By Daniel Ford
I’ve been in somewhat of a creative lull lately.
Sure, I can instigate an email chain discussing the best television theme songs (coming soon) and giving all of our readers quality book recommendations, but I can’t seem to turn my muse’s attention to the short story and novel ideas I have on the shelf.
I’m starting to feel a little like Mark Ruffalo’s character in “Begin Again.” Of course, without the alcoholism and quasi-homelessness. At the beginning of the film, his character is a spent creative force. He’s facedown at a bar (Arlene’s Grocery, where I’ve been creatively inspired before), drunk off bourbons and beers he can’t afford, and recently fired from a record company he founded.
Keira Knightley steps on stage and starts to belt out a tune, which gets our anti-hero’s creative neurons firing on all cylinders.
That’s the moment I’ve been sorely lacking recently. I’m aching for the thunderbolt that clears the alcohol-infused cloud and forces you to refocus on your true purpose.
I know it will happen. The muse always comes back. But I’m impatient. So, as I often do, I reached out to the Writer’s Bone crew for some ideas on how to light a fire under my sleeping muse's ass. Our badass writers rose to the occasion as always.
Going to an outdoor café and people watching can definitely spark your creativity. I also find that getting new glossy magazines in the mail each month gets me inspired to write.
Rachel Tyner: Number one is socializing! Get out of your own head and bounce, ideas, and thoughts off of other people. Even totally random conversation can spark something in you. Go to a new place. Learn something new. Be shocking /shocked. Look at Humans of New York posts (ha!). Try a different outlet; instead of writing maybe draw, paint, or play an instrument.
Rob Bates: I respond well to having an assignment and a goal. When I just sit down to write, I'm lost.
I would also recommend keeping a file of all your unfinished half-baked ideas. That will give you a starting point when you have nothing to work on.
Lisa Carroll: Go see finding “Finding Neverland” at the American Repertory Theater! Seriously! That's exactly what the play is about…J. M. Barrie’s creative slump. And it's magical!
(The musical closes Sept. 28, 2014).
Hailey Reissman: Drink a shitload of coffee and then assign yourself a place to be that is different than your normal haunts (a coffee shop, a quiet place outside, something else, whatever, it’s your life) and then make yourself be there for a certain amount of time with the sole purpose of writing. No checking email. No social media. You can bring books and articles, so that even if you don't get anything written, you forced yourself to really focus on it.
Cristina Cianci: My philosophy is when in doubt, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Italy. Although, if those aren't a possibility, I guess one can substitute in any other local museum or country for inspiration. Travel, travel, travel!
Lindsey Wojcik: Reading (anything) usually sparks some sort of creativity for me. A walk in the city alone helps. And candles and wine are my weapons for just sitting down to write.
Dave Pezza: Serious suggestion: Buy a typewriter, and use it, a lot. For me, nothing has ever successfully combated writer's block. But the intimidation of sitting in front of a typewriter, nothing between you and the blank page, makes me so anxious I'm compelled to write something. It's usually crap, but then again most first drafts (and most second drafts) are terrible. It really forces you to edit later on. All of your mistakes are hidden in the black and white of the page, no squiggly red lines, no right-click spell checking, no backspace. Just the truth.
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