Feed the creative swell

When I popped in to Brainripples this morning to post a snow picture for you, and realized that my last post was last Monday’s Monday Morning Muse, I knew it must be time to check in!

Besides running around taking pictures of this glorious snow we’ve been having, what all have I been up to?  In fact, I have been pleasantly busy.

The past several weeks have been filled with home projects, client projects, and a healthy round of spring cleaning.  I am also happy to share that I have been writing more and more each day, and I’m starting to scratch down fresh poems, and new ideas for stories and articles.

So how can you breathe some fresh air into your creativity?  Here are a few suggestions from my sandbox:

1) Get back to basics

Over the past few months, I’ve been setting aside opportunities to work with pen and paper again.  Journaling, letting writing, and drafting are all activities that have transitioned almost exclusively to wordprocessing since I finished school a few years ago.

When writing with pen and paper I find myself deliberately slowing my thoughts, processing my ideas, and pacing my writing in order to ensure that my handwriting stays legible.  (If I try to think and write as fast as I type, the whole thing is a nightmare to reread!)

2) Try something new

Teach yourself a new language.  Take a class, take a trip, take a walk—anything to get yourself out of your routine, and into something new.  It needn’t be drastic… do you take a daily walk?  Have you ever found yourself, for whatever reason, walking your daily path in reverse?  What do you see that you don’t normally notice?

3) Set a goal

Pick something as a goal – it doesn’t matter whether or not this is related to your work, just pick any doable thing.  It could be as big as “finish my masterpiece” or as accessible as “fix the leak in the bathroom sink.”

Now make it happen.  Setting yourself small goals and then knocking them out will help build your momentum on other projects.  Besides, it fells good to get stuff done.

4) Open a window

Did I mention that I’ve been cleaning?  This is no idle, ho-hum, did-the-dishes kind of cleaning… I’ve been reducing, reusing, recycling, and throwing-over-my-shoulder-into-the-dumpster.  It feels great, and it brings so much clarity.

If you’re in your office, or home, or home office, or truck for that matter, take a look around your personal space.  Look at your desk, your room, your floor… unless you’ve just finished your spring cleaning, something could definitely use your attention.

Pick something – a desk, a drawer, a room – now shut down your computer, and go to it.  Clean it all the way, and see how you feel.  Just one little pocket of cleared space can open up a huge amount of energy and focus in your brain.

(By the by, if you have usable stuff that you need to get rid of, don’t throw it away, check out FreeCycle and help give your stuff a new life.)

5) Have some fun

Whether or not you want to try any of the above suggestions, I think we can always benefit from pushing off the work and having some fun.  You don’t have to procrastinate to do this: plan ahead to get a certain portion of your work out of the way so you can take a day, or an afternoon, and do something enjoyable and DIFFERENT.

How long has it been since you went to an aquarium, or a science center, or a new town?  How long has it been since you poked your head outside the window to see if you can hear spring bird songs?

Whether you’re saying hello to spring blossoms, or you’re bundling up to brush snow off your truck, step out into the season and look around.  What is the earth saying in your neck of the woods?  See if something inspires you.

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9 Responses to Feed the creative swell

  1. spyscribbler says:

    It’s been too long for me! I did go to a new bookstore, and that was awesome! I can’t explain the thrill I get when I see all those possible worlds to explore!

  2. Jaye Wells says:

    Regarding your learn a new language suggestion, I recently discovered that iTunes offers free language podcasts. I just subscribed to their Italian classes yesterday. Much more fun than spring cleaning.

  3. Bernita says:

    Excellent post!

  4. JLB says:

    Spy, new books are always fun! Especially for us writers, they can also offer insight into our own work!

    Jaye, that sounds excellent! I just love working with other languages – besides the fun of new sounds and words, I think what I like best is learning the unique expressions each language uses that describes something in a way that another language just can’t quite match!

    Bernita, many thanks!

  5. H.E.Eigler says:

    I LOVE getting rid of junk and clutter – it does open up the creative part of me. For some reason, my office is the one room where all the junk gets piled from the rest of the house and it’s time for me to rid myself of it once again!

  6. JLB says:

    H.E.E., I have a room like that too! Enjoy. 🙂

  7. Anita Marie says:

    Hi Jade- this is great advice.

    I start all of my stories with long hand, it does force you to slow down and think about what you’re saying. People ask ‘what exactly is a writer’s voice’ and all I can say is that unless you learn to listen to yourself as you write you’ll never find out!

    I’ve been taking short train rides- I write a lot about the Olympics and Cascades so it makes sense I spend some time in those places ( so that’s my new thing…I use to drive out there ).

    There’s something very cool about trains and I’m hoping my new adventures inspire something.

    I’ll let you know!!!

    Anita Marie

  8. JLB says:

    Anita Marie

    People ask ‘what exactly is a writer’s voice’ and all I can say is that unless you learn to listen to yourself as you write you’ll never find out!

    …you’ve managed to connect with a thought I’m working with right now. I’ll have more to share in a couple days.

  9. Anita Marie says:

    I’ll be looking forward to that!
    Anita Marie

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