jumpstart creativity

7 Ways to Jumpstart Creativity and Overcome Writer’s Block

Ann O'Brien

Ann O'Brien

May 12, 2022

Some days, writing comes easily. You feel inspired as you sit and type or write what feels like an endless flow of words. On other days, you struggle to get out even one sentence. You wonder if you should just give up the whole idea of writing. On those days, writer’s block can get in the way of your productivity. The loss of that creative spark is something every artist faces, but there are ways to overcome it. We’ve rounded up some ideas to overcome writer’s block and to jumpstart creativity.

1. Change Your Environment to Jumpstart Creativity

There’s an old saying that change is as good as a rest. Instead of taking a break from your work, take it to a different location. Some writers find that going to a local library, a quiet park, or an internet cafe is a viable alternative to slogging it out at home. Pack up your laptop, head out, and find a spot with an interesting atmosphere or a relaxing view from the windows. You may find that simple change is all you need to get your ideas flowing again.

2. Spend Some Time Freestyling

Free drawing and freewriting are common tricks among creative people to jumpstart creativity. This type of artistic exercise is known as freestyling, and it can help unlock your artistic side. To freestyle, you simply put pen to paper and write for five minutes. The only rules are that you can’t stop writing for the full five minutes, and you can’t stop while you’re working to edit or correct what you’re doing. Promise yourself you won’t pass any judgment on what you produce. It doesn’t matter what you write. This exercise will spark your writing creativity in just five minutes.

3. Take a Play Break

Sometimes, writer’s block happens when you have too many ideas pressing on your brain. You can let your writing creativity flow by taking off that pressure. If you feel blocked and unable to work, spend 10 to 15 minutes doing something completely unrelated to your work. Choose an activity that’s fun and easy, like a game or a favorite TV show. This will give your mind a break and help clear it. Try not to choose something that will end up being a major distraction, however, or you’ll do the opposite of jumpstarting creativity and end up even further behind.

4. Fight the Resistance to Jumpstart Creativity

Writing coach Steven Pressfield has coined the term “the Resistance” to describe the self-defeating behaviors that afflict every writer. This resistance takes the form of procrastination, self-sabotage, and self-doubt. As he explains it, “You will never, never, achieve your dreams until you learn to recognize, confront, and overcome that voice in your head that is your own resistance.”

How do you fight it? Here are some ideas other writers have used:

  • Slow down. You may feel a rush to get your writing project done, but it’s better to pace yourself. Conserve your energy to keep going for the long haul.
  • Feel free to write badly. Judgment and self-doubt will kill your creative spark. Allow yourself to write badly, and watch the words flow.
  • Get some motivation. Motivational speakers aren’t just for athletes and salespeople. When you need a bolt of inner energy, listen to these inspiring speakers, or read some writing by well-known coaches. Their words will inspire you to stick with your writing.

5. Establish a Routine

You may think that a routine will stifle your writing creativity, but that’s not the case. It’s a way to stay focused and make writing a habit. A solid routine will help you sit down and write despite writer’s block.

How do you create a good writing routine? Here are some ideas, but remember, the same routines won’t work for every writer. Adapt them to what works for you, which may be different from what works for others.

  • Set daily goals. Most successful writers set a certain number of words as their daily goals. This is a useful, practical measure, but there are others. Some writers set a goal of a certain number of hours of focused, intense writing rather than a word count. Others choose the ability to perfect a scene each day. Choose the metrics that matter to you.
  • Make time to write. If you must fit your writing around a day job and other responsibilities, you may find yourself writing in short snatches of time. This is better than nothing, but it’s much better to set aside a specific block of time each day to write. Just as you schedule other things in your life, you can schedule this. Always make time to jumpstart creativity.
  • Create a dedicated space. You may not be able to afford the luxury of a whole office, but you can probably find a table or a small desk that becomes your writing corner. It should be a comfortable spot that’s free from distractions to help jumpstart creativity.
  • Make your coffee. What do you need to get started each morning or afternoon when you write? Some writers make a fresh cup of coffee part of their routine. Others like to take a brisk walk, listen to music, or meditate as part of their routine.

Why is routine important? It can train your brain to be ready to write as soon as you complete your rituals and sit down. In his book “On Writing,” Stephen King describes drinking a cup of tea or water and organizing his desk a certain way every morning:

“The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, ‘You’re going to be dreaming soon.’ It’s not any different than a bedtime routine. Do you go to bed a different way every night?”

6. Meditation Can Help Jumpstart Creativity

Have you ever tried meditation? Many people start their day with it, and they find it helps them stay calm and focused. Mediation combined with yoga and other mindful practices are valuable to everyone, and they’re particularly helpful for creative people. Meditation will help you defeat writer’s block with mental clarity.

In her book “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within,” Natalie Goldberg describes several ideas inspired by Zen meditation to inspire all writers. Goldberg stresses the importance of daily practice.

One of her exercises involves playing with nouns and verbs to spark your playfulness. Here’s how to do it.

  • Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half.
  • On one half, write down 10 nouns. They can be anything, and they don’t have to be related in any way.
  • Turn the page over, and think of an occupation or job. Write down 10 verbs that go with that job.
  • When you open your paper, you’ll see 10 nouns connected to 10 verbs. Make them into sentences, even if it seems hard at first.

This exercise helps you use verbs in fresh ways that you might not otherwise have thought of. It can also help you see nouns in new ways. Try it, and watch your writing creativity soar.

7. Go Back to What You Love

Are you trying to force yourself to write about something you don’t really care about? Sometimes, you have to do that to pay the bills, but don’t put constraints on your creative writing. Some writers feel they must write about certain subjects because they’re popular with readers or because they’re the latest trend. Instead of forcing yourself to write about certain subjects, heed these wise words from Walter Farley, author of “The Black Stallion” and other bestselling books:

“I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking, ‘What have I achieved?’ rather than ‘What have I enjoyed?’ I’ve been writing about a subject I love for as long as I can remember–horses and the people associated with them, anyplace, anywhere, any time. I couldn’t be happier knowing that young people are reading my books. But even more important to me is that I’ve enjoyed so much the writing of them.”

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We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips to overcome writer’s block and jumpstart creativity. At Publishing Xpress, we specialize in helping writers look their best in print. To get an estimate of our affordable book printing services, use our online calculator.

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