Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you have to do writing exercises to get the creativity flowing. Sometimes it’s best to be creative outside of your passion to get a fresh outlook on your work, or just to work out some general creative muscles.
Here’s 10 of my favorites:
1. Rearrange your environment. Moving furniture around, changing out the artwork on your walls, clearing everything off of your desk, replacing what you stare at while waiting for the Muse to visit, swapping out the photos you have framed… can all work to get the creativity flowing. Frame some pictures from magazines or books that you like, or a quote that you find inspiring.
2. Repurpose something. Whether it’s finding another use for the bread ties piling up in the drawer, refinishing a piece of furniture, or building a shelf from a piece of reclaimed lumber, finding creative uses for things that you have lying around can be a great booster as well as being productive.
3. Cook something wild. Go ahead and try that recipe that you’ve been afraid of all these years, or find one online that sounds like fun. If you are as “cooking challenged” as I am, how about trying a restaurant that you wouldn’t normally go to, and order the most interesting thing on the menu, or ask the chef or server what they recommend.
4. Compose a rhyming poem or a rap song about yourself. How would you describe yourself or what you do?
5. Amp up your car. Try a beach-themed air freshener, a Jimmy Buffett CD and a hula dancer on the dashboard. Or hang that scarf you love but never wear from your rearview mirror. Change out that cd that’s been in there for a year.
6. Do a Paint by Number. Only do it in your own color scheme. Forget the blue sky and white clouds. Make them red and purple. Don’t even bother looking at the instructions. It’s yours to make your own.
7. Learn a few phrases in a language that you always wanted to speak. A few usable sentences or questions in French or Italian can go a long way. Even memorizing a favorite poem can transport you out of your element and give you’re a different view of your life.
8. Plant something and photograph it as it grows. Plant a seed, or a bunch of them in a container, and take a photograph everyday at the same time as it grows.
9. Buy a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store, break it up and spread it around the house in the most creative receptacles you can find. Cut the stems to an appropriate length for each display. Four or Five in a coffee can, two or three in a soda bottle or a coffee cup. Use your imagination-if it holds water, put a flower in it.
10. Take a walk and let your mind wander. After the first 10 or 15 minutes, all the chores and things you have to do will start to fade, and your mind can relax. Make up a story, pretend you’re someone else, or just daydream about your ideal life.