24 Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Do you find that on some days the words flow as freely as the spring runoff while on others the creative reservoirs run dry?

What can we do when inspiration evaporates?

Here are two dozen ways to prime the creativity pump.

Take a break. Do something else for 5-15 minutes to give your mind a rest.

Vary your location. If you use a laptop and normally write at a desk, try sitting in a recliner. If you write inside, go outdoors. If you write at home, head to a coffee shop or the library.

Write longhand. Grab a pad and pen and scribble a scene on paper.

Make use of creative movement. Bounce a Slinky from hand to hand or squeeze a rubber ball while you let your mind wander.

Get some exercise. Do some stretches. Take a walk.

Take a nap. If you’re feeling fatigued, catch some shut-eye.

Listen to music. Open iTunes and select some pieces you find inspiring.

Feed your creativity. Grab a snack. Go healthy with some carrots sticks or reach for the ultimate inspiration fuel: chocolate.

Take a shower. Ideas can flow when the water does.

Soak in a tub of hot, Calgon-scented water. Let the warmth and sweet fragrance wash over you, easing the tension.

Talk to another writer. Call up a buddy and chat about your stories.

Socialize. Spend a few minutes connecting with others on Facebook or Twitter.

Reread your story. Go back to the beginning or read the previous chapter or scene.

Work on another project. Switch from your WIP to a different story. Try your hand at a short story, poem, or devotion. Write a letter.

Change POVs. If a scene isn’t working, try telling it from another character’s perspective.

Daydream. Allow your mind to wander and see where it takes you.

Brainstorm. Think about your next chapter or scene and jot down all the ideas that come to you. Resist the urge to toss them out at this point. Anything goes.

Gag your internal editor. Forget the rules. Just write. Editing can come later.

Write fast. Set a timer and a word count goal. Concentrate on quantity. Challenge yourself to splash words on the page as quickly as possible.

Browse in a bookstore. Soak in the atmosphere. Read back cover copy and first pages.

Seek solitude. If you’re surrounded by family members, see if you can get off by yourself.

Read. Immerse yourself in another writer’s story to give your mind a break from yours.

Watch a movie. Pop a favorite in the DVD player, curl up in a comfy chair, and escape.

Develop a conducive environment. If your writing space is sapping your creative energy, make some changes. Reorganize your work area. Hang some favorite photos.  Paint your office.

* * *

In recent weeks, my creative well was low.  I’d reached the point where my office was so cluttered I dreaded entering it. Not only that, but my desk was small, faced a wall, and didn’t make use of the natural light. Changes were needed.

I embarked on Operation Creation Station. My first step was to figure out how I could make better use of the limited space in my office. I took measurements, went online, and found a desk I liked. I cleared everything out, helped Gwynly assemble my new L-shaped desk, and moved back in.

The changes I made worked wonders. I love my new writing space and feel energized when I enter the room. Here’s a look at me in my new digs.


* * *

How do you jump-start your creativity when it’s dried up?

Where do you do your best work?

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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40 Responses to 24 Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

  1. You look all settled in with your new desk and digs! Awesome. I like to take a walk and soak in the tub when I need a break and scenes to flow. You’re right, the ideas flow when the water does! Thanks for the tips. All great ones.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      A walk works wonders for inspiration, doesn’t it, Jessica? When I take a stroll in my historic Gold Rush era town, I return home ready to time travel to the past where the characters of my historicals hang out.

  2. Wendy says:

    What a fun picture of you!
    Shower, exercise & working on a project all seem to work very well for me.
    ~ Wendy

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Wendy, I get some great inspiration in the shower. I’ve yet to learn how to jot them down, though. Maybe I need to get some of those bathtub crayons I’ve seen in the toy store. =)

  3. Your office looks wonderful, Keli!!!

    I tried to brighten my basement office up by using bright yellow paint. Didn’t work. I use it for storage only now and write upstairs, switching locations as a change is needed, but always near a window. I need to be able to see outside when I’m pondering how to phrase something I’ve discovered, otherwise I walk away from the task. 😦

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Eileen, I hear you on the need to be near a window. I feel more free when I can look outside and see what’s happening in the world around me. Plus, I love light.

  4. Beth Vogt says:

    Love your new creative space, Keli! I’m trying to figure out what books you’ve got lined up between those bookends!
    When I’m feeling less than creative, I like to take a walk–preferably outside, but my treadmill suffices too. Or brainstorming with another writer is also a great way to get the possibilities flowing again! Thanks for all the great ideas.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      The books are some romances I’m eager to read, most of them being inspirational historicals, including four titles by some of our awesome agency mates. There are three contemporary romances in there, too.

  5. Susan Mason says:

    Hi Keli,

    Awesome tips! I think I’ve used most of them at one time or another!

    I LOVE your new office. You look so organized and efficient! One day when one of the kids moves out, I’ll be in their room so fast converting it to my own office!!! Either that or the games room where my son plays all his video things!

    Enjoy your new space!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sue, I do enjoy my little office. Having a dedicated space where I work on my stories helps me shift into writer mode. Where do you do most of your writing?

      • Susan Mason says:

        I have a small desk in the corner of our dining room and unfortunately, my dining room table becomes a huge pile of papers!

        • Keli Gwyn says:

          Sue, if it makes you feel any better, I moved some stacks of paper to the scrapbooking table next to my desk before I asked Gwynly to take the picture. 🙂

  6. Erica Vetsch says:

    Love this!

    taking a break usually works for me. and taking a walk. 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Erica, I can’t imagine you needing creativity infusions. You seem to be able to produce oodles of words anytime, anyplace. I’m so impressed by your productivity.

