There you sit with your fingertips poised over the computer keyboard, just waiting for brain to send a bolt of inspiration. Nothing comes. The blank screen stares back at you, mocking your writer’s block in the face of the deadlines bearing down upon you. You stand up, meander around the house, pet the cat and give the dog a treat. Yet, those creative juices refuse to flow.
Almost all creative writers hit a dry patch now and again, unable to come up with the fresh approach or catchy writing voice. Fortunately, there are ways to stimulate your creativity gland and keep those words flowing freely.
#1 Go For a Walk
Hippocrates once said that walking is the best medicine and new research by Stanford University scientists supports this ancient theory. In a study published by the American Psychological Association, people who walk instead of sitting or being pushed in a wheelchair consistently give answers that are more creative on standardized creativity tests.
#2 Listen to Music
In research published in the International Journal of Music Education, researchers from Institute of Education, University of London reviewed several earlier studies that showed an association between creativity and listening to music. One study found that high school music students scored higher on several elements of Guildford’s tests , for example, while another reported significant increases in creativity for first graders who had a half hour of daily music instruction.
#3 Snack on Healthy Foods
Pablo Picasso ate a doctor-recommended diet high in fish and spinach, according to Foods4BetterHealth; Ernest Hemingway consumed fish, meats, avocados, and other fruits. Today, scientists know these foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients beneficial to brain function. To get those creative juices flowing, cook the food yourself and improvise the recipe as you go along.
#4 Add Color to Your Work Environment
A study by the University of British Columbia shows that the color blue stimulates creativity and red enhances attention to detail. Another study gave participants two minutes to come up with as many uses for a tin can as they could. Before the study began, the scientists showed half the participants a white rectangle and showed the other group a green rectangle. The group that saw the green shape came up with more imaginative uses for the can than the white rectangle group. The researchers pitted green rectangles against different color squares, but participants who saw green always came up with the most creative answers.
#5 Sleep On It
Scientists have found that sleep consolidates memories and fixes them in your brain to make it easier for you to retrieve the memory later on. In research published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, scientists from the University of Notre Dame say that sleep picks out the most important experiences of your day, then reconfigures these memories to help you produce innovative and creative ideas.
The next time your creativity gland dries up, try one of these five stimulating ways to increase your ingenuity and productivity.
Lynn H is a freelance writer currently undergoing therapy for her over-stimulated creativity gland.