Recapture Your Creative Groove
|Keep your creative flames burning. |
Photo credit: Steve Ryan | Flickr
There are days when I want to tap back into the fun days of not having a deadline. Back to those heady days of uninterrupted creative exploration. The fun pad of paper with colorful doodles and words and the burgeoning idea.
Nowadays, I can hardly find the pad of paper, much less a moment to myself. But when I do carve out some creative time for myself--however fleeting--I need to make the most of it.
Everyone has their own method for retracing steps to their creative self. If you don't have a method, take some time to develop one. When life gets hectic, you'll be glad you did. My method(s) really will depend on what I want to try to create--continue a work-in-progress or write something new?
Here are just a few ways I have used for finding my way back to my creativity and re-igniting before venturing into my non-business writing:
- Use a chore to warm up. Before setting out on my creativity quest, I make sure the area I want to work in is clear of the chaos and confusion of my home (and kids!) Often straightening gives my brain time to engage and helps me prepare for being more creative
- Remove distractions or diversions. I find a place that's not near my computer or phone...too tempting for me to jump into email or answering the phone. Weather permitting, I may even be outside
- Get some paying work out of the way. If I have a lot of time, sometimes I'll pick the hardest business piece I have on my to-do list and and write it. Then I figure I can treat myself with non-business writing and my creativity jumps into the mix
- Light a candle. If I'm inside, I will probably light a candle. Some may see that as an offering to my muse...I just see a candle as something that brings me more in focus and relaxed. Some light music might help set the mood, as well
- Bring along an expert...book. I flip through a favorite creative writing book (or two) and start reading for a few minutes. I stop and find an element, let's say characterization. I'll start writing about a character I have in mind for a few minutes, stop and then write about the character's nemesis or the character's most embarrassing moment
- Make way for the past. I pull out old notebooks or unfinished stories and look at the ideas I've written through the years. More than once I've re-discovered a thread that I can follow to start creating from a long-forgotten original idea.
- Read. When I have time to read for pleasure, I am never far from a pen and paper. Inspiration often strikes when we least expect it
- When all else fails. When I have time, but still can't get in the writing groove, I will take out a page of paper and start to doodle shapes that will often morph into a person or a place. I use that as a starting point and start writing about my drawing on another piece of paper
Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor living in North Carolina. She hopes to finish a client's editing project tonight so she can light a candle and get her creative groove moving.