As a writer and a blogger, one of the things I struggle with is how to stay creative and generate ideas. Just ask my husband about how I wander the house declaring “I have nothing to say!”
I get anxious when I am stuck – staring at a blank page, begging for brilliant ideas to reveal themselves.
Yet, ideas are a writer’s bread and butter and as a freelance writer, I constantly need to come up with ideas for articles, stories and essays. Not to mention blog posts!
Maybe you feel this way too? Struggling with how to stay creative?
5 Ways to Stay Creative and Generate Ideas
1. Stop What You’re Doing
When I start to feel like I don’t know how to stay creative, I know that it’s time to step back and take a deep breath. Ideas don’t seem to like being forced to show their faces.
Step away from away from the computer or the problem that you’re trying to solve and do something else. Go for a walk. A recent study from Stanford University showed that walking boosts creativity by an average of 60%.
When you aren’t directly focused on the task at hand (coming up with ideas or solving a complicated problem), you provide your brain with some downtime. Your brain needs this downtime to process, think and learn. It’s most often when those a-ha moments happen.
2. Have experiences
The best ideas come from your own life experiences. Probe your own life and the things you have questions about. As you take a walk, listen to conversations and observe what people are doing. I’m not saying that you should do crazy things just so you have something to write about. But, you can’t write if you don’t have a life
But not just in your specific field or niche. We tend to see and hear the same stories and trends when we read the same people, publications, blogs and sources over and over again. Instead, read something in a different field. You may be surprised at how ideas and stories in a different arena can spark ideas.
4. Write it down
When I’m trying to generate new story ideas, I often dismiss my ideas right away because they aren’t perfectly formulated with the right angle and packaging or I think that they are boring. But it’s rare that an idea emerges in a perfectly salable or usable form.
Instead, write down every idea. Every single one. Don’t censor the ideas. Just write them down and get them out of the head as you would during a brainstorming session. These are nuggets of ideas that you can play with. Some may pan out. Some may not and that’s OK.
For a while, I set a daily goal for myself to write down 20 ideas a day. It was hard at first but once you start letting go of your brain and your tendency to censor your ideas, it gets a lot easier.
Before you know it, you’ll have a whole list! (I need to do this again.)
P.S. Carry a notebook with you all the time.
5. Write by hand
As you write down your ideas, write them by hand in a notebook. Or, write in a journal regularly, which has been linked to positive effects on well-being.
Research has shown that writing by hand could make your smarter and improve cognitive development. Scientists have observed that the act of writing lets you access more of your brain and may help to remove mental barriers.
How to you stay creative?
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