The struggle to find the perfect writing tool. Getting up to get a drink of water for the fifth time in an hour. Deciding now is the perfect time to reorganize my files. Staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen. This folks, is writers block and I admit for the past few week I’ve been struggling with writing, which is inconceivable, because I’ve always loved to write. As a kid, I'd spend hours penning silly stories by myself and with my best friend. How can I get my creativity back?
It is frustrating not knowing where to begin, but creative blocks happen to the best of us. I’ve watched my husband put down his guitar after trying to figure out the direction to take a riff that he's been holding onto. Painters, musicians, actors, photographers, chefs, scientists, and students working on writing assignments for school, do you feel me? Regardless, I refuse to be defeated by this so-called writer's block and decided to explore different ways to get inspired.
I first did something that you might suspect a librarian would do, I explored some books:
Dream writing assignments : 600+ prompts for creative writing by David E. LeCount: You can't run a marathon without practice and I suspect the same is true for writing. This titles gives writing prompts and exercises to work through. Who knows, one random writing prompt could lead to your next big idea.
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon: This book covers 10 principles to boost creativity. One thing Kleon says that really resonated with me was "Always be reading. Go to the library. There's magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibliographies. It's not the book you start with, it's the book that book leads you to."
Imagine : how creativity works / Jonah Lehrer: Even though much controversy surrounds this book (the author admitted to plagarism and resigned from his job at The New Yorker), there were still interesting elements of this book. I like how it pointed out that frustration or being stuck, is an essential part of the creative process that we tend to forget. We tend to forget that the journey to our brilliant ideas is not always an easy process.
Of course there are other things I'll try:
1. Take a walk: Walk around town. Walk in the woods. I love walking because I notice the small details I never see through the window of a car.
2. Reread a favorite book or part of it: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and On The Road by Jack Keroauc are my go to books when I'm not feeling inspired to write
3. Watch a movie that has made a significant impact on your life: Amelie is a fantastic French film, that is full of beautiful visuals and the main character has an amazing imagination. It is my favorite and I cannot watch this film without being inspired in some form.
4. Create a playlist of songs: I used Spotify to put together and playlist of my favorite songs that I can listen to while writing.
5. Write with a another person: In the past I've alternated paragraphs of a story, through e-mail, with a childhood friend. It's also a good way to get honest feedback on your writing too.
6. Draw pictures: You can doodle or sketch, but have you tried Zentangle? It's an easy, meditative art form, and a fun way to create beautiful patterns. The Centre Township Branch will be offering an intro for students in October. I hope to try this myself, as a way to relax and declutter my head.
7. Travel or change your place: Go somewhere different, even if it's just a short trip to the a beach in Michigan. Hang out in a different coffee shop. A change of scenary is refreshing.
8. Keep writing, no matter what: Sometimes I write and it's really bad, but I know if I stop I won't have anything. Teens will have opportunities to explore writing with an upcoming Teens Write! program at the River Park Branch and young adult author Mike Mullin will present "How Is Taekwondo Like Writing? " (open to the public) at Open Book on October 18. Come get inspired to write!
I know my lack of creativity is only temporary, but feel free to pass some onto me. How do you keep your creative juices flowing?