This time every year I start thinking about spring cleaning. Winter is becoming stale, and I’m antsy to open windows to refresh the house. Creativity can become stale too, especially when you’ve exhausted all your ideas and none of them has worked. What can you do to refresh your craft and ideas? I’m going to offer some outside-the-box suggestions for opening your sensory windows.
Change your modus operandi and step out of your comfort zone. You will reap benefits from choosing activities completely unrelated to writing.
For example, go for a walk. Don’t assume anything from what you see; simply observe the scene before you.
Next, focus on little details and allow fresh thoughts to come to you.
Hmm. Children are walking to school unaccompanied by an adult. Seems to be a safe neighborhood. The people in this grocery store look happier than those in the grocery store on my side of town…why is that?
The point of this endeavor is to gain a fresh perspective on life and see the world from different vantage points.
Here’s a list of activity suggestions:
- Read a couple of books from a genre you don’t normally read.
- Take a different route to work for a week.
- If you live in a rural area or a suburb, go into the city and vice versa. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Watch a TV show you haven’t seen before.
- If your preferred entertainment is a theater or concert, go to a high school or college basketball game, or vice versa.
- Visit several churches of different sizes than yours.
- Watch news coverage of a situation or event on several TV channels.
Right away, journal about what you observe: the visual surroundings, smells, sounds, light/bright vs. dark/uncomfortable, the people, general atmosphere, and so on. Record what your five faculties told you about those new surroundings. How did the goings-on affect you emotionally? Spiritually? Physically?
These activities will breathe fresh air into stale thought patterns. Perhaps you are already in the habit of inserting yourself in new surroundings to stimulate fresh perspective. Of the ideas I’ve suggested, which one(s) do you think would be most helpful to your creative self? What other ideas have you tried?