Useful Tips to Improve Your Creative Thinking
As a writer, you’re always going to have days when your muse disappears. And whilst it’s understandable and perfectly normal, knowing some useful tricks to improve your creative thinking will always come in handy.
Improve your creative thinking with good habits and rituals
Set yourself a daily ritual if you want to feel inspired and improve your creative flow. Having a simple routine that inspires you conditions your brain to tap into your creativity more readily.
What kind of rituals might help?
- Listening to music or podcasts
- Deep breathing
Let’s look into these in more detail.
If you’re all out of creative juice, step away from whatever you’re trying to create and just read. Pick up that novel on your bedside table, grab a newspaper or magazine, and spend ten minutes or so reading. If you can trust yourself not to get sidetracked, use your phone/tablet to check out some blogs that usually motivate you.
Listening to something is another great way to boost creativity. I like nothing better than listening to something interesting while doing a mindless task – housework, running or dog walking. Listening is fab for clearing your head too. And on the days when my head’s too busy to keep up with an audiobook, then music is my fix. If you’re listening to something you know will boost your creativity, have a pen and paper handy because this is when your quietened brain suddenly fires up with ideas.
Meditating can seriously enhance your word count. You know those days when your characters stop speaking to you? Try meditating. Emptying your head of the noise and challenges that usually fly around can prove beneficial in so many ways.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and clear a space in your brain for your characters to creep back in. Picture those scenes that you’ve already written or are preparing to create. Bring them to life in your imagination by using a blend of the five senses. If your mind keeps wandering to other things while you’re trying to meditate, just thank your busy brain for the thought, pop it in an imaginary box and throw it into a big, black hole. (Works for me.)
Journaling is fantastic for clearing your brain of the minutiae before you start your ‘real’ writing. All you need to do is write whatever’s in your head. It won’t (and doesn’t have to) make sense, but that’s the whole point. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when your ten-minute timer goes off, and you realise how much you were temporarily storing in there! It’s literally a weight off your mind when you’re finished. And then all the good stuff has room to filter through.
Journaling is also good way for ironing out any kinks in your novel. Whether you’re stuck on a plot point, unsure if you should kill off a character or you’re trying to make a periphery character more likeable, write it all down and talk yourself through it. Journaling’s like free therapy. And nobody else but you gets to see it!
Create something every single day to improve your creative thinking
Even if you only have five minutes to spare each day, create something.
- Write down a paragraph or two about anything. Forget about making it a masterpiece or grammatically correct. Just write.
- Bring a new idea to life in a storyboard.
- Draw a picture of that character who keeps bugging you. Yes, even if you’re rubbish at drawing.
- Develop a new idea for a novella or a prequel to your latest work.
- Re-design your living space.
- Go outside and take some photographs.
- Do some gardening.
- Bake something.
- Play around with cover ideas or social media graphics in Canva.
Committing to a short period of creativity daily can expand your flow and give you some me-time. Make the most of it. Enjoy. Your creativity will increase, and your mindset is more likely to stay positive.
Take a breather to improve your creative thinking
Taking regular breaks and breathers is another godsend. Especially when you feel bogged down with a writing problem. If writer’s block is your problem, switch off your computer or put down your pen and get outside. Breathe in some lovely fresh air, sharpen your observation skills, and you’ll be in a completely different mindset when you walk back through your front door.
Unplug your phone (even better, leave it at home if you venture outdoors) and physically remove yourself from that awful digital racket that invades your brain and squishes your raw creativity. And as I said previously, always keep a small notebook handy so you can write anything down when inspiration strikes – because it usually does when you’re not trying to force it.
Have some fun
All work and no play makes writers boring. So remember to have fun. Regularly. Escape those routines that might be keeping you stuck. Spend time with friends or colleagues and have a good laugh. It’s inevitable there’ll be lots of stories flowing, too, which is always a bonus. Writers never switch off, right? The more relaxed you are and the more fun you have, the more creativity will flow when you step back into your everyday routine.
Know your limits
When are your peak creative hours? Early doors? Late at night when the house is quiet? Use this to your advantage. There’s little point in trying to be creative at 6am if you’re a night owl. When you’re in full creative flow, your productivity soars. But if you’re trying to force yourself to write at the wrong time, it’s like trying to ride a bike through the desert – a huge challenge and a waste of your time and energy. You’re better off calling it a day and switching on Netflix.
Improve your creative thinking by mixing with like-minded creatives
If you’re lucky enough to have a friendly bunch of creatives to call on, spend time with them. Bouncing ideas around with inspiring people who just ‘get’ you is a great energy booster. Interacting with fellow writers helps you re-focus and see things from another perspective. And there’s something special about spending time with other creatives that just makes you feel fuzzy and warm inside. Do you know what I mean?
Be a risk-taker
Finally, take some risks if you want to improve your creative thinking. Staying tucked up in your comfort zone limits your creativity and suppresses your ideas. Think outside the box instead. If you’re a sci-fi writer and reader, try reading something else once in a while. You could pick up new narrative styles and ways to present characters, passages of time, and location details. Taking off the blinkers that come with staying in your genre can be a huge revelation and creative boost.
I hope that’s helped you to see that working your creative muscles takes time and consistency. If you’ve just started jogging, you wouldn’t sign up for a marathon next month, would you? Creativity is just the same. Practice these tips to help improve your creative flow, and you’ll never be stuck again.
If this article has helped you, please share your thoughts in the comments or the link with your writing friends.