#atozchallenge I is for Inspiration

Writer’s block, procrastination, a missing muse…whatever you call it, I’m a firm believer in sitting down to write, and writing anyway. The best method of getting through writing tasks is to [Nike plug] Just Do It.

But for times when sitting down does draw a blank, today’s post will simply list a few ideas, tools and websites, and have some fun. There is a bonus post for today also with an associated idea – the Idea Inventory.

Random Creative Inspiration Ideas

The Well of Creativity, Artist’s Dates and Clubbing Ideas

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London.

Okay, Jack. I believe you. Put down the club.

well-w-bucketBut anyway, where do you seek such inspiration if you can’t simply wait around on your chair for it?

The answer often comes in the form of a “well”, it seems – a creative well, and a date.

“It’s possible for the well of creativity to run dry. Some advice encourages us to write every single day; no matter what, get your butt in the chair! I disagree. If the words don’t come easily, take a quick breather. Go for a walk, visit a museum, listen to music, travel, daydream. Creativity flows best when you are inspired, and sometimes getting your butt *out* of the chair is the best remedy to writer’s block” – Erin Bowman

“This idea comes from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” which is a fantastic book. It is basically some time alone absorbing and refilling your creative well… It can be something entirely different, like a pottery class or a show, or could just be a walk or a new gallery exhibition” – Joanna Penn, in a 2010 post describing the Artist Date.

Artists Dates (with Morning Pages), are a tool described in Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’.

artists-date-bookFrom Julia Cameron Live: –

“Artist Dates are assigned play.

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”

Artist’s Way study group members have taken themselves on dates for decades now. I personally don’t enjoy going out alone to places like museums etc, – that’s fun as a family. But I do make use of the concept in my more simple “strolling in the park” habit when I get chair-ache.

Green for Creativity

mmw-color-green-032012A German Study in March 2012 found that green boosted creativity:

“…a brief glimpse of green prior to a creativity task enhances creative performance.

This green effect was observed using both achromatic (white, gray) and chromatic (red, blue) contrast colors that were carefully matched on nonhue properties, and using both picture-based and word-based assessments of creativity. Participants were not aware of the purpose of the experiment, and null effects were obtained on participants’ self-reported mood and positive activation”.

In other words, although the study subjects believed there was no effect on their mood or feelings of inspiration, those that were subjected to green were found to be more creative – without realising how.

Note that this worked not only for visual image-based tests, but simply by seeing the word: green. Green. Green. Green.

As yellow and sky blue signify happiness within many cultures, this study does explain why, when suffering from lack of inspiration or creativity, we are often advised to go and sit out in a park, a meadow, or a wood.

More on the study here (which also is where the image came from).

Writing Prompts & Writing Exercises

writing exercisesI’ve previously discussed exercises like free-writing and journal writing for both dumping worries out of our minds, planning out our writing day, and generally getting writing started with exercises.

There are many [to the power of many] websites and books which offer writing exercises and prompts. Most work on the principle of setting a limit on our writing – normally a time limit, sometimes a word limit.

Limiting our writing sparks further writing.

Get yourself a few books, and bookmark some good websites for times when you want a fresh prompt or exercise. I’ve listed a few in the resources below.

Whack Packs of Creative Dice-Rolls

story cubesCreative writing dice packs, packs of cards to randomly inspire, there are even creative apps for your tablet or smart phone now.

  • Rory’s Story Cubes’ and the other dice packs in the series are good fun for story making;
  • Roger von Oech, author of ‘A Whack on the Side of the Head’, also has the fun Creative Whack Pack;
  • a similar card concept can be found in an iPhone app – iOblique.
  • There are also some interesting writing prompt apps available, featured in this blog post.

Further Resources (A mish-mash)


Download Hugh MacLeod’sHow to Be Creative’ from ChangeThis, subscribe to ChangeThis for other free manifestos, and also subscribe to Hugh MacLeod’s website Gaping Void.

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
The Artist’s Way
Creative Whack Pack
Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques (2nd Edition)
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Writing On The Right Side Of The Brain Workbook
The Pocket Muse and  Pocket Muse 2: Endless Inspiration for Writers
Bonnie Neubauer : TheWrite-BrainWorkbook:366Exercises to Liberate YourWriting(text only)[Paperback]2005
The 3 A.M. Epiphany
Seth Godin: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

AtoZ2013 _thumb

A-to-Z-Core-Habits3-_thumb.jpgThis blog post participated in April 2013’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, along with many other blogs on subjects as diverse as writing, foodie blogs or mummy blogs.

This blog post is part of a themed series or pack on Writer’s Core Habits. I acronym this as WCH or WCHP © . Do a search for these tags, and you will find more in the series.

No affiliate links are used in these posts.

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