How to Restart Stalled Creativity the Easy Way

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Hi, SEers, it is John with you again. The last couple of times, I have talked through some of the emotional sides of writing. I did a post on burnout and one on motivation. If you missed them, you can go Here and Here. This time I would like to discuss another topic that can put writing on a side rail. I’m referring to the absence of a story idea.

I think we have all experienced the situation where we sit in front of our computer or notebook, have coffee or whatever is the habit of the day, and have plenty of uninterrupted time. What we don’t have is a clear idea of where we want our story to go. For the pansters, there may not even be a story. This is when most of us tell ourselves we have lost our muse.

The loss of a muse is the personification of the loss or perceived loss of a feeling of creativity.  Whatever we call it, we know it to be that cold knot in the stomach, which leads us to believe we will never be able to create a story again. Right now, I have to interdict with the thought that never being able to create a story again is balderdash. Yes, you will create again. Yes, you can invent stories. Yes, this is temporary (Well, unless you decide to give up)

So, how in the heck can you restart creativity? It might be easier than you think. The simple answer is to restart creativity; one needs to do creative activities. Without getting into how the brain functions, it just makes sense. It is like making a muscle stronger by exercising it. Ever wonder why creative people tend to hang around other creative people? Creativity is a cycle enhanced through association with a creative environment. Okay, enough of the background. Here is a list that is not guaranteed to restart or improve creativity but could make a difference. If you think you are having a problem with creative endeavors (which we can label as a missing muse.), try one or more of these. You can make up your own as well.

1 Get some colored pencils and a coloring book and use them.

2 Get a number two pencil, paper, and mirror and try to do a self-portrait.

3 Write a new song. Not the music, just the lyrics. It can be to any tune you want.

4 Write a short story outside your regular genre. Who cares if it is good or not?

5 Use your cellphone to make a video that you also narrate.

6 Get some fruit together and draw it

7 Get some supplies and paint a fruit still life from your drawing

8 Buy an airplane, car, or craft kit and put it together

9 Watch a mindless action movie and take notes.

10 Tackle that painting project in one of the rooms

11 Plant some seeds

12 If you live in the North, shovel some snow. But pay attention to how you do it.

13 Get a copy of one of Gary Larsen’s Far Side books and read it.

14 Bake some cookies or a cake and then frost them

15 Put together a playlist of creative songs and play it.


I could go on, but the point is, the more you engage your mind in creative projects, the more your muse will want to get involved.

What do you think? Do you have any tips on restarting an idle creative engine? Let us know in the comment section.


56 thoughts on “How to Restart Stalled Creativity the Easy Way

  1. Pingback: Sunshine — Review & Giveaway – Rosi Hollinbeck

  2. I have a number of colouring books. I love to colour. It’s almost meditative because all you think about is what colour to use how dark or light to make it and to not go outside of the lines. Helped keep me sane 6 years ago. How ironic I took one out two days ago…

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  3. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    A day late, but still very much worth checking out, folks. Have the events of this year impacted your creativity? I know they’ve done a number on mine, as well as my health. (Stress is NOT our friend.) Head right on over to Story Empire and read John Howell’s post on jump-starting your creativity. You’ll be glad you did. And lucky me–I have an entire shelf of Gary Larsen’s Far Side books to help with mine. 😀 After you’ve enjoyed John’s suggestions, please remember to share the post far and wide, thanks. And thanks, John, for reminding us that our innate creativity is endlessly renewable! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You have some good suggestions, John. I’m a big fan of the Far Side books:) I head out into nature when I get to this point. Then I write some poetry, if I’m able. It seems to jump start that creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good ideas, John. I like the central idea that being creative helps you be creative. It works with a lot of things. When I was stumped writing software, I would often work on some mindless little utility program. When members of my team were stumped, I’d give them a simple assignment, sometimes without telling them why.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, John! This is an awesome post. I agree with all these ways to kickstart creativity. I love the idea of baking a cake and taking the time to decorate it – I mean really decorate it and make it beautiful. During the process, who knows what story ideas will pop into your head. Maybe the character works in a bakery and has given up on life and love until….Well, you get the idea. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, today. I took more of a long game approach because this happened to me. I keep a lot of notes. Those that seem to develop get a storyboard. It takes time, but I always have something I can work on these days. Writing two at once has really helped, too. If I feel stuck on one story I can switch to the other for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Terrific ideas, John. With cases spiking in my area, my muse is being uncooperative. So, I wrote a fun short story to get the juices flowing again. I may even do a collection since my muse seems happy at the moment. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s hard to look at an empty page and try to come up with an idea. I have to give myself a few days to play with ideas for a story, and I try to give it a few specific things to work with. Right now, I want to write a Christmas short story, so I gave it the seasonal theme and what characters I want to use and let it noodle with them. But if I want something totally new and different, I play Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korzakov or some other music with no lyrics and try to think of a story that goes with the music. Sometimes, that helps. If all else fails, I empty my mind and take a long shower:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is proven that the Ion exchange that goes on in the shower helps with idea generation. Sheherazade by Rimsky-Korzakov is one of my favorites. I also listen to Mussorgsky / Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition or Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. John, I can so relate to the idea of sitting down in front of the computer and having no idea of where my story needs to go. I was stalled for am embarrassingly long time on my current WIP. I love your list of creative ideas, and will add another–NaNoWriMo. It was the kick in the butt I needed to snap my creativity back into high gear. I also enjoy doing fiction prompts when I get stuck. The one thing not on my list? Shoveling snow, LOL! We had our first dusting of the year this morning. Summer can’t come soon enough!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Great ideas, John. When my muse goes silent, I shift gears and do mindless things. One of my best distractions is cleaning/organizing the garage. It’s amazing how chatty characters become. By the end of the day, I’ve finished chapters – in my imagination, and the garage is transformed! 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Those are some great ideas, John, especially seeing how they can be done without an audience in mind. That’ll allow me to truly tickle my creativity without the need to perform. I might just try one of these tips soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Great post, John. I love that picture of the car! Your suggestions are great ones. I have a list of muse-boosts in my book Creative Solutions, and one of the best ways I’ve found is to do timed writing on anything at all. The rule is no stopping and no thinking and no editing and you have to stop when your time’s up. And when you’re done … no judging! In the past, I’ve even used a game of Chess to get inspired.
    You nailed it when you said that any creative activity will fire up more creativity. 🙂

    Reblogged this on:

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  14. Pingback: How to Restart Stalled Creativity the Easy Way | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

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