We’ve talked about writer’s block often and at length here on the blog. But we haven’t really talked about creative block. Here’s why I think there’s a difference between the two. When writer’s block strikes, you can’t seem to write anything. But when creative block strikes, you’re getting words written, but they may not be as exciting and colorful as you’d like. Your creative juices aren’t flowing, even if your fingers are flying along that keyboard. Sometimes a writing routine can milk you of your good ideas until you feel like your writing is bland. The whole point of keeping up that writing routine is to keep putting words down, but will it matter if everything you write is just like the last thing you wrote?
A post on LifeHacker this week posited several ways of boosting your creativity. There are some great tips on this list such as restricting yourself and seeing how creative you can get while working around those restrictions, indulging in some healthy daydreaming, and exercising to get your brain working. But my favorite tip on the list is to “separate work from consumption.”
Also known as the “absorb state,” this technique has been shown to help with the incubation process and is far more effective than trying to combine work with creative thinking. It makes sense too—we are often in two very different states of mind when absorbing an activity and when we are trying to create something.
I may have written about this before, but there are days when I feel like absorbing creative works (input days) and days when I feel I need to create my own projects (output days). As soon as I realized that this was something my brain was doing on its own, I tried to be conscious of when output days struck, and when input days came along. Separating those two and knowing which mood I am in has helped me do research and write more effectively. Check out LifeHacker’s tip list and see which ones might help you with you writing.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan