you have never even thought of before. I have had very interesting results from doing a writing prompt about unicorns.

I like to do a timed three-minute prompt most days before writing. I write down a title, start a three-minute timer, and then just write as fast as I possibly can. The results are usually terrible, but afterwards my writing is much better.

Participate in a Writing Challenge

I have written about this before in the article “The Importance Of Writing Challenges”. For more details you can read the article. However, it boils down to this: when you set a challenge for yourself, like writing 30 poems in 30 days, you end up producing a lot of work that you otherwise would not have and you end up writing about things that are new and different for you.

Always Carry a Notebook

If you always have a notebook, no matter what you are doing in your day, you can always write ideas down. My major problem is keeping track of my various notebooks.

Try to Expose Yourself to More Visual Art

Pre COVID I used to go to art galleries and museums frequently. Since lockdown I have still kept up with some of my favorite artists by following them on Instagram, and some of my favorite galleries have made even more art accessible online. Sometimes when I’m feeling a little geographically stuck, I look up a famous museum’s website online and spend a little time “touring it”.

Seek a Collaborator

Sometimes in order to get out of your own head you need to work with someone else. All writers I know that focus on collaborative work do it differently. Some riff off each other’s poems, some trade off chapters in books, others switch back and forth in terms of writing lines of flash fiction. All of these work.

I think the key to a collaboration is starting off small, and then growing it into something bigger. Also go into a collaboration without commitment as the end goal. If it doesn’t work, don’t pursue it. If it does, great.

Make Something Without Words

One of my favorite writers Reyna Grande spends a lot of time making jewelry. Other writers knit or paint. Sometimes it’s very important to explore your creative side through other mediums.

Bio: Caitlin Jans is a poet, novelist, and the editor of Authors Publish Magazine. Her writing can be found in The Conium Review, The Moth, Labletter, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Facebook.


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