Every profession has “tools of the trade” be it paints, code or machinery. As writers, our most valuable asset (besides our beloved computer) is our imagination, that river of inspiration into which we dip for thoughts, dialogue and plot to craft something compelling, beautiful, gripping and talk-worthy. What a feat. As The Write Practice implies, we write (and read) to become better writers. But what are some other ways we can fuel our imagination and writing?
Here are five things you might try to “stretchify” your brain and fuel inspiration!
1. Take an Improv Class.
Think Second City in Chicago or the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. Improvisational Theatre is a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed. Check out a local class where you can engage in this fun art form that increases confidence, enhances creative thinking and refines brainstorming abilities.
2. Download an App.
3. Hang out with a Kid or Senior.
When I’m coming up blank for a book idea, I’ll tap the mind of my 8-year-old son or 12-year-old daughter. They’re great at telling me my idea stinks or suggesting an out-of-the-box idea for a plot twist. Don’t have a kid of your own, visit a local school. Teacher would love to host a visiting writer! Or, conversely, visit a senior center and chat up the residents. I’ve done many book readings at assistant living centers and the residents’ stories are fascinating!
I recently stumbled on this article entitled 7 Ways Meditation Increases Creativity and it paints a compelling rationale for why one should make dis-connection a priority, i.e., easing artistic anxiety, quieting the inner critic and improving concentration.
5. Travel. Across Town.
While it’s nice to think of jetting off to exotic lands to embrace another culture, we can glean new inspiration by changing up our own environment. Think about it, the average person experiences daily life in about a 5-10 mile radius, especially for the butt-to-chair writer. Take that laptop or notepad and write at the Main St. coffee shop in Rural, USA. Hang out at a college library or in the lobby of a medical center or office building. Eat lunch at the hole-in-the-wall burger joint and snap photos of interesting architecture and tattoos (with permission, of course!).
An either/or for you: Option 1: Right now where you are, do a mini-meditation. Five-ten minutes max. Close your eyes, turn off the mental chatter and inhale/exhale for 20 deep breaths. Every time a thought enters your mind, notice it and let it go. At the end of this meditation, write for 15 minutes, perhaps using one of those thoughts that came to you during your meditation as your springboard.
OR Option 2: Share with the group ways you have refueled your imagination when the creative well was dry. Include links to any articles or apps you’ve found helpful!