10 Ways to Stay Creative Despite Everything

Writers, like most people, fall into slumps – you know where our brains aren’t capable of much more than wondering what to make for dinner? And even that can be too much sometimes.

So when the dreaded slumps hit you know it’s time to shake things up.

 

 

 

It used to be that just going out and socializing with friends would do the trick – talk all night about non-writing subjects, eat some tasty junk food, and maybe have a few beers – only that’s not really a good idea now, despite what some ignorant asshats say.

 

 

 

 

So, here are 10 ways to kick start your creativity in the Covid19 world we live in now.

  1. Create an Inspiration Board – also known as Vision Boards or Mood Boards —  This can be for your current novel or something else entirely. I made my first inspiration board when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I covered a large piece of foam core board with pictures of beauty and health, along with images of my ideal environment (a beach house down the shore). I placed it over my monitor and looked at it every day. It helped a lot.

2. Listen to music – I listen to instrumental stuff when I’m writing because the lyrics in songs just distract me. But when I’m not writing, I love rock, pop, rap, R & B, metal, and even — God help me — some country,  (hey, Kacey Musgraves and Shania Twain… ‘sup, girls?). Music wakes up my brain and fills my soul with gladness.

3. Meditate – I started meditating a few months back, and once I got into the swing of it I realized it really did spark my writer’s brain. Plus, doing it makes you feel just a little bit virtuous.

4. Watch Netflix – when your brain is running on empty you need to pick other people’s brains. Movies and TV shows are loaded with the creative ideas of many, many people so dive in – the water’s fine.

5. Get a new hobby/learn a new skill – depending on what you choose, this can be either relaxing or demanding. Either way it will get you out of your accursed writer’s head for a while.

6. Read books – both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve found that reading in my own genre tends to make me either contemptuous or envious – neither of which is good for me. So I try to read in other genres when I read fiction. Non-fiction really ignites my brain, especially the well-written stuff. Unfamiliar times, events, and people turn me on and always give me new ideas for stories. Reading Dragon Teeth, by Michael Crichton right now.

7. Doodle or sketch – even if you’re not artistic. This is tough if you’re not artistic, but once you chain your ego to a parking meter outside (where it can bark its little heart out), it is very freeing and a lot of fun.

8. Take naps – oh, I can hear people screaming about naps being “a waste of time” now, but really, studies show that a refreshed brain is a productive brain. Take that, Corporate America.

9. Learn how to cook a new cuisine – if your idea of “ethnic cuisine” is Taco Tuesday, maybe you should branch out a little. So far I’ve cooked vegetarian, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, and Japanese meals. Be brave. Even less than perfect meals tastes great.

10. Have sex – this is kind of a tricky one as far as stimulating one’s creativity goes. Some people feel energized afterwards, while others just feel sleepy. However, considering the amount of physical, emotional, and psychological energy being exchanged here it certainly couldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

Safe sex, everyone!

How about you?

What are some of the ways you keep your creativity all shiny and new?

Let me know in the Comments section.

Thanks for reading.

Message in a Bottle

Hi, welcome back.

Spent this morning helping my husband set up a recording studio in our living room. He’s recording his first Bad Buddhist Video vlog, based off his original Bad Buddhist Radio podcasts right now. I plan to do something similar, myself, although I don’t have a body of work to pull from like he does. Also hoping to get my own podcast up and running soon.

Anyway, all of this we’re doing lately — the blogs, the vlogs, the podcasts — made me think of how old-fashioned this stuff is (despite the technology). Whether we’re writing a book, or a song; making a blog post, filming a video, or recording a podcast … they’re all basically the same thing. We’re all reaching out,trying to make connections with other people to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Because believe me, no matter how much we all deny it, humans really do need other humans. Connections — social, physical, and spiritual — are sort of like the grease in the wheels that keep we humans going. Without it, we can carry on for a little while, but it won’t be long before we grind to a halt and possibly burst into flames.

 

 

 

 

Connection is especially important to creative people — it’s the sustenance we crave to keep creating. It’s the reason why there are so many new YouTube videos are being made right now; why so many artists and musicians are sitting in their living rooms or garages singing to us; why talk show hosts are bravely doing their monologues from home — complete with strangely flat jokes — knowing that none of it’s the same without us in the room with them.  They — we — are all trying to connect with one another during this strange time.

It’s sort of like together we’re all creating a 21st century version of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year. Why Defoe’s “historical fiction”,  and not Pepys’ diary, (a contemporary account based on his actual experiences)? Because even though Daniel Defoe was only 5 years old in 1665, the year of the Great Plague in London, his Journal was a combination of his uncle’s personal experience, research and systematic detail. In other words, Defoe tried to paint the bigger picture while still grounding the event in the personal.

Which is kind of what we’re all doing, on a subconscious level.

So here’s my message in a bottle.

Someday it will be found and added to the 2020 edition of the Journal, making some OCD historian very happy as she/he/they pastes my little scrap of humanity in it’s proper place on the Covid19 timeline.