5 Ways to Stimulate Your Creativity by Rachel E. Watson

 

5 Ways by Rachel WatsonMy well of ideas runs dry more often than I’d like. If I had my druthers, it would never run dry at all. But it does. I’ll wake up one day, and I’m all drained of creative energy. I can’t think of what to write.

If your well also runs dry, here are a few tricks for refilling it:

  1. Travel. Take a full-fledged vacation, a simple day trip to the beach or a park, or even an hour-long walk in your neighborhood to the local library or ice cream parlor. You’ll see sights along the way that will help get your creative juices flowing.
  1. Daydream. Relax in your backyard, if the weather cooperates. If it’s raining, stare out the window and let your eyes notice everything they want to notice. Fantasize about what you see. Let your imagination run wild with possibility. And then write about it.
  1. Doodle or color. I read an article recently that said coloring is good for adults because it helps us combat stress, get in touch with our senses and express our creativity. It exercises a different kind of creativity than writing does. But I’ve found that artistic pursuits tend to feed off and stimulate other artistic pursuits. There’s a reason why some artists keep a blog, and some writers paint as a hobby. It helps increase creativity.
  1. Exercise. I wrote a whole blog post on this recently, noting that motion helps clear your mental cobwebs, provides opportunities for people-watching, enhances your self-discipline and boosts your energy levels. All of those things can help you get through the creative dry spell you’re facing.
  1. Play. If you have kids, engage with them in games, fort-building, swimming, reading together or playing outside. If you don’t have kids, hang out with your nieces or nephews. I’m always amazed at how an hour or two with the little ones in my life can refresh my perspective on the world. Even if you don’t know any little ones, you can find other ways to embrace play in your life. It’s all about re-learning curiosity and wonder.

My hope is that, if you’re struggling through a dry spell, trying one or more of these tips will help restore your well and revive your joy.

Go forth and create!

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An Open Call for Guest Bloggers

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Are you looking for new readers, a bigger online footprint, or a chance to help a fellow blogger/writer? Look no further! Guest posts are welcome at joshmosey.com.

Over the next few months, I’ll be sporadically featuring posts from other parts of the blogosphere. I’m not looking to get out of blogging, but it has been too long since I have consistently been working on my other writing. And since I am the type of person who thinks he can do everything until proven wrong, I’d like to work on my story writing AND keep provided fresh content on my blog.

Of course, I’ll be cheating a bit on that second point because my plan for fresh content is to have other people write it. But that’s okay, because other people write a lot better than me anyway.

If you are thinking about writing a post for me, here’s what I’m asking you to do:

Send me a message at josh@thoughtcrimemarketing.com with the subject line “Awesome Guest Post Proposal”. Tell me who you are, where you currently blog, and about which topic you’d like to write. No posts longer than 500 words or so, please.

That’s about it. What do you say, Internet? Can you help me out?

Guest Post | Comic Relief with Susie Finkbeiner

susie_finkbeinerWhile I would love to claim that the blog today is 100% my work, that would be a lie. You’d see right through it. For one thing, you are smart people. For another, Susie Finkbeiner (who did write today’s post) introduces herself within the post. And I’m glad that she does, because Susie is totally worth knowing, following, and reading. Be sure to pick up her newest book, My Mother’s Chamomile, when it comes out later this month!

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Here’s a story I hardly ever tell. But I’ll share it with you. Because, you know, you’re special. Super special because you follow Josh Mosey’s ultra fantastic blog.

My grandmothers died within days of each other. It was Spring Break of my sophomore year in college. Worst Spring Break.

Ever.

By the end of the second funeral in a week, I was exhausted. Grieving deeply. Just done.

I looked at my grandma in the casket and lost it. Completely. Fell into a total meltdown.

So, I did what all melodramatic people do in the midst of grief.

I ran.

Hands over my eyes, I ran out of the funeral chapel. Down the hall. Reason caught up with me and said, “So, uh, Susie, where are you going?”

I saw a room with couches. It looked like as good a place as any to sob. So, I went in. Sat down. Cried and cried and cried.

“Susie?” My cousin Eric stood next to me.

“Oh, Eric. It’s just so hard.”

“Um. Yeah.”

“It’s been such a terrible, horrible week.” My voice wobbled with more sobs.

“I bet.”

Now. My family isn’t all that emotionally demonstrative. I mean, I am. But not the men. They’re a bit calmer. Subdued.

But, “I bet”? Really?

“Aren’t you sad?” I asked.

“Yeah.” Eric lowered his voice. “But…um…this isn’t the place for you.”

“That is exactly how I feel, Eric. I don’t feel like I belong in this place of grief, either. No one does. But it’s part of life. You know?”

“I mean, you don’t belong here.” He looked back and forth. “I mean, you shouldn’t be in here. It’s the men’s bathroom.”

I looked up and saw that what he said was true. How had I not seen (or smelled) the urinals on the wall across from me?

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Death itself isn’t funny. Grief doesn’t tickle. It hurts. Right?

But sometimes funny things happen to us when we grieve.

Someone remembers a story about Grandpa popping out his bridge and scaring all the grandkids.

A child (probably one of those grandkids Grandpa scared) says something WILDLY inappropriate in the middle of the funeral prayer.

We notice that the magazine on Grandma’s side table had Tom Selleck on the cover and our older sister says, “She died a happy woman”. (It was a TV Guide. Yes, that makes me old).

Sometimes, we get a little dose of comic relief.

