Recharge Your Creative Battery

You're staring at a blank screen. Or worse, you have been avoiding the computer entirely. Suddenly the laundry and the litter box have taken on a sudden new urgency. The deadline clock is ticking on that new project, but you are stumped for inspiration. What do you do on days like this, when you just can't seem to jump start your creative battery?

Get moving

Sometimes that litter box is not procrastination at all. Whether it's going to the gym, taking a walk, practicing yoga, or simply taking a shower, moving your body can relax your body and your brain, and loosen the ideas out of the subconscious into the conscious brain.

Explore other creative arts

If you're a painter or designer, put on some music: whether it's Beethoven or the Eurythmics, music will hit you in parts of your brain that your regular work ignores, and can re-channel the ruts your synapses usually fall into. Likewise, musicians can examine the visual arts — reflect on a painting or a photograph for ideas. If you don't have time to go to an art museum, check out images on stock image sites such as The images can spark ideas for your own work.

Stay disciplined

As you employ these other strategies, keep focused on your mission. Set a daily goal for yourself. Whether it's to write 500 words a day, or to edit fifteen minutes of video, stick to your goals, and don't get hung up on whether the results are exactly what you were hoping for. As James Thurber cautioned, "Don't get it right, just get it written." The next few tips can help the stuff get written.

Use thought provoking prompts

There are numerous websites and software that provide creative people with tips and exercises to stimulate creativity. Sites like Writers Digest, tumblr and Pinterest have daily writing prompts that can exercise your creative muscles and help feed your muse.

Break the project up into bite-size pieces

As Mark Twain wrote, "the secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." If composing a score or designing an entire website seems too overwhelming to tackle, choose one piece of it to work on. Seeing that one piece checked off your to-do list can give your self-esteem the boost you need to tackle the next leg of the project.

Keep the "juices" flowing

The blank page is the most terrifying part of the creative process, so arrange it so that your page is never blank. Ernest Hemingway had a brilliant, yet simple strategy that allowed him to maintain momentum from day to day. His famous hack was simply to "write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next," then stop. That way when you sit down the next day, you know exactly what you need to say. Don't work until you've run out of things to say. Stop when you are at your high point, so that your "juice" is constantly being replenished.


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