Ask Inkwell: How do I keep ideas or words flowing?

February 14 by

Ask Inkwell: How do I keep ideas or words flowing?

Ugh! When I’m working on a project, how do I keep the ideas or words flowing?

Feeling like a stagnant puddle

This is a question we get quite frequently.

It’s a question we ask ourselves a lot as writers and artists.

Creativity can be a cruel mistress, and what will work for one, might or might not work for another.  In the end, it’s finding what works best for you.

Here are three ways that work for me personally. Give them a try!  Even if they don’t work for you, just reading them might spark something for you that will work.


3 Ways to keep the creative well flowing:


1.  Do something visually a little offbeat.  

Several years ago I worked at a shopping network.  One of the first days I was there, I ran head long into a woman with long curly salt and pepper hair, deep brown eyes, and a smile as bright as the sun.  She wore mismatched earrings, and multicolored bead bracelets.  When I commented on the earrings, she said she liked to stay creative.  It stuck with me as an offbeat thing to do, but also as a brilliant idea.  Flash forward about 14 years, and I’ve translated it to mismatched socks.  Doing something visually offbeat, especially something I can see often as I go through the day, keeps me centered in my creative nature, and therefore, keeps my creativity flowing.  What kind of visually offbeat thing could you do?


2.  When something isn’t working, shift to a different type of creating for a little while. 

When I’m trying to find the right words for a post I’m writing, or a play, or class, and it’s just not flowing, I get away from it for a while.  I go watch a great movie.  I work on an art project.  I cook.  Something that breaks the concentration of what I was doing.  If you’ve seen the latest Men in Black, it’s the concept of “pie.”  Usually, within about 20 minutes or so, my head circles back around to the problem, and comes up with the right phrasing or just the right word.  So, when it’s like pulling your teeth out to get something down, written or otherwise, turn to another creative outlet for a bit.


3.  Get out of the house. 

Get out into something you enjoy;  a trail you like to walk, a shopping center that’s fun to window-shop in.  Go for a drive down a long forgotten road, and notice how much or less it’s changed versus how much you’ve changed.


Cathy Lynn

About Cathy Lynn

Cathy Lynn is an artist, writer, executive trainer, and the co-owner of Inkwell Basics. She has published two coloring books, Conscious Coloring and Carnal Coloring. She's currently working on a novel, and turning her farm into an event venue. She previously blogged at 3 Shared Paths, a personal growth blog that was read worldwide, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She lives somewhere between the city and the country with her three cats, Sebastian, Miss Kitty, and Ella.

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