By guest blogger: Margarita Tartakovsky
Inspiration comes in waves. I think it’s safe to say that all of us seesaw between having ideas ooze from every part of our bodies to feeling empty and wondering when, why and how the spark dimmed out.
So for those days when you feel like you’re pulling at inspiration’s teeth, here are five ideas for coaxing your muse out from the shadows.
1. Let your consciousness flow. Stream-of-consciousness writing is one of the best ways to write because you never know where it takes you. It’s like you’re eavesdropping on your own thoughts. You might be quite — and pleasantly — surprised where you end up. To get started, turn on some music, find a quiet place and pretend that you’re writing in your diary, and your secrets are safe within the diary’s walls. Basically, let it all hang out.
2. Get out the art supplies (or whatever crafts you like). Remember how I mentioned that on some days inspiration seems to ooze from every nook and cranny and pore? Well, help that process along by using your hands to generate different kinds of creative energy. Create something other than words — at least for now.
This can be anything from creating an inspiration board — filled with beautiful images and inspiring words, like quotes or a favorite excerpt — to doodling on paper to sculpting a piece of clay to going outside and taking pictures of random things.
You’re still doing something that requires creativity, but you’re also taking a break from staring blankly and miserably at your computer. Another bonus.
3. Let your surroundings guide you. Where are you sitting? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Use your five senses to capture your surroundings, and jot down your impressions. Try not to have expectations about your destination. Just enjoy the process of using your senses and exploring your environment.
4. Walk away, if possible. Like ginger cleanses the palate before each sushi piece or a bowl of coffee beans lets you sample the smell of another fragrance with fresh senses, taking a break from the keyboard creates a spotless slate and lets great ideas come through.
You can take a walk, go work out, browse your favorite bookstore, call a friend or run an errand or two. If you’ve got a deadline, just step away from the keyword. Sometimes, just leaving the room can encourage an idea to pop into your head.
5. Squash self-doubt as you go. It’s also safe to say that most of us, at some point or another, have let self-doubt stomp on our creativity. Being insecure means that some words don’t make it to the page. But the goal is to let your creative juices run free and wild. That’s usually how you access the good stuff.
So don’t judge yourself. Just tell yourself that you’re simply writing as you go. Words are neither bad nor good. Sentences are neutral.
And so you aren’t tempted by the delete key or the pencil eraser, write using pen and paper. My favorite instruments are a Sharpie Pen and a small notebook.
What are some ways you coax your muse?
Margarita Tartakovsky has a MS in Clinical Psychology from Texas A&M University. You can visit her at her Psych Central blog Weightless.