Do you ever get stuck, creatively speaking? Ever find yourself frustrated when the words just aren’t flowing the way you want, or not flowing at all?
You are not alone. It’s part of the creative process that every writer experiences.
Yes, I know you know that. You’ve heard it before. We all have. The problem is, how do you get unstuck? How do you break through that wall of frustration?
I suppose every writer eventually finds a solution that works best for them. Taking a break from the page is usually the first step. After that, some writers will take a long walk to clear the head and generate
ideas. Others opt for a long, hot bath. Some have been known to throw themselves into mindless, mundane cleaning until the house is a spotless, sparkling work of art.
I wish that cleaning thing worked for me. Unfortunately, I would rather stay rooted in the chair in front of the monitor staring at a blank screen or starting over for the umpteenth time waiting for inspiration than spend time cleaning.
The point is, you have to do something different, get your mind on something else, and relax long enough to recharge your creativity. For me, the solution is an activity that is also creative, but doesn’t involve words.
I like to color. With pencils, not crayons.
You know those fancy “adult” coloring books you can buy at the bookstore or craft store? I have some of those. I also have a small daily calendar with a different scene to color every day. The calendar pages are great for when I have a little time to kill. The larger, more complicated pages give me something to look forward to over the course of a few days.
When I started coloring a few months ago, I was amazed at how much it helped me relax. Then I noticed that when I wasn’t thinking about the words I couldn’t conjure up, or the plot point I needed to work out, or the scene that just wasn’t coming together, the ideas starting flowing. Just a trickle is all I needed, something to get me past a sticky place and back on track. Now I make time to color nearly every day.
What do you do when you get frustrated? How do you generate inspiration? Share your favorite method in the comments below.
I love to color too, mostly with color pencils these days, but I do love a good old-fashioned kids coloring book with crayons occasionally. Have you tried any of the coloring sheets from archival collections in libraries around the world? My favorite right now is the collection from Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Totally free and very medieval! https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/197453/2016-Colouring-Book.pdf
Did you know that the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library also has a free coloring book? You have to come to the Downtown Huntsville branch to pick it up, but it is made from scans of things we actually keep in our archives. Pretty cool.
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