Flexing those other creative muscles

Easter sidewalk chalk (#2231)Here’s a dirty secret about writing on a professional level: it’s hard to be creative under a deadline. The best ideas take time to develop, and sometimes we have to yank them out of the incubator before they are ready. Many of us authors are harsh self-critics to begin with, so putting an end date on the creative process only exacerbates the problem.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways to be creative. Writing is just one of them. I find that, sometimes, exploring other avenues for creative expression can help clear out the clogs that cause writer’s block.  I’m not saying you need to go start half a dozen DIY projects pulled off Pinterest or anything. But, at least for me, a discrete task with a definite end in sight can sometimes serve as a great “restart” button. Here are a few that have worked for me:

  • Sidewalk chalk. I have a toddler in the house, so we have lots of this stuff around. Doodling with my son on the vast canvas of our neighborhood sidewalks reminds me that it’s fun to create, even if the product is far from perfect.
  • Cooking. And I don’t mean baking. Baking requires too much precision, at least for me. I mean the type of cooking you do without a recipe, adding a little of this, a little of that. If nothing else, wielding a knife is therapeutic.
  • Rearrange a room. Feel like your feng shui is all effed up? Change the view to change your point of view.
  • Make a vision board. Grab a stack of magazines and catalogs and have fun with scissors and paste.
  • Dance it out. You don’t need to GO dancing to do this. Crank up some tunes and have a private dance party for one. Shake off that tension–yes, you, with your shoulders up near your earlobes.

What do you do when you need creative rejuvenation?

Author: Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

8 Replies to “Flexing those other creative muscles”

  1. Love these ideas, Susan! I don’t even have a toddler in the house and I keep art supplies (colored pencils, glue sticks, etc.) at the ready. 🙂

  2. A few weeks ago I shamelessly danced around my living room, and it felt great. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done that in years, yes, years. Getting my fancy camera out and putzing around taking random pics helps me un-clog. Alas, I don’t do that often enough either.

  3. Cooking. Gardening, although you can’t really tell at the moment — happily, the perennials do their thing without a lot of help from me! And wandering the galleries and funky little shops in my village.

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