Get Creative

3 Ways to Bust Through Writer's Block

I love my creative friends.

Writers, painters, fashion designers, bloggers, hair stylists, chefs, illustrators, jewelry makers…their life and work inspires me.

Yet, even among the most talented and productive, a bubble of unease and discontent
often rises to the surface. Troubling bubbles containing questions like:

Girl Q
How do I come up with ideas?

How do I keep things fresh?

How can I write about a topic in new, interesting ways?

How can I stay inspired?

How can I break out of a creative rut?

Without further ado, here are three ways to bust through writer's block: 

1. Describe What You See.

It seems almost too simple…but have you tried it? Wherever you are, STOP. Get out your notebook and pen (you do carry them with you, right?), and begin writing down what you see. (If you’re not old-school like I am, yes, by all means, use your glowing box to jot down your impressions). Describe what you smell, what you hear, what you feel. Take it all in, capturing your experience with words. Don’t censor, don’t judge and don't stop until you’ve written for at least 15 minutes.

2. Make a Magazine Collage.

Scissors CupI could write an entire blog post on what you can do with old magazines. For now, we’ll focus on an image collage. Flip through the magazine, scissors in hand (wait, put those down while flipping…safety first!), and choose images that intrigue, inspire or delight you. Heck, maybe even pick a picture or two that ticks you off. Cut them out. On a piece of sturdy paper like poster board, tape or glue those images. Notice if themes seem to jump out to you—ideas that you can develop into a story or poem.

Alternatively, you can start your collage with a theme already in mind, and then treasure hunt through the magazine for related images. Examples can include My Protagonist’s Life, What I Find Beautiful, Color Riot, How Alone Looks and so on. No magazines around? Try Pinterest, which is a virtual corkboard that you can use in the same way. 

You can even make a Life Map by cutting out empowering, inspiring images and phrases encapsulating the creative life you desire.

3. Get a MagPo set.

What is MagPo? Why, it’s Magnetic Poetry! I’ve been using MagPo for over a decade and it’s super fun…especially if you use the fridge for making poetry and stories. My husband eventually grew tired of having hundreds of tiles covering the refrigerator (and, no doubt, standing in front of it for many minutes creating word wizardry!), so I agreed to take them all off (le sigh).

Mag po zombie SmallHowever, I discovered a better way to use MagPo, especially since it’s portable: cookie sheets. Yes, you read right. You can buy a cheapo cookie sheet from the dollar store and have a shiny new canvas for serious word painting. Best of all, you can carry it from room to room! (Or, if you have a sizable backpack or tote, from place to place!).

No worries if you don’t have a cookie sheet handy: you can arrange the words on a table top or other flat surface, and then write your creation down for posterity. And, really, no worries if you don't get a MagPo set ASAP because the creators allow you to make Magnetic Poems at their site!

The MagPo empire has expanded exponentially beyond the original kit and magnetic wall calendar. Below are but a few of the themed word kits you can get in MagPo.

Question: Are you in a creative rut now? What are you doing to help get you back on the road to artistic expression? What's worked for you in the past? I'd love to hear about your experience!