  7. I love your space!! You motivated me to get working on my own so thank you!!! 🙂

  8. Your new office layout is attractive and functional. What more can one ask?

    Thanks for all the ways of enhancing creativity. You named so many wonderful avenues to spark one’s imagination. Blessings to you, Keli…

  9. territiffany says:

    What a desk!! I have a great office but do all my writing here in my oversized chair in the TV room:) I like the view to my backyard:))

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Terri, the desk is kinda big, isn’t it? I’d been so cramped on my little desk before that I wanted lots of room. I’m sure your chair is quite comfy and the view inspiring.

  10. Jody Hedlund says:

    LOVE your new office, Keli!! I wish you many happy and productive days in your wonderful space! (And may it be the inspiration for many bestsellers!) 🙂

  11. Thanks for this list of suggestions, Keli. I LOVE your office! 🙂 You look so cute sitting there—ready to create a wonderful story! ~ I have to get up every so often and move around (for my back) so that gives me a break. I also alternate some household tasks (laundry, etc.) with writing, and will also take “needlepoint breaks”. 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Patti Jo, I think it’s great that you get up and move around every so often. I should do more of that. That way I wouldn’t make such interesting sounds when I finally rise from my chair. 🙂

      You gave us another great idea, too, one I could add to the above list. Working on a different creative endeavor, such as needlepoint in your case or scrapbooking in mine, can serve to inspire us.

  12. Jeanne Takenaka says:

    Keli, I so appreciated the tips! In the brief time I’ve been writing, I’m finding I love to be able to look outside. Today, I’m looking at playful snowflakes floating their way to the ground. Can you believe it? 🙂 Some of my creative ideas make their appearances in my morning shower, before my mind is too cluttered. I was given a set of AquaNotes that are great for using in the shower. Not sure where you get them, but they’re useful! I will have to try writing outside, when it warms up again. I like that idea. Thanks again!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jeanne, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I look forward to getting to know you.

      Snowflakes in May? Wow. The weather has been unpredictable this year, hasn’t it. I feel for those suffering its aftereffects.

      The AquaNotes you mentioned sound interesting. I’ll have to check them out.

  13. Nice desk, Keli. Well worth the sore muscles.

    Great ways to enhance our creative ideas. I think you have a great non-fiction book in all the tips you’ve been passing on.

  14. Erin says:

    Hi Keli! I like the idea about getting some exercise… I feel like if I go on a walk, my creativity always starts flowing!! I’m going to bookmark this list so I have ideas for next time I get writer’s block.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Erin, I enjoy taking walks. My struggle is prying myself away from my computer and getting outdoors. Once I’m there, I have a great time and return home eager to dive back in to my writing.

      • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

        Keli, a walk outdoors is always a great source of inspiration, epscielly as the place where you live is so full of history and nature.

        I often take a good old school exercise book with me on my walks and write down all I see and feel (by hand, not on an electronic notebook).

  15. Wow, Keli, I’m soooo jealous of your workspace! My desk is the kitchen table, and it’s not so easy to focus on a Saturday morning. 🙂 I’m trying to think of places where I could tuck an actual desk away so I can focus better.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sarah, I’m thankful we have an extra bedroom I can use for an office. It’s small, but it’s my special space. When I was looking at desks, I saw some cute little ones. Some of them even close up and look like a cabinet when not in use. Maybe something like that could work for you.

  16. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    My creativity never dries up, not for writing nor for cooking, painting, composing music…hehe.

    My favourite places for creativity are nature, my PC and my kitchen (where I paint and cook).

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Martina, I love how you find inspiration everywhere and that your creativity never dries up. So tell us. What’s your secret? 🙂

      • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

        There is no secret – you just see the world with your eyes AND your soul, let sounds, colours, lights and shadows, feelings and emotions flow into yourself through all your senses, get inspired by all beautiful things around you (and even get inspired by the not so beautiful things) – and let your phantasy and inspiration flow. I can look at a tree and see his entire life, the history around it, the history of the soil around him from the farest past up to now and into teh future. I can look at the sparkling diamonds of sunlight on the rushing water of a creek and see a reflection of the entire universe in it. And that is the way I also look at people (although here in Germany many of them seem to be surrounded by a grey fog).

        This way I see your office as a bright place with little sparks in it and the joyful colours of the glass on your desk, around the little angels on the shelf and in the curtains. 🙂 And no fog around you, but a fine silver light.

        Now declare me mad like my family does…loool.

        • Keli Gwyn says:

          Martina, it sounds like you have great insights. I wish I had your gift for seeing into the heart of things, but I tend to look with my eyes and forget to go deeper. I could learn from you. 🙂

          Thanks for the lovely comments about my office. I do feel energized and inspired here.

          • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

            Maybe you get that ability after extreme experiences, I dunno (if ya survive them). But I wish you never have to go through experiences like that. I had to go through the shadows to get a wee glimpse of Heaven, of God’s creation and the brightness in it. But maybe that is just it: after bad things you can see light and feel joy even in the small things – things like a sparkling drop of water on a leaf.

  17. the writ and the wrote says:

    I definitely work best at coffee shops. For some reason, I’m able to focus and concentrate better in that environment.

    • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

      It´s because coffee wakes us up 😉

      The author of the Harry Potter noveles started writing the first book in a pub…so coffee shops and pubs seem to be good places for creativity.

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