It’s one thing to know that you need to write more creative content. It’s quite another to stare bleary-eyed at the screen for hours with what feels like a crispy sponge where your brain used to be.
Not to worry—there are ways to get the juices flowing so you can create lively, creative content no matter how long you’ve been chained to your desk.
The key to staying creative is, counter-intuitively, not to try too hard.
Instead of trying to force your brain into creation mode, give it a break and do something else—the relaxation will help restart your engine. We recommend trying any of our favorites…
- Take a shower. How many killer ideas have you come up with in the shower already? You might want to bring a (waterproof) notepad with you just in case.
- Walk your dog. If you don’t have a dog, walk yourself. The exercise, fresh air, and change of scenery will work wonders.
- Stretch. Release the tension in your shoulders and back. Reach your arms way up. Let yourself enjoy the change of position.
- Make a cup of coffee or tea. The ritual of brewing (or ordering) your favorite quaff will soothe your mind. And the caffeine jolt probably won’t hurt things, either.
- Listen to a favorite song. It will put you in a good mood, and may even inspire you to dance, which will get your blood a-pumping and the ideas a-rolling.
- Call your mom. Or dad. Or anyone who wouldn’t find it weird that you called to say a quick hello in the middle of the night (day?).
- Get out a map and plot a new route home. Even if you don’t take it, your mind will get stretched in a new way.
- Bake something. The deliberate act of following someone else’s directions gives you a break from creating. When you get back to work, you’ll feel refreshed.
- Meditate. Focus on only your breath for ten breaths. Then ten more. No thoughts allowed. This will help you feel calmer and more focused.
- Take a nap. Seriously—if you feel like you can’t keep your eyes open, give yourself 27 minutes to snooze (seven to fall asleep, plus 20 minutes for sleeping has been declared the “ideal” napping period).
- Read a book. It’s the cheapest and fastest way to travel to a new place.
- Straighten up. Put away some clutter, vacuum a couple rooms, dust the printer. The point is to focus on a task that isn’t totally dependent on the neurons firing in your brain.
- Eat something. Your creativity block could be a side effect of low blood sugar!
- Refuse to say “no.” Don’t ditch bad ideas, even if you know they’re awful. Get them out and let them lead you to their more alluring, enticing younger sisters.
- Get moving. A few jumping jacks or lunges can go a long way toward relieving any thought blocks you may have developed.
- Sing a patriotic song. No, this isn’t propaganda. Digging up lyrics and a tune you haven’t thought about in a while forces you to use a different part of your brain, plus you’ll get good oxygen flowing when you breathe in for the high notes.
- Do a load of laundry. Move. Accomplish. Smell the delicious smell of fabric softener.
- Make your grocery list. This will allow you to achieve a small task and give you a mental rest.
- Think of someone you know whose name starts with each letter of the alphabet. You’ll be surprised what else jumps into your mind as you work your way through (hint: you can borrow my former coworker Xue Fei when you get to X, if you want.)
- Draw a picture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re any good. Just doodle until you feel your block melt away.
When you’re feeling blocked creatively, the best thing you can do is to “look away from the problem” by engaging other areas of your brain.
What tactics have you found useful to inject pizzazz into your life?
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