I saw a robin the other day. After the snow, the ice, the sleet and the bone-chilling cold, the birds are back. And not only a robin, but geese. And none too soon. The grey days had begun to muffle my creativity. All that grey, day after day.
Not sure about you, but right about now, I need a spark, some way to bring some sizzle back into my creative life. So if you are on the edge—or even if you live where the sun always shines—here’s seven ways for the next seven days to stoke that creative fire and rev up your writing, your singing, your speaking or whatever creative pursuit is your usual specialty.
Idea #1. On your daily walk, walk backward for at least ten steps, just after you turn down a new street. Walking backward requires concentration, and pulling on different brain cells, and will stimulate you to focus. Watching for the crack in the sidewalk or the rock on the road keeps your mind open.
Idea #2. Visit either your local library or the local bricks and mortar bookstore. Walk over to a topic area you never look at and pull out a book. Horses of the World? Agatha Christie? How to Cook for One? Touring England? Stand still and look through the table of contents and two or three chapter first paragraphs. Feel your mind stretch right then and there on the spot. It’s daydream fodder.
Idea #3. Look through the local paper and find an event that you would never attend. Get a ticket if needed, write down the time and place, and put it on your calendar. On the appointed day, attend for at least half an hour. You’ll see people that you’d never connect with in an ordinary day, dressed in ways you don’t dress, talking about topics you never even think about. As you leave, write down at least three things that were new to you. How about attending the League of Women Voters meeting with the guest speaker on your state’s history? Or the local roller skating rink during open skate? Or if you have the courage, the Wednesday night youth meeting at church. And please, don’t forget the act of writing—it cements it in your brain.
Idea #4. On this, the fourth night, write down one surprising thing you noticed today, and one thing that made you smile. It can be small—like how you noticed that birds swoop with almost no effort—or really big—noticing that the school string concert had almost the entire class playing. (Wow.)
Idea #5. Try a brand-new way of doing something. Check out online grocery shopping and drive over to pick up your pre-selected groceries. Go to a specialty store instead of buying everything at the big box store. Walk into a bakery and purchase homemade bread. Make your own bread! Go to the local coffee shop instead of the national brand.
Idea #6. Sign up for a conference that will give you ideas wrapped in friendship for an extra boost of energy! I’m thinking now of the upcoming Global Media Summit, because that’s right around the corner. It’s full of new ideas and wonderful people and good conversation that will give you lots of creative sparks! (Check it out right here.LINK) For creativity, a conference is hard to beat, as what’s new is even on the agenda! So register right now!
Idea #7. Finally, in your week of creative expansion, find a place to sit quietly, with a pad of paper. This step is crucial, and crucial to do after at least some of first six ideas. Ask yourself questions for at least half an hour, preferably an hour.
Here’s some to get you started: What could I combine about the ideas I saw this week? What idea struck me where I have a sense of passion? How could I make any of the ideas bigger? What is the opposite of an idea? What would be a next step to gather more information? Where do I go from here and with which idea?
With at least this one idea, think it through thoroughly. Examine it from every side. Think hard, think carefully. And then write down what you’ll do with this one idea, to turn it into some form of action.
That’s seven days and seven ways. What other ways might you suggest? Start your own list…wait, I think you can even buy a book for lists and keep the ideas flowing. Hurry, grab that pencil. I’ve got mine out already.
Jan Shober is a media analyst, blogger and Vice-president for Strategy for Finney Media, specializing in helping you create experiences that cause your audience to come back for more.
Jan began her media journey as a ten-year old with a neighborhood newspaper—and continued shadowing her love of words to work in radio. She spent time in South America working in international media and about twenty years with Focus on the Family first in creative for audio then in distributing media.
Her big reason for her work? Her life mission to help more people grow in Jesus. See more about Jan’s journey at: http://finneymedia.com/about/our-team/