You’re on deadline. You must finish your article on time. That’s when your creative thinking decides to take a leave of absence. And it does so with no notice.
You’re stuck. You have to write, but you just stare at the computer screen and your fingers do not move.
Every writer has been in this situation. But knowing you aren’t alone won’t help you finish your piece and turn it in on schedule.
These seven creativity hacks will, though.
1. Get out of the box
A recent study showed that people who sit outside a box—literally—have out-of-the-box ideas. The odd location stimulated their creativity.
Even if you don’t usually write in a box (cardboard or cubicle), work somewhere different. Go to a coffee shop, your porch, or another room. Or try sitting on the floor with your back against your office door.
2. Engage in a creative endeavor
Do something (other than writing) that encourages your creativity to show up. Researchers have found that a side project makes you more creative in other areas of your life—like writing.
I know you are on deadline, but make the time—even 15 minutes—to garden, draw, make jewelry, create videos, or write a poem, for example. You’ll return to your article with new creative energy and focus.
3. Listen to music
Listening to music helps stir your creative juices because it stimulates the right side of the brain while you use the left side of your brain to write. A whole-brain approach improves creativity.
Some people like upbeat music, others like something softer. Mozart has been proven to tap into your creative abilities as well as your ability to focus.
4. Change your position
Most writers spend their time sitting at a desk in front of a computer. To enhance your creativity, change your position. For instance, work lying down or reclining. Researchers discovered that people solve problems more quickly when lying down rather than sitting up.
If that doesn’t work, stand up and write. Writing on your feet is good for your health, and being upright while writing generates new ideas, focus, and creative energy.
5. Move your body
Sitting at a desk for hours trying to meet a deadline is not a super way to stimulate creativity—or circulation, for that matter. Instead, stand up every 30 to 60 minutes.
Then move your body. Dance, do yoga or tai chi, take a short walk, or march in place. Do some deep breathing exercises on your break if you aren’t exercise inclined.
The point is to get some oxygen to your brain. It can’t deliver brilliant creative thinking if you don’t oxygenate it periodically.
6. Get visual
Writers can spend too much time using the left side of their brain, especially if they are working on projects that require analysis. To stimulate creativity, engage the right side of the brain in solving your project problems visually.
For instance, use a mind map to plan out your article or a troublesome section of your project. Get some crayons or colored pencils and draw a picture related to the place in your current project where you feel stuck. See what ideas pop into your head in the process.
7. Do something mindless
When you aren’t focused on your writing project—or on anything in particular, new ideas bubble forth. That’s why you get ideas in the shower, while vacuuming or walking.
Take a fifteen-minute break and do something mindless. Allow your mind to wander, and pay attention to the thoughts that float through your mind when it is unfocused.
One or more of these strategies are sure to entice creative thinking back into your workspace. And you’ll know what to do the next time your creativity walks away when you need it most.
What do you do to stimulate your creativity? Leave a comment and let us know.
Nina Amir is an Amazon bestselling author of such books as How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual and Creative Visualization for Writers. She’s the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Learn more at www.ninaamir.com or find her books at www.booksbyninaamir.com.