Friday Speak Out!: Combat Creative Blocks with Movement

Friday, October 14, 2022
By Saleema Lookman

The first time someone suggested I “take a break and go for a walk” when I hit a creative wall, it was the last thing I wanted to hear. I was a fresh-faced writer looking for an artistic and innovative way to spark the flow of words, not a boring old stroll. However, as my writing career progressed, I discovered this well-meaning person was actually onto something. Movement can enhance creative thinking, and it’s a method I now use faithfully whenever writer’s block strikes.

Four Movement Methods to Spark Inspiration

Should you find yourself staring at a blank page, try these movement techniques to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • Take a Walk Outside: As my friend suggested, walking can be a great way to step away from the page and into a more creative mindset. A Stanford University study found the act of walking increases creative output by an average of 60 percent. Not to mention, being in nature reportedly boosts inspiration, creative potential, and overall mood. If you cannot walk outside, take a stroll to a window overlooking the outdoors or create your own indoor oasis with houseplants you can wander through.
  • Stretch it Out: Sitting for extended periods can do a number on your creativity as well as your body. Take frequent breaks to engage in stretching. Roll your shoulders back, open your chest, gently let your head fall from side to side, and circle your wrists to reset your posture. Finish with a few deep breaths. Doesn’t that feel better?
  • Get Your Groove on: When was the last time you danced like no one was watching? That time could be now! Put on your favorite song and throw a dance party for one. Not only can the movement spark the flow of words, but the act of playful dancing can also awaken your inner child, who often holds the key to your imagination.
  • Shake it Off: We often associate shaking with cold temperatures or fear, but intentional somatic shaking is a therapy modality that’s quickly increasing in popularity. The shaking movement is said to release tension from the body. To perform shaking, simply let your hands go limp, then shake them out. You can also shake your head, shoulders, hips—whatever feels good to you.

If these forms of movement aren't accessible or don't appeal to you, there are endless other modalities you can explore. Try gardening, resistance bands, hula hooping, yoga, etc. Find a form of movement you enjoy and try it next time you need a spark of inspiration.

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Saleema is a writer, avid journaler, and fitness coach. When she’s not writing pet-focused content for or walking with her dog, she crafts creative non-fiction work for her blog, Fearless Phrases. Saleema aims to help others reclaim their inner creative writer to expand their confidence and impact.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Saleema! I thoroughly believe that my trail runs are great for writer's block. The steady pace and outdoors makes me think about story problems and revision in a different way. Also, weirdly, doing the dishes or showering (and swimming when I had my pool) helped to spark new ideas. Just being in the water does it for me, and it's often where I come up with my first lines/hooks. :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Walking is a huge help. I also do yoga and knit. Something about knitting occupies just enough of my brain. The next thing I know, I have a solution to my writing problem.

Saleema said...

Thanks so much, Angela! Being out on the trails is so therapeutic. And I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about water being a portal of ideas!

Saleema said...

Oh, I love to hear that, Sue!

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