7 Hacks to Unleash Creative Thinking (When Writers Need It Most)

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7 hacks to unleash creative thinking (when writers need it most). Makealivingwriting.com

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.

7 hacks to unleash creative thinking (when writers need it most)

47 Comments

  1. Rene

    Write quickly and write messy – these advice were given to me long time ago.

    Write a little bit faster than your thought formation, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. Messy handwriting is welcome. What do you think of it?

  2. Amar kumar

    Hey Carol,

    Our brains need to be relaxed in proper interval of time, to create new connections and neural pathways. Most of us find it hard to think out of the box is because our brains are just too darn efficient. Logic is always our default go to tool when coming up with ideas, even though the best ones often emerge from intuition and association. Exercise also helps us to perform better cognitively, improving creative thought. Eventually, thanks for sharing your healthy experience with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  3. Hailey

    Great ideas! Several years ago I read a book that advised you to “write junk” whenever you get stuck. “My thumb itches, and I’m getting hungry. I wonder if it will rain today. The sky looks quite overcast.” It can be whatever comes into your mind–the idea is just to keep the words flowing somehow!

    • Nina Amir

      Yes,that strategy works for many people, Haily. I prefer to try not to write junk…but I don’t want to stress myself, which could cause my creativity to diminish. So I just start writing and don’t worry about if it is good or not. Usually it is good…but if I tell myself to “write junk” that’s what I produce.

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