Friday, March 22, 2013

Ways To Tap Into Your Creative Juice Reserves

Hey, fellow YAtopians!

So we all know this feeling:

You're plugging along with your work in progress, gleefully bobbing your head from side-to-side, a big ol' grin on your face, when suddenly something in your life rears its terribly distracting head. Maybe it's an extra workload at your job. Maybe it's exam time at school. Maybe it's something personal. Whatever it is, it completely pulls you out from doing your thing. You go from being in the zone to completely forgetting where that zone even is. When you finally get back to it, your mind is blank. Now you're stuck. And it's not just writers block. Your creative juices are entirely dried up. That giant Sunkist that is your brain is just sputtering pulp.

So, what do you do?

Well, one thing you don't do is quit juicing. You need to juice that sucker for all it's worth. You're a writer! You have creativity oozing from every pore. You just need some ways to tap those reserves. Here are a few--some conventional and some not-so-conventional.

Stare at the ceiling/wall/screen/stars

As writers, we're no strangers to being lost in our heads. Often doing absolutely nothing is how we get the juices flowing. Don't underestimate this tactic. Free your mind from distraction by blocking out everything around you, and just be one with your unfettered imagination. Don't worry about looking strange. Odds are everyone came to that conclusion long ago. If it's strange to be a creative genius at work, then so be it!

Take a really long shower

If you have trouble freeing yourself from distraction, go somewhere where no one else can go. There's a reason why many writers say that they came up with their best ideas in the shower. There you are, alone and totally liberated in all your naked glory. Well, there's where your imagination is liberated too. Just don't forget to wash behind your ears!

Enlist a partner in crime

Bouncing ideas off of someone else can not only get the ball rolling, but it can also give you a sense of whether or not you're headed in the right direction. Of course, you have to be able to play well with others for this one to work. A good partner in crime is an honest partner in crime, and a good writer is receptive to honest feedback.

Watch people, and if necessary, eavesdrop

The library, the park, a pub, it doesn't matter; just find a public place and observe everyone and everything around you. Pick out a couple people and start to think about their story. Who are they? Where are they going? Just don't stare too long or you might have to write yourself into a story about someone getting a mouthful of knuckles. Oh! For those who have never taken the bus before, especially in a mid-size or large city, I highly recommend it. You'll encounter the craziest kooks you can ever imagine. I guarantee you'll find at least one character every time. 

Write nonsense

This is the part where I tell you to force yourself to sit at the computer and just write. Easier said than done for a lot of people, right? This is especially true for perfectionists who have to constantly go back and fix every sentence until it's just right. This is why I say: just write nonsense! Set a timer for a certain amount of time, sit down, and just write whatever comes into your head. An idea just might find its way to the surface.

Watch films or read books

We often find inspiration from things we like and artists we admire.  Pick a couple movies or books that are similar to your work-in-progress in some way (voice, target audience, story, etc.) and tune your brain to find that inspiration.

Join a writing group

What's better than one person telling you how great--or not-so-great--your work is? A whole group of people! Even critiquing other writers' works can be a very educational and inspirational experience. This is a great way to find out where you're at in terms of your development as a writer. There is always something new to learn! If you can't find a writing group in your hometown, you could even join one online.


Ehhh, no... nevermind. Not gonna happen.


  1. Wonderful post, Ryan. It leaves me feeling like I've got a stalker... :P

  2. Showers are great. And I've found that going for a nice drive can be helpful too. Just have to remember to keep Post it Notes and a pen nearby so one can pull over and jot notes down. lol!

  3. Great post. And I agree with Jonathon about going for a drive when I'm stuck. That helps relax my mind.

  4. Great tips. My favorite go-to is "write nonsense"--something about keeping my fingers moving on the keyboard keeps my brain trying until I get my next idea.

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