Can’t Get Creative?

Image courtesy of
Free the mind.

Image courtesy of Free the mind.

Kevin Chiang, Photojournalist

You know what is just a pain to deal with? Writer’s block. You’re busy working, you’re feeling energized, and when you put pen to paper you find yourself dumbfounded. But what will you do? Will you sit there and keep staring at your pen until it sprouts legs and writes itself? Will you pout and flip the table and leave? Will you just start looking through your phone? If you chose any of the above, well, good luck with that. The correct answer was secret answer D, get creative. It is so creative that it took creativity to think up another option.  But I digress. Let’s get creative.

Make some space. Having more room gives you more space to think (pun intended). A cramped, windowless room locks you in, doing little to inspire the mind. After all, how can your mind touch the sky, if you’re in a place that makes you want to sight? Even if that is one of the cheesiest things you’ve heard in a while, it is true. Plus, it rhymes. Being confined can make you nervous, which makes you less creative.

Bring in some Technicolor magic. Color can help boost creativity, and that color can be anything, as long as it’s not dull. Colors such as green and blue can help break through writer’s block, but red will leave your head full of lead. After all, it’s quite hard to think when you are alarmed. However, mixing dark colors and dim lighting can help; by obscuring visual details, they help people think more abstractly.

On a related note, Mrs. St Amant suggests creating mind maps. A mind map is a diagram where an idea has many branching ideas coming off of it. They usually involve a lot of color. “I teach that to students to help them,” she states. By “forcing themselves to write something down, even if it isn’t usable later,” she hopes that students will learn that the thinking process is just as important as the writing itself.  Her biggest hope is that students will be able to “be surprised by what [their] brains can generate.”

Be happy. Feelings of anxiety and stress can really break the flow, man. A happy mind is a wandering mind; it isn’t focused on one worry or problem. The same cannot be said for a nervous mind. When you’re nervous, is your mind clear, or tinged with fear, be it shapeless or focused on something? Now, how is a mind supposed to think outside the box if it’s too busy worrying about what’s in it?

A last way you can get those creative juices flowing is by literally getting those creative juices flowing. While a mind might experience writers block from being stuck thinking of so many things, moving is a way to clear the mind. Time spent on moving the legs and pumping the heart is tim spent not thinking about how A connects with B which interacts with C. For Mrs. St Amant, running really helped. “When I was training for a half marathon, I would go on two hour runs,” she remembers. “As painful as it was,” she states, “the only thing that let me get through the pain was actually to exercise my mind harder than my body.” So get up. Go outside. Walk around for a bit. Look at some clouds. Look at that flower. Then go back inside and finish your writing.