Recapture Your Creative Groove

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Keep your creative flames burning.
Photo credit: Steve Ryan | Flickr
I consider my writing and editing a business. Unfortunately, some days my business leaves me with a puff of smoke and not a creative spark. Low inspiration can be difficult to overcome, unless you have a method (or two) to trot out.

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 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
You want to write, right? So get out of your creative slump and jump into your creativity. There are so many ways to connect with your creativity, what do you? If you don't have a way to connect with your creativity, do you plan to develop one? 

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.


Sioux Roslawski said...


I sometimes will knit for a while. The sameness of the hand movements leaves my mind free to jet off into creative directions.

I too like to doodle, but I've found something that takes doodling to the next level. "Zentangle." If anyone is a doodler and types that in during a computer search, they'll get the inspiration for really rich doodles. The intricate nature of it, the variety--I find it a welcome (and effective) break from writing because afterwards, I'm rejuvenated and ready to return.

Thanks for the post, Elizabeth. We are always in need of ways to harness the muse.

Unknown said...

One of my favorite ways to recharge my creativity is to take my camera and go for a hike. It doesn't have to be long, depending on how much time I have. I get exercise, fresh air, and a bit of play time as I focus on the details I see around me, frame them, take some back home with me.

If I can't get out and do that, I cook.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Lately when I've been having problems with a creative project I'm working on, I'll hop on my motorcycle and go for a ride in the hills that overlook the ocean. Talk about an adrenaline rush! I just got my bike out of the shop after more than a couple years of sitting, so it's a new, exciting feeling again. Every fiber of your body is alert and in tune with your surroundings when you're riding that when I come back I'm able to see things differently. This helps a lot with my art projects.

For writing, I too turn to the experts and read a good book or magazine to gain inspiration. It puts me in that word space again. Sometimes I do dishes, hike or cook (like Minnesota Writer said), and sometimes I dance, or play with my new cat. I even take her for a walk outside! :)

I like your idea of lighting a candle. I like to drink wine and listen to classical music to get in the mood as well.

Thanks for the ideas! I think I'll do something creative today.

Marcia Peterson said...

I've used almost all of your ideas--that's a great list.

Another thing I sometimes do is make a collage from a stack of old magazines. Pictures, colors, words and phrases, whatever. Seems to get me in a creative mood.

Margo Dill said...

I wish I could say I do something as exciting as ride a motorcycle. . .LOL. . .but I think fresh air helps tremendously. I try taking my dog and my daughter for a walk or bike ride. It helps! :)

BECKY said...

Love, love, love your ideas! I've even used a few of them myself, so I guess I've been doing something right!

Anonymous said...

I've never thought to light a candle or make an offering to my muse. Maybe I should! I do, however, like to browse old notebooks. Sometimes I'm so astounded at the ideas I put down but never developed. It definitely gives me a jumpstart.

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