Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

6 Proven Ways to Fuel Your Creativity

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From Jeff: Today’s guest post is from Dr. Jeremy Statton. Jeremy is married to Amanda with four children. For more about him, check out his blog Confessions of a Legalist or connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

There is something inside of you that needs to get out. A part of who you are that you want to share with the world. In our digital information age, this has never been easier.

fuel creativity

Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

You set up an account with the blogging platform of your choice. You spend countless hours choosing and customizing a theme that fits your message. You write an informative and attractive “about” page.

You write three gut-wrenching posts in which you pour out your soul, and it all seems so easy.

Then you sit down to write more and nothing happens.

Your mind is blank. Your fingers motionless. The words missing, and your creative energy gone.

Now what?

One of the most challenging aspects to maintaining a blog (or any creative writing endeavor) is coming up with content on a regular basis.

Fueling Your Creative Energy

Here are six ways you can keep your creative gas tank full and continually develop ideas.

1. Read.

Nothing helps me write more than reading. The most consistent way my brain is stimulated for new ideas and content is by pouring over the pages of what others have penned.

If something you read motivates you, write about it. If you disagree with something someone else blogs about, explain your side of the story. Read, and then take the next step.

2. Observe.

Life happens. Everyday. It seems obvious, but we walk around most days oblivious. Take a moment and just watch. I bet you see something that you could write about, that your audience would love to hear.

One of my most popular posts came from noticing a partially-eaten donut in the lounge at work. Somehow, I made a connection to it, and my readers loved it.

3. Listen.

Share your ideas with those around you and then listen.

You can learn all sorts of new information from people you come across everyday. Just ask questions (maybe even dumb ones). Then be quiet and listen.

4. Write.

Often, my published blog posts look nothing like the idea that I started with.

As I do the work, new ideas come into my head. After putting several of these new ideas together, my final blog post is born. Just like in Field of Dreams, write it and they (the ideas) will come.

5. Live.

Participating in life can be an excellent fuel for creative thought. Do something that you have never done before.

Travel to a new place. Make new friends. Eat something disgusting.

Then write about it.

6. Expose.

When you open up the inner most parts of you, ideas will grow. If you hide behind closed curtains, fearful of what others will think, then you might as well stop now.

The more you expose yourself, the more expressive and bolder you will become. If you share your heart, your audience will love you for it.

How do you get your creative energy flowing? Where do you find your topics?

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About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://facesoflions.wordpress.com/ Dave Wilson

    These are all very good suggestions.

    Sometimes, the best thing to do is walk away for a little while, and come back to it later.

    Thanks,
    Dave

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I am going to have to think about it and reply to your comment at a later time.

  • http://www.storywrought.wordpress.com Lizzie

    Once in a while, I’ll turn off my iPod but leave the earbuds in on my early morning subway commute. I always hear the most interesting conversations, and stories usually come to me when I try to imagine back stories for the speakers. 

    Also, exercise is a great way to tap into your creativity. Running is good, and walking is even better (probably because you’re not preoccupied with your lungs bursting). The worst thing you can do is to stay seated in front of the computer and attempt to force creativity.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I love the deceptive eaves dropping maneuver. 

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    For me exercising and reading usually get the creative juices flowing.

    Good suggestions. Listening is always important.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Listening is something I don’t really do enough. What other activities get your creative juices flowing?

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  • wife of a legalist

     Dumb questions.  I love dumb questions!  They can really help you learn and send you down rabbit trails that will lead to a fun way to restate the obvious.

    Re: point 5:  A better way to live is to make your kids eat healthy foods (aka”something disgusting”).  You will hear comments such as “Why are you making me eat bat barf? Are you trying to kill us?” You can also tell your kids that the nutritious dinner is actually spider pie with extra legs.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      One of my goals in life is to ask as many dumb questions as I can. It basically means I am asking questions and I am okay if some of them come out dumb. Plus people can get a good laugh.

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    Nice post Jeremy! I think that one of the best ways to spark creativity is to go do something totally different. I was feeling pretty dry once so I cleaned my room. It worked.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      It sounds like you have to reboot or something. Clearing out your mind can be really helpful.

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    I would add exercise to the list. Often my best ideas come about while I’m running. There’s something about physical activity that can really get your creative juices flowing.

    I also get ideas in the shower, but I doubt “being clean” is good advice here. ;)

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Not being clean could result in some interesting topics.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

        There definitely is a bit of a double entendre there, huh? ;)

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    This is great stuff. I definitely think reading was my “gateway drug” to blogging. I started with reading around 40 books in one year and then focusing on reading blogs before thinking, “Hey, I want to do this too!”

    I like the physcial act of writing almost as much as the content that’s created.

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  • Lia London

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!   I loved this.  Been there, and all of those things do, indeed, help!  Great advice.

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  • http://twitter.com/JoshTaylorSongs Josh Taylor

    Good stuff.  I find blog ideas by 1. getting out and trying to have interesting stories to share, and 2. writing specifically to help others instead of myself, 3. having a cause, an overall purpose for something I’m trying to do with my life which is greater than myself which the blog only one part of.  When I changed these things for my new blog, creativity opened for me like a flood.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshTaylorSongs Josh Taylor

    Good stuff.  I find blog ideas by 1. getting out and trying to have interesting stories to share, and 2. writing specifically to help others instead of myself, 3. having a cause, an overall purpose for something I’m trying to do with my life which is greater than myself which the blog only one part of.  When I changed these things for my new blog, creativity opened for me like a flood.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I have seen it mentioned a lot – read.  It’s one the greatest equalizers on earth and a great catalyst.

    I enjoy writing as well – it can be amazing what thoughts come out when you actually think about them long enough to sit down and put pen to paper (fingers to a key board).

    Filling a need is one thing that motivates me.

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