Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Creativity Icebreakers

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From Jeremy: This is a guest post from Jamie Kocur. She is a recovering worship leader and a coffee addict. You can learn more about her at her blog or follow her on Twitter.

I love writing. I love singing. More recently, I love to write songs. Above all, I love the feeling of a creative release in all of these pursuits.

I HATE getting stuck. And let’s face it, we ALL get stuck in our creative pursuits. That blinking cursor on the computer screen or song lyric in need of a chord scream at me: YOU’RE STUCK.

But you know the beautiful thing about creativity? There are so many ways to be creative. I’ve found one of the best ways to get unstuck in my creative endeavors is to go do something ELSE creative.

Here are some of my favorite creativity icebreakers:

Photography

I love photography. I even flirted with the idea of pursuing it more professionally, until I realized my true gifts were in music and writing. Sometimes when I get stuck on words, images are a great way to trigger my brain.

I like to take a walk, stopping to look at things like flowers, trees, or whatever strikes my fancy. Often, the pictures I take help to get the words or melodies flowing.

Coloring

Sure, it sounds childish, but when was the last time you picked up a coloring book and some crayons? Coloring is therapeutic! Don’t just use the small Crayola box of eight colors; go all out and get the jumbo pack. Then you have choices like “indigo” and “tumbleweed.”

Sometimes just playing with the colors is enough to get the creativity churning. You don’t even have to buy a whole coloring book. You can print coloring pages online. I’ve found some more intricate coloring pages by Googling for “adult coloring pages.” (I was quite relieved when that search came up clean!) One of my favorite sites to print coloring pages can be found this way.

photo by Ed Schipul (creative commons)

Collages

I haven’t done this one in awhile, but every time I do, I remember how much I enjoy it. Maybe you’re writing on a particular topic but keep coming up blank. Grab some old magazines and cut out anything that relates to the topic at hand. Then slap some glue on the back and paste it all on a big sheet of paper. Once again, images can help when the words are stuck.

Painting

I am NOT a painter. That didn’t stop me from buying some canvas and paint one weekend. I painted some simple pictures that represent two of my loves in life: music and coffee. They hang in the wall of my home to remind me that I am a creative person. They’re not fancy, but they were sure fun to do.

Magnetic Poetry

If you’re a writer, I highly recommend this. It’s a bunch of words that stick to your fridge. Mine are organized into parts of speech (yes, I’m a nerd.) Sometimes it’s nice to have words at your fingertips instead of pulling them out of thin air.

There are tons of ways to be creative, even beyond whatever creative endeavor you may be pouring your energy into!

When you feel stuck creatively, what helps to get you going?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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19 Replies

  1. Love this post Jamie! I get unstuck by talking with others. Recently I chatted with a wise friend who is stuck, and it turns out she is actually stuck in some of the SAME areas I am. We came up with some attack plans together and I think it really encouraged us both.

    1. I bet that your plan will work, not because of the brilliance of it, which I am certain it is, but because you are doing it together. Encouragement goes a long way.

      1. Umm, excuse me Jeremy, are you doubting my genius? Ha! No, I totally agree. Support and encouragement REALLY help. Jamie thank you for this uplifting post!

    2. Thanks Jim. I’ve found talking with others really helps too. You feel like you’re all alone in the struggle until you discover you’re not.

  2. This is great, Jamie. Funny story, it’s actually the topic of a post I’m planning in the relatively near future. Other creative projects can stress me out more (especially painting) because I’m such a perfectionist but sometimes you need to get the creative juices flowing in a different medium.

    Katie

    1. I think this is a great point. You might let go of the perfectionism if the medium isn’t your primary focus because you aren’t as worried about the outcome.

      1. That may be true but it may also be intensified because I want it to be perfect and no matter how hard I try, I’m incapable of it. For example, I painted a figurine for my sister the other day. Through most of it, I found myself whimpering because the paint brush just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. I did learn painting’s not a stress reliever but I’m very good with crayons. :)

        1. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to color outside the lines?

          1. Yesss……
            Actually, in all ironies, today “writing” involved sketching a building. It wasn’t pretty but it was good enough for us to know what we were talking about. It felt really good too!

    2. I can relate to that. I can be a perfectionist in some projects too. I think it all comes down to finding what works best for you. In my case, I am so not good at painting that I was able to let go of all preconceived notions (like I tend to have with writing and songwriting) and just let it happen. If coloring’s what does it for you, stick with that. :)

      1. Good thoughts. I’ll probably stick to the crayons… or not make painting projects into gifts.

  3. It always is inspirational to me when I look at what other projects that people have done. I think it expands my thinking to see other peoples approach or take on something.

    1. It’s good that you have these kind of friends. I only recently met a friend that is a writer who lives nearby. I look forward to encouraging each other.

    2. That’s a great point. Someone else’s creativity can spark your own.

  4. Great suggestions Jamie. I love photography as well and have had some wonderful creative moments behind a lens. When I lived in Toledo Ohio I used to visit the fabulous art museum there. I often found I wanted to write about what I was seeing and started taking a notebook with me when I went. Their glass pavilion was particularly nice and prompted at least one blog post. I also find motion helps jog my mind (pun intended!). I don’t particularly love to exercise but a brisk walk outside or a stretching video indoors helps loosen the flow of words.

    1. I also love long walks and find they help when I hit a wall. I love your line of loosening the flow of words. Good visual.

  5. I talk looong walks, exercise, do dishes, listen to music, read (real paper book), talk on the phone, talk to myself (aloud). I also take breaks to ‘do nothing’. Not all creative stuff but they get my creative juices flowing again :)
    Awesome insights!

    1. I’m trying to train myself to do some “nothing” time. I find it helps my overworked brain to calm down.

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