Writers talk about (and agonize over) a condition they call writer’s block. When this occurs even experienced authors report feeling stuck. It’s not just limited to writers, of course. Any creative endeavor can get bogged down when the creator feels blocked.

Psychologists suggest that we can shorten our down time by doing something unrelated to the project that has us stymied. In other words, we can solve the problem by walking away from the problem…for a while.

With that in mind, I polled several of my creative friends and asked them, “What do you do when you need fresh inspiration?” Every one came back with a response.

Here, then, are some proven ways to give yourself a creative jolt.

° Keep an inspiration journal. Use it to collect anything that feeds your soul. Fill it with quotes, stories of people you admire, pictures of beautiful places.

Page through it when you have forgotten that the world is a wonderful place.

° Visit somewhere that’s busy. An airport of shopping center are excellent places for people-watching. Make up stories about the people you see.

Imagine what their lives are like, their occupations, where they live and so forth. Since you’re keeping it to yourself, make the stories as outrageous as possible.

° Dance or exercise. Moving your body can also get your imagination moving again.

° Organize a brainstorming session. Round up a few of your most creative friends and let them throw ideas at you. Pay attention to even the silliest ideas.

One of the reasons brainstorming works so well is that the other members of the group don’t have the same emotional attachment to your project that you do. There can be clarity in detachment.

° Put your hands to work. Do needlework or carpentry or something that involves using your hands. Dig in the garden.

These can be stress-lowering activities which also can reinvigorate. I’d pick up my crochet hook rather than Prozac.

° Be quiet. Meditate. Go for a walk. Stare out of the window. Browse in a bookstore or library. Schedule quiet time daily to rest and restore.

° Practice mindless motion. Take a drive in the country. Or do something truly mindless like vacuuming the rug.

The key here is to incorporate movement that doesn’t require you to think deeply.

° Call a trusted friend. Not just anyone will do, however. Ask questions of your wisest friend and see what insights they may have. Listen.

° Expose yourself to a new idea or two. Read a book on a subject you don’t normally investigate. Take a class and absorb the energy of being in a room with other explorers. Look for new ideas or  consider a different opinion or viewpoint about old ideas.

The key, as this poll would suggest, is to shift gears. When you return to the project that has you perplexed, you’ll bring a new energy and perspective.

Even if you’re not currently bogged down, after working on a project for an hour or so, take 15 minutes and do one of the activities names above. Pick one that you don’t ordinarily do. Notice how you feel when you resume your task.

Whether you need a quick lift or want to prevent creative blocks from taking up residence, having an inventory of alternative activities can be a surprisingly effective way to keep things moving forward.

2 Responses to “9 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries”

  1. jean

    Hi Barbara, I am a returning subscriber from many subscriptions over the years, not continuous but many since attending your class at Open U, in the 1980’s, i think.
    Sure wish it was still “Open” now that I am retired and have the time to explore new ideas and activities. Yes, I know there are other similar things, but that one was comfy.
    I have an ETSY bead business called BeadingUpaStorm (ETSY deletes the spaces) and I teach piano. When people wrinkle up their eyebrow at that I always inform them it part of my multiple profit center plan from Barbara Winter’s “Making a Living without a job” class and book!
    Beading up a Storm comes from my response when someone says what are you doing?, or how do you keep busy? But it also incorporates the last name of my maternal Grandmother who i never met because she was killed in the Hurricane of 1938 which caused a tsumani wave that washed away the house and a great deal of land on Narragansett bay in Rhode Island while my mother was in school in Providence. (Her Name was Mae Storm, but the storm was in September.)

    Anyway, hope I still count as a renewal cuz that’s what I just did. looking forward to your wit and charming writing!
    Jean Austin,
    AKA Jean Aus
    AKA Jean Harwell

  2. Barbara Winter

    Jean,

    Welcome back! Thanks so much for your renewal and your update. Love your story and your business name. Would love to share it in a future issue of Winning Ways.

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