Eleven Ways to Boost Your Creativity

Written by Caitlin Jans | May 7, 2017

If you have writer’s block, this list should be extremely helpful. If you don’t have writer’s block, this list should be extremely helpful. If you don’t believe in writer’s block this list should be extremely helpful.

I am a big believer in this quote by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.

I am not currently a writer that writes daily, but I have been. I am however a writer that writes regularly, regardless of whether I feel inspired to do so.

One of the interesting things I have discovered over the years is that the writing is generally of better quality if I am feeding my creativity through other ways as well. Some of these directly interact with writing, others do not.  However, all of them should give your writing a new energy, new focus, and new direction.

If you want to strengthen your writing, this is the article for you.

Look at More Visual Art

If you live in a city this might seem simple or straightforward. Just go out and visit the nearest art museum. But for those of us who live in small towns, or in the country, this can be much harder. But local small art galleries can still have interesting things.  Often small towns coffee shops and hair salons also host art shows. Many smaller towns now host art walks. I highly recommend going to these because you can see a wide variety of art in a wide variety of places, including artist studios.

I also recommend finding some good art books at your library. You can also look up art on your computer. If you find one artist you like they can usually lead you to others. But books should always be preferred as the rendering of art in them tends to be better than that on computer screens.

Change Where You Write.

If you always write in the same spot, or even just in the same three coffee shops, these places begin to lose their effectiveness as a writing environment.  This is not always the case, but it can be.

My advice is to get out of your house and write somewhere you have never written before. If you have never written in a coffee shop before, try that. However, I am more keen on writing in places where most people don’t write, such as museums, parks, the beach, or any place along those lines.

Spend More Time Walking

Ideally this time spent walking will be in nature, maybe even hiking. Actually, any form of exercise is good for getting the blood moving, improving the way your brain functions, and therefore improving your creativity.

A lot of people think of writers as sedentary folks but I can say, based on my personal experience, I have always been most productive in terms of writing when I am also walking a lot.

Change When You Write

If you have always written in the morning, and you now find yourself dreading writing, then, stop. Don’t force yourself to do it. Instead, change the time of day when you write. This is an easy ways to get at different material.

Attend a Writer’s Conference

Writer’s conferences can really be one of the best ways to stay motivated, and often they can help you generate a lot of good ideas. Loretta Bolger Wish wrote a great article about this.

Take a Writing Class

Sometimes you just need to be encouraged by other writers and be given inspiration and concrete feedback from a teacher. We like to think that we can manage on our own, but for our writing to grow we often need more feedback and a little bit of guidance. You can even take a writing class without leaving the comfort of your home.

Join a Book Club

Ruth O’Neil wrote a wonderful piece about why every writer should join a book club. Since joining my book club two years ago my writing has really improved.

Listen to More Music

I love music. In parts of my life I have spent a lot of time listening to it, live and otherwise. However, since having a daughter my time seems to be filled with listening to “not music” (usually her various barnyard sounds), or if music, music she likes. Her favorite song is Shake it Off by Taylor Swift. To give you some context I am more of a rock, indie, folk music person.

However, by deliberately listening to music more, mostly while walking, I’ve really started writing new and interesting things again. I feel a lot less stuck.

Use Writing Prompts

Writing prompts can generate a lot of writing. They can also encourage you to write about things you have never even thought of before. I have had very interesting results from doing a writing prompt about unicorns.

I like to do a timed three minute prompt most days before writing. I write down a title, start a three minute timer, and then just write as fast as I possibly can. The results are usually terrible, but afterwards my writing is much better.

Participate in a Writing Challenge

I have written about this before in the article “The Importance Of Writing Challenges”. For more details you can read the article. However, it boils down to this: when you set a challenge for yourself, like writing 30 poems in 30 days, you end up producing a lot of work that you otherwise would not have and you end up writing about things that are new and different for you.

Always Carry a Notebook

If you always have a notebook, no matter what you are doing in your day, you can always write ideas down. My major problem is keeping track of my various notebooks.


Bio: Caitlin Jans is a poet, novelist, and the editor of Authors Publish Magazine. Her writing can be found in The Conium Review, The Moth, Labletter, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Facebook.