For any human being that does things, what’s worse than being stuck in a process, not knowing what to do next? Well, maybe the death of your mother, for example. Yeah, that’s way worse. But if you pose the same question to a writer, an artist or anyone who actually depends on their creativity to make a living, they might take a little longer to answer.
Being stuck sucks.
So here are 5 unusual things I like to do when my creative juices need a refill:
1. Roam Around/ Take A Walk:
As creatives, it is quite common and normal that we at times feel stuck in the creative process. We stare at the blank page/canvas/screen for hours on end, trying to will that masterpiece into existence. Not really working, is it? In these times of suffering, all we need is to do, sometimes, is put our stuff away, get up and get out to breathe some fresh air.
Taking a walk in the evening – preferably in the beautiful hours before sunset – works like magic for the mind. Forget about your WIP for now, and take in the beauty of nature being displayed before your eyes. Observe the people around you as you walk down the streets. Really bring yourself to the present. Notice what your fellow humans are doing and saying. Imagine yourself as this disembodied observer, floating around like a wisp, doing nothing but observing. This momentary detachment from your big, bad, busy world will give your mind the reset that it needs to get back to being creative.
Do this the next time you feel stuck. There’s a good chance you will return to your desk with a fresh perspective and a head full of new ideas.
2. Listen To Music:
Listening to music can have varying effects on people. It depends on what type of music you listen to. Sad songs will probably make you feel gloomy, hip hop songs will hype you up, and so on. So what type of music should you listen to in order to increase your creativity?
Well, there are a number studies out there that suggest that listening to classical music does awesome things to your cognitive functioning. Especially Mozart. There’s this theory called the Mozart Effect, and it claims that listening to Mozart makes you smarter and more creative. I don’t know if this is scientifically accurate, because the scientific community is sort of split into two when it comes to this topic. Some say it’s legit, some say it’s a myth. It doesn’t really matter to me. I like listening to classical music anyway (These teens don’t listen to Billie Eilish because they hope it will make them smarter!).
Another thing that I like to do is listen to music that reflects the mood of my work in progress. For example, if I’m working on a short mystery fiction, I’ll go ahead and blast some scooby-dooby mystery type track on my speaker. It brings me deeper into the mood, into the feels. I like to do this as I’m working and also while taking a break.
So try it out, if you haven’t already. It’s great fun.
3. Sketch Or Journal Using A Pen:
Carry a notebook wherever you go. Just do it. This is what Leonardo Da Vinci used to do, and it is what led to some of his greatest works. As you roam around observing nature, record your observations. Describe the things you see and feel.
What does the cafe you’re currently at smell like? What is the color of the sky as you’re looking at it through the window? You’re not necessarily going to look back at your notebook later. This journal is not some divine tome of ideas where you’re going to draw inspiration from in the future. It’s more about exercising your creativity muscle. Letting it get to work.
Sketch out the scene in the cafe. Recreate its interior architecture. Do a rough sketch of the dog over there, bathing in the sun. Or that lady in the red car, fixed in the passenger’s seat like a statue. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece level of art that you will go on to sell for a million dollars, and it won’t. Make it ugly and messy. Be free, play around with it. There’s something about journaling and sketching using pen and paper that really fuels your creativity in a way computer screens don’t.
4. Watch Mind-Twisting Movies:
I’m talking movies like Inception, Shutter Island, Interstellar – basically anything Christopher Nolan makes. The guy is a genius. But seriously though, there are plenty of movies out there that could very well cook your brain up. Movies that are sure to make you think. Find these movies, and watch them.
Movies are direct and can evoke heavy emotions out of you in a very short amount of time. Inspiration comes through emotions, positive or negative. A lot of the times when we lack motivation to do creative work, it’s because we are dry on emotions. So go watch a movie that you know will make you sad, or happy, or excited, or dreamy – whatever. The key is that it should make you feel something, and you feel it heavily.
5. Read Poetry:
Reading poetry is something I wish I had started earlier in my life. I used to hate poetry in school. To me, poetry was nothing more than a boring, complicated pack of words designed solely to ruin your English scores. Yeah, I hate the young me; what a total loser.
Poetry is a portal into the minds of the wisest and most creative people that have ever existed. Poetry is spiritual, poetry is deep. Not everyone is going to connect to the fun of getting lost in words and deep concepts, but blessed are the ones who do. Poetry allows you to feel. It can bring you to elevated points of observation, from where you can get this new, magical perspective of the world. You can get high on poetry!
There’s also strong research that suggests that long term exposure to poetry is associated with creativity. But when you read poetry, don’t just read it like an elementary kid that’s learning to pronounce words. Don’t just read it for the sake of improving your creativity. It’s not gonna work. For poetry to have meaningful effects on your brain, you’re gonna have to learn to enjoy it. To really think on it.
How to read poetry:
Think about what the poet is trying to say. Look for the line in the poem that resonates with you. Is there something you can relate to? Did the poem describe an emotion or feeling that you’ve known all so well? Do you agree with what the poem is saying? And you don’t have to keep reading poems you hate. Find poets you love, and dig into their stuff. Make notes on what you read. Discuss your favorite poems with your friends. It’s a fun, enjoyable and enriching process once you get the hang of it.
These are some of my favorite creativity lotions I like to apply when I’m feeling a little dry. What do you like to do to fuel your creativity?
Share them in the comments!