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Four techniques to tap into your imagination

Have you ever noticed how being creative and being stressed out aren’t very compatible?

Coming up with new worlds, creating characters, and putting words in people’s mouths require us to think big, tap into our imaginations. The writer’s life requires a certain amount of stress-free time for maximum creativity.

Just being alive brings a certain amount of stress. Add to that stress caused by high pressure jobs that can knock us out of our groove and block our ability to create. Even just fatigue from regular day-to-day life and all its demands can deplete us of creative energy.

If you find you need to fire up your imagination, here are some ways to get back in your groove.

1. Go on an artist date. I first heard about artist dates in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She calls artist dates “assigned play.” Visit an art gallery or museum and stare at the art. Stand close and step back. Analyze how the paintings or art work look different depending on your vantage point. Take your camera and go on a photo walk around your town. Snap pictures of anything that sparks your interest. You don’t necessarily have to look at art. One of my writer friends also likes to knit, so she goes to yarn stores and look at all the colors and textures of yarn. Cameron says an artist’s date is wooing your own consciousness and refilling it with images and experiences that replenish your inner creative well.

2. Focus your mind on one thing. Find an activity that absorbs your thinking on the moment at hand. Years ago, I studied a form of martial arts that required me to focus every minute of the time I was practicing on the movements and doing them in a prescribed way. The same thing happened when I tried rock climbing. It was exhilarating and relaxing all at the same time.

3. Let your mind wander. Find a comfy chair and let your thoughts go. (This might not be so good to do while you’re driving.) Gardening, however, could be a good activity provided you’re careful with those clippers.

4. Spend time in nature. If you live near a wooded area, spend time in a forest hiking or hanging out around a campfire. Water is soothing. If you’re able, visit a lake, river, or beach. Use all your senses. Smell the air and listen to the gurgling of the creek or lapping waves. I find it relaxing to walk around my neighborhood and look at the plants and trees that are blooming. Go to an arboretum or garden store and look at the plants. Even just spending time outside rather than inside can be stress relieving. When the weather is nice, I like to eat breakfast on my porch.

How do you like to destress and get into your creative zone?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love these ideas. I’m actually doing the Artist’s Way right now, and the Artist’s dates have really become invaluable to my sanity. I really like your 2nd suggestion. I’ve really overloaded myself as of late, and I need an alternative to watching tv to quiet my mind. Thank you.

    January 19, 2013

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