Ways to Jumpstart your Creativity
By: Anne Marie Lutz
It’s not uncommon for writers to have ups and downs in their level of creativity.
Maybe you can’t come up with any good story ideas. Maybe you feel like your work-in-progress is missing something essential, and you can’t decide where to go from there. Maybe you’re in a place where you can’t start that next story at all.
This has happened to me — sort of a lot! Usually, for me it means there’s something wrong in my story that I haven’t identified yet. My subconscious mind knows something’s not right, but I don’t know what the problem is. So, I stall out.
In general, it’s good to put myself in a different physical place, or do things a little differently so that I can *see* things a little differently. That helps spark new ideas. Here are some ways I do that.
- Take a long walk, preferably in a green place. Something about walking in nature frees the mind. Lots of writers have depended on walking to stimulate their creativity and help them sort out their thoughts.
- Do something different! Some of my story ideas have come from vacations — the worldbuilding for my Color Mage novels started with a trip to the Outer Banks. — Can’t take a vacation? Try visiting a park you’ve never been to, or an art gallery, or a historical building. Conservatories are great for this, usually quiet and full of greenery.
- Look at things a little differently. If you’re working on a story, try changing things by opening it in a different application, changing the format, or printing it out. Try writing longhand.
- Use your creativity differently. Try getting your phone or a camera and going out to take some unusual pictures. Maybe do some creative cooking that you don’t have to do, draw or paint. These things could spark some new ideas.
- If you’re actually stuck in the middle of a story, try introducing something different – something not in the plan! A new character, or a decisive event like a wild card in your story. This could start up some new ideas.
- Be careful not to let your own productivity goals kill your creativity. For example, the pressure of a daily word-count goal sometimes hurts the quality of my writing, or stops me in my tracks. I find it works better (for me) to shoot for completing just the next scene, or finishing a chapter for example.
The most successful thing for me has been walking. It’s the best thing I do for my writing! But these things have all worked for me at one point or another. If you’re temporarily stuck, I hope you find value in some of these ideas, or ideas other writers have used to jumpstart their creativity. There are a lot of ideas out there.
In any case, try not to let a temporary drought hang on too long! If writing is what you want to do, keep at it. And as always, good luck!
About the Author:
Anne Marie Lutz is the author of three fantasy novels and several short stories. Her newest novel, Taylenor, was released just this month, and is available in Kindle or paperback editions.