I share with you some of the my ways to overcome the curse of Creativity Deprivation.
1. Exercise. I run. Not every day, but frequently. And I find that plots and scenarios pop into my head unbidden as I jog along (I don’t use an iPod). But I don’t believe that creative resurgence is limited to running alone. Any aerobic exercise should produce the same results. The benefits are many. First, it is a complete interruption to your physical modality so that when you return to writing, you are refreshed and renewed. But exercise also introduces factors to the blood that are present only when tissue is under stress. The most significant of them is BDNF (brain-derived nuerotrophic factor) which appears to spark increased learning and creativity in the brain.
2. Laugh a lot. Scientists have not yet located the laugh center in the brain. But they do know it is an interrupter that helps to shift perspective. Researchers have found that subjects who cannot perceive a hidden object in a picture suddenly are able to do so after a good belly laugh. Theoretically, laughter can allow a shift from right brain to left, or vice versa.
3. Give it a break. I mean a real break. Don’t write for a week (that’s a good time to concentrate on Marketing!). And then come back to it with full dedication.
4. Read over your head. I am stimulated by stellar examples (not so much by commonality). I find that a night with Steinbeck or Hemingway excites me to a new level of writing. I head for the shelves with works that are way over my head and from them draw fresh ideas about how to improve my own writing.
5. Try a different genre. Many of us are rutted into a specific form of writing. I find I can write novels with ease but truly struggle with short stories. So when my ideas go dry and my creativity runs away and hides, I turn to another writing form. And after several sessions of struggling with poetry or short stories I return to novels with relief…and often success.
6. Remember your childhood heroes. I grew up enamored of Westerns. I wore a cowboy hat and a brace of six-guns everywhere for a while. I loved to watch The Cisco Kid and Roy Rogers (Okay, I’m truly dating myself here!). When a child, one’s imagination runs unabated. I find that a wealth of ideas can come from attempting to feel once again the magic of my childhood fantasies. It’s not always easy to do, but just the journey can draw dividends.