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Releasing February 15

My novel My Mother’s Chamomile (releasing February 15 with WhiteFire Publishing) is about a family of funeral directors. Death and grief are their job.

I tried my very hardest to write in some humor. To give my readers a little break. A chance to breathe.

Quirky character here. Physical humor there. Sarcasm and puns and a cranky octogenarian.

I believe that in the middle of mourning, we need mercy.

Sometimes that mercy comes to us as a laugh or a funny story we’ll tell for years.

Do you have any funny funeral stories?

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Bio: Susie Finkbeiner is a wife and mother living in the beauty of West Michigan. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys playing Scrabble with her husband, zoo trips with her kids, coffee dates with good friends, and quiet moments to read. Susie is the author of Paint Chips and My Mother’s Chamomile, both published by WhiteFire Publishing. Susie is represented by Ann Byle at Credo Communications.

Guest Post by Bob Evenhouse | Advice for the Writer’s Struggle

My good friend Bob Evenhouse of the blog Part Time Novel was kind enough to send me a guest post while I am trying to catch up on my sleep (new babies are cute little time vampires). Enjoy!

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Writers struggle. It’s our most consistent state. We struggle for the correct word. We struggle for the proper word. A word that is rhythmic, fitting, mood setting, decisively explanatory, and altogether perfect. Doing this once can be exhausting. Doing it one hundred and sixteen thousand times can be debilitating, especially when you are at the bottom of that hike looking up at the grand snow capped Himalayan-like climb that is your first draft.

This is why the writer needs goals. Just like climbers work in stages. The state of defeat lingers so close behind us that we must have a target on which to fix our eyes and it cannot just be the end, but a good healthy check point.

Here are some ways to do just that.

  • Set Reasonable, Yet Achievable, Goals: I have trouble conforming to the idea that my life is lived within the confines of time. My wife often accuses me of trying do too much in a day. When I get home from work I’d merely like so spend quality time with her, my daughters, watch a movie, do a blog post, write 2000 words, maybe write another blog, read and comment on my friends’ blog, start a business, and sail around the world. It’s difficult capping myself, most of the time, but realistic goals are especially necessary for the part time writer.
  • Set Time Specific Goals: As a part time writer it is easy to be sprinting through life then realize you have not written on your book for a few days or weeks. It is important to stay in the rhythm of writing or your novel will never get done. Make it a goal to write every day. Stand by it with a this-has-to-get-done-before-I-sleep-every-single-night mandate. Writers are sleep deprived manics. You must know this by now.
  • Reward Yourself: In the words of the employees of the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana: Treat Yourself. When you reach a goal, say 5,000 words, do something fun. Writing is draining and your mind will be happy for the repose. It’s healthy and fun to reward yourself for slaving over your baby. If you are out of ideas, see below. There are some great ways to Treat Yourself.

Guest Post by Cheri Swalwell | Daddy/Daughter Dates

A little while ago, I asked for a few guest post submissions to tide my blog over until I get back from my paternity leave. I wanted to dedicate the whole week off to taking care of my wife and daughters. So this is a post from Cheri Swalwell, blogger at http://journeysfromtheheartofawifeandmother.wordpress.com/.

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There was nothing like seeing the light shine in my daughter’s eyes when she got ready for her first official daddy/daughter date. It is amazing the significance that occurs when a daughter feels special in the eyes of her dad.

We started this tradition within the past year and aside from being a special time for my husband and his only daughter to bond without any interruptions, it has really grown into a time where life lessons are learned.

The first and most important lesson she learned was how special she is and how she deserves for the love of her life to treat her with respect, honor, and kindness. More than anything, the prayer we have for our children is that they will marry a spouse someday who treats them well. Manners are still important, so learning how to compliment someone, having the door held open, and not talking with a full mouth are all acts of showing someone they are important. With my husband modeling the type of behavior our daughter should expect from a man who wants to date her, hopefully she will not settle for second best in her quest for a boyfriend or spouse.

Another lesson she learned was how to let the man lead and to humbly give up control. In today’s society so many woman are single mothers or leaders in their workplace that it is hard for them to sit back and let the man take over planning the evening, choosing the restaurant, or even driving. My daughter and I had a chance while she was getting ready to talk about how nice it is to allow that special guy to have some fun planning the events. That is not to say the woman can never voice an opinion or even to plan a few surprises of her own; but if the man asks her out on a date, it is polite for the woman to allow the man to take the lead. It was an opportunity to teach her grace and to learn that sometimes just being together and eating dinner is better than making sure she is doing exactly what she wants instead of thinking of someone else’s preferences.

The look on our daughter’s face was priceless when she opened the door and saw my husband standing there with flowers (yes, we all live in the same house but going out on a date requires a little imagination). She barely knew what to say. I think it was important for her to see that she was special enough for her daddy to take extra time and effort to get dressed up for her too. Hopefully, she is learning that when you love someone, you are willing to go that extra mile sometimes.

It was not until they got back from their dinner out that I was allowed to share in the rest of their date together. My husband remarked how many people stared at them, smiling at how beautiful our daughter looked, and smiling that special smile that says they remember when their daughter was that age.

Since that special night, they have had several more daddy/daughter dates; usually coming just when she needs it most. None have been as magical as that first one (isn’t that how it goes with all first dates?) but all have been just as special. I know they are both looking forward to when their next one will be so they can make more memories together.

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Note from Josh: I am really looking forward to my girls being old enough to do the daddy/daughter date thing. If your daughters are old enough, but you don’t know what to do together, check out this book that was published by my bookstore’s parent company, Baker Publishing Group.