Four Simple Creativity Sparks for Writers


Today is a daydreaming kind of day. In order to make progress on my projects, what I really need is time to go for a walk, doodle, and play.

Walking, doodling and playing to get things done? Absolutely. In this crazy-busy era, it’s all too easy to be swept in the stream of urgency. We churn out tasks. We grind through our day. We brainstorm ideas and slash budgets and scratch things off our list. So much violence in the name of productivity!

All this frantic, sedentary busyness is killing our creativity. It’s time to move.

Slowly. Purposefully. Playfully.

Get Up

Movement is good for creativity—just changing your position or location will do. No plane tickets or cruise ship necessary. Go for a walk, people! Ditch the iPod and earplugs and listen instead to the birds or analyse the music of traffic.

This isn’t new-agey twaddle. The advice is centuries old. “Solvitur ambulando” is Latin for The problem is solved by walking. I’d heard it attributed to Milton, but according to the font of digital knowledge, it goes back to a witty Greek guy named Diogenes the Cynic. Apparently some esoteric big-noter was waffling on about motion being unreal, so Diogenes shut him down by standing up and walking off. (Nice move, but I can’t explain why a Greek was speaking Latin…)

So, if you can’t solve that plot problem, take it for a walk around the block.

Have fun

Play is fundamental. It’s an innate learning strategy for children, so why should we adults pooh-pooh it? Play changes your perspective and opens new options. Take your cue from your favourite geek: put some toys on your desk. Lego bricks, puzzles, a tub of Playdough–or better yet: Kinetic Sand. Go on–Release your inner toddler!

Therapists have understood the power of play for decades. Sandtray and Play Therapy are wonderful strategies for digging below our usual defence mechanisms. (And let’s face it: adults have plenty of those.) Anything we writers can do to bypass the inner critic is a good thing–it may as well be fun!

Role-playing is a fabulous way to breakthrough rigid mindsets. It’s not just for Comic-Con aficionados or drama students. Just imagine what a business owner could learn by playing the part of a first-time customer. Writers—stand up and act out your scene. Feel your character’s response in your cells.

Go ahead and Doodle

Maybe your teachers roused at you for drawing instead of listening, but new research shows that doodling helps people focus. It also helps us access parts of the brain that otherwise wouldn’t be engaged. More brain power is usually better than less…Right?

If you’re making notes or doing an outline, try adding some doodles or sketches. You may find the act of drawing frees up some new ideas.


You’ve heard the cliché about hopeless daydreamers? Well, it turns out they’re not so hopeless after all–particularly if they work in a creative field. Neuroscience has proven a correlation between daydreaming and creativity, so go ahead: Prop your feet up on the desk, sit back, and untether your imagination.

Over to You

Do you have fun, effective ways to kindle your creativity?

More on Creativity from the interweb

Stoke the fire of your creativity with these 5 TED talks.

CC Image Credit, idea_m by nic519

5 responses to “Four Simple Creativity Sparks for Writers”

  1. Great tips on Creativity, Alison.

    I agree with ALL of them.
    I especially like the Movement one. I start my day with a brisk walk percolating ideas. I get up and move every 20 minutes to think out a problem or pay around with ideas in my head.

    PS LOVE your Creative Sparks picture… Karen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Karen! Do you use a timer for your breaks? I find I intend to get up every half-hour, but I’m so focused I lose track of time! Thanks for commenting…Ali

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually I think It might be close to half an hour. Its usually when I finish writing a draft piece of work, a chapter or a blog. But I agree its easy to get carried away … Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good advice, Ali! I love to day-dream…you never know where it will take you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favourite daydreaming, and photoshopping a daydream.


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