From the pen of Robert Reeves
We humans tend to be creatures of habit. Anyone who writes either as a hobby or for a living will understand what we mean when we say it can be difficult to stop your own writing patterns becoming repetitive and formulaic.
Keeping your content fresh, compelling, and unique isn’t easy!
Yet, you’ll need to learn to unlock your creativity in order to progress, whether it’s creativity in terms of improving your writing in general, or creativity in terms of writing unique content around the same or similar topics.
In fact, a study in 2012 found 80% of people believe unlocking creativity can lead to better economic performance! Yet only 25% thought they were living up to their creative potential.
Let’s try to help your imagination flow in your writing with the following tips.
Mind Map the Positives and the Negatives
Drawing a mind map can give you plenty of new ideas and ways to approach your writing.
First, list all the positives in your project and think about your previous writing and its best bits. How can you add these elements to your latest piece?
Then go through the problem areas – the questions that remain unanswered or the storylines that don’t work. What other approaches could you use?
Play Word Association
Word association games are a great way to open your mind to new ideas and approaches. You can even download a word association app to your phone if your own thoughts hit a blank.
Try improving your vocabulary as well. Pick a dictionary and select a random word. Do you know the meaning already? What words do you associate with it?
Have some fun with this one and don’t see it as part of work. Whether you play Scrabble online, try out another word game, or just hang out with creative friends at the weekend, opening your mind in this way can supercharge your writing.
Change Your Routine
Do you always write at the same time of day or at the same spot? Although creating a good work routine is important, you should occasionally try stepping outside those routines.
Take a notebook with you and go write your ideas outside. Head down to the local café for a quick brainstorming session or just mix up the hours you typically spend writing!
What is the weather like where you are? It’s amazing how a couple of hours working on your laptop at the park can inspire you.
Alternatively, spend a couple of days a month at a co-working space with others like yourself is also refreshing and fun.
What you do here doesn’t really matter; the simple act of getting away from the same four walls and the same view can do wonders.
Write Down ALL of Your Ideas
Critical thinking skills are great, but the chances are you might be a bit too critical. Writing down your ideas – even the crazy ones – doesn’t mean you need to publish them.
Keep a notebook with you at all times and as soon as you think of something – ANYTHING – write it down to look at later.
The trick here is not to dismiss things just because you won’t use them right away. Either use an app like Evernote or collect your ideas as an Excel or Google doc, and the next time you’re stuck for an idea, refer to these.
There are few feelings that rival being stuck at what you feel is a dead end, then getting inspired by an idea you forgot you had some months ago.
Clear Your Inner Mind
Sometimes your unconscious mind might be blocking your ability to be creative. Try some relaxation techniques and start writing a journal.
Keeping a diary can boost your writing in many ways; not only does it help clearing your mind from troubles, but it might also help you see everyday things in a new light.
It’ll also be a great creative resource in the future, too.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Don’t think about your writing all of the time. It can often be much more productive to let your project sit while you have a good time.
Instead of resorting to your usual past time activities, try something outside your comfort zone. Eat in a new exotic restaurant or try baking bread. If you are adventurous enough why not go skydiving! Even reading a book in a genre outside of your usual favourites can open your mind.
Above all, when you find something that gets your imagination flowing, make a note of it so you can return to the activity or thing later.
You don’t need to walk on the wild side all of the time, either. Sometimes just going for a coffee or spending 30 minutes catching up on the news is as useful as trying something new and drastic.
Don’t feel the need to come up with something on the spot; take some time out and feel the difference.
Check out our website for more writing resources and let us know below what you find boosts your creativity the most.