3 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

How long has it been since you wrote or said something new?

If you’re an expert in your field or are regularly hired to write the same types of articles, you may be well-acquainted with The Rut.

The Rut makes writing routine. You’ve written so many business profiles you can do them in your sleep—without an interview. You’ve shared your message so many times that your loyal followers have your jokes memorized.

Many successful speakers, coaches and authors build their businesses on one core message. As a result, it’s common practice to repurpose content. Rather than write new articles about their subject matter, they pull something out of their files, move a few paragraphs around and… voilà!

Repurposing content is fine—even appropriate—in small doses. Just don’t allow The Rut of easy writing make your message stale or, even worse, boring. You NEVER want to bore your audience members into clicking to another blog, closing your book, or flipping to a new article.

Keep Your Message Fresh

Today, why not take a fresh look at your message and your approach to writing? Can you use a new story to get your point across? Can you pull in current events? Can you think of a new angle to take?

If you’re deep in The Rut, you may need a boost of creativity to push you up over the edge and back into the land of free-flowing ideas. Here are three ways to boost your creativity so you can get out of The Rut.

1. Break with routine. If you’re right-handed, brush your teeth with your left hand. Take a different route to work. Go to a new restaurant and eat a dish you’ve never tried. Take yourself off autopilot and choose to notice what’s going on around you.

“When you break out of your routines, you give yourself something to look forward to. You introduce the element of surprise back into your life,” writes Mel Robbins in Stop Saying You’re Fine. “Breaking out of a routine creates a ‘butterfly effect’ in your life.” Small changes can set off a chain reaction of creative thinking.

2. Visit with people who energize and encourage you. Most of us have at least one or two very positive people in our lives who spark new ideas in us. Spend time with those people! You don’t have to talk about your writing; talk about the day, your work, their work… whatever makes you happy. Just being with these people will draw out the best in you. Have a pen and note pad handy so you can jot down any ideas, phrases or stories that come out of the conversation.

3. Take a lesson. In The Pocket Muse, Monica Wood suggests taking a class—any class: ballroom dancing, French, bird watching. She notes that characters need hobbies, and even if you don’t really care about bird watching, you might learn something that one of your characters needs to know.

Non-fiction writers can also benefit from this creativity-boosting tip. Like breaking with routine, learning something new in a hands-on class jolts you into awareness mode. Your mind loves to learn—it craves new information.  When you feed your mind with new experiences it will reward you with fresh ideas.

(One more way to boost your creativity with fresh ideas and fun experiences is to attend our workshops & retreats!)

Now it’s your turn. How do you break out of The Rut? Leave a comment below and share your creativity-boosting tips.


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Deby - May 27, 2011

Erin, I’m all to familiar with the rut. This week I even invited a guest blogger to write my blog post because I was too overwhelmed to write a simple article. That guest blogger suggested that I go to a book store and camp out for a day to search magazines and book titles for ideas for my blog. I’m now actually looking forward to spending a day at my local book store and I’m expecting an avalanche of ideas to jump off of those shelves and into my imagination. . . . hopefully inspiring some new ideas for articles.
Love your blog! 🙂

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Erin K Casey - May 27, 2011

Thanks for the kind remark, Deby. 🙂

Your guest blogger is right! If you’re stuck, reading other people’s writing is a great way to get the ideas flowing. If you find something you like or agree with, you may get an idea on how to expand on that point. If you read something you DON’T agree with, it can spark a ideas on how to approach the topic from a different angle.

When you go to the bookstore, make a long list of ideas that you can refer to for future posts. Best of luck!

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Nancy Hovde - May 29, 2011

I also visit the library and/or a local bookstore and flip through magazines to get new ideas. And I find what you said true for me – visit with those people who tend to inspire a creative thought or new idea has always been a great help to me with my writing. I also find meeting new people always opens up my awareness of all the topic possibilities. If you get invited to attend a BBQ with a friend, a party or some event – go. You never know who you might meet that will re-inspire you.

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    Erin K Casey - July 21, 2011

    I love people watching, too. When I’m at the store, mall, sitting on a park bench… I always see someone or hear something that sparks ideas.

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Martha Giffen - May 29, 2011

Don’t we all end up there at some point! I like the idea of just changing up the routine. I will go around and read other blogs to sorta get my brain going in another direction! I also love magazine headlines to get my creative juices flowing!

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    Erin K Casey - July 21, 2011

    Oooh yes. I have stacks of magazines in my office. And sometimes, I’ll just to sit at the bookstore and browse through pub after pub.

    Thanks for the comment!

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Jenny Flintoft - May 30, 2011

Great post! I love the “Break with Routine” idea – this is something I often share with people on my courses and events. It’s absolutely amazing how you see the world differently by doing a routine thing in a totally different way and it just shakes up those creative juices – even for those people who are convinced they’re NOT creative! Keep up the great work, Erin!

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    Erin K Casey - July 21, 2011

    Thanks for the encouragement, Jenny. And yes! It works whether you’re writing, developing a business or marketing plan, or just trying to figure out where to go on vacation. Shake things up and see life in a different light.

    Reply
Ethelyn - September 27, 2011

Erin, I’m all to familiar with the rut. This week I even invited a guest blogger to write my blog post because I was too overwhelmed to write a simple article. That guest blogger suggested that I go to a book store and camp out for a day to search magazines and book titles for ideas for my blog. I’m now actually looking forward to spending a day at my local book store and I’m expecting an avalanche of ideas to jump off of those shelves and into my imagination. . . . hopefully inspiring some new ideas for articles.
Love your blog!

+1

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Carrie Lynn Lewis - May 29, 2015

Erin,

Thanks for the tips. Routine is definitely one of my comfort zones and one I need to break out of now and again.

I especially loved the suggestion to take a class. I hadn’t previously considered that, but it’s a great idea. Are you limiting this to in-person, hands-on classes or are online classes also acceptable?

One thing I’ve been doing this week is reading blogs and jotting down ideas for possible blog posts that come to mind as I’m reading. I got half a dozen or more in just one morning’s worth of reading. Those titles are now safely stored in my blog’s memory for the day when I need an idea.

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