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Feb 20

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Getting Back Your Creative Mojo

Photographer: Stephan Mantler

Even among the most creative of writers, there are many times when we look at our blank piece of proverbial paper, and have no idea what to do with it. Perhaps it’s just exhaustion — maybe you’ve been cooped up for too long, and need to get out more to draw some fresh inspiration. Regardless of the reason, there are times where we all lose our creative touch, and especially for those that make a career (or obsession!) out of writing, getting back that mojo is our top priority. So here are some ways you can get it back:

RANDOM CONVERSATIONS

Talk with random people, about crazy topics, in the most spontaneous of conversations — you’d be surprised how much interesting writing you can generate in this way. In fact, psychology today points out that sparking conversations with random strangers can inspire big ideas, and also improve memory retention. The reason for this is that your brain responds more enthusiastically to new information.

LET IT ALL GO

There’s a reason why many people feel most creative when they are high on marijuana, or more rhythmically confident when they’re drinking, and it’s not something you need drugs to experience: just let it all go, and (as Morpheus elegantly puts it) “free your mind”. Studies confirm this can, in fact, positively impact your creative potential.

ROLE-PLAY

The phenomenon of role-playing, popular among fans of anime, video games, and dice-and-paper games like D&D, isn’t just useful as a form of entertainment — it’s also a highly effective means of brainstorming! So much, in fact, that people write volumes of creative material every day, without even realizing it. One popular role-playing portal has a longest roleplay (titled “Multiverse”) of a whopping 50.3 million words of story-telling! Role-playing is a good way to inspire yourself, brainstorm for fresh ideas, and learn the value of social collaboration. “Multiverse” is a fairly well-written story with the cohesiveness of a work written by a single person, and yet it was crafted by thousands of people around the world and spans hundreds of thousands of pages. The creative potential of role-playing is simply astounding and, if you can tap it, you’ll get your mojo back.

USE THE SYSTEM

There are plenty of tools and writing systems that will help you to get rid of writer’s block and regain your creative edge. One tool that I found to be immensely useful was Automattic’s Plinky prompts. They ask you thought-provoking questions that you can use as a launchpad for your creative shenanigans. It’s a surprisingly effective way to tap into your creative mind and, as they never run out of questions, you’ll never run out of answers, or inspiration. Plinky also has the added bonus of allowing you to automatically forward all of your posts to Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, and many other online blogging services.

HALLUCINATE

I know this might sound crazy (well actually, it kind of is!), but summoning visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations is a good way to get your mojo back. In the movie “Stranger than Fiction”, the author enters into a trance-state to find out how the main character of her story would feel when he dies, vividly envisioning herself dying in various ways.

Evidence of this method’s effectiveness is mostly anecdotal, but I challenge you, if you’re feeling creatively stagnant, to go outside and start experimenting with your imagination. Slice through the street light with your mind, watch it spontaneously combust into a million pieces. Then, force the reversion of time, channeling those pieces back into their original form and order. You will witness a full cycle of destruction and recreation, perpetuated  by your mind. There’s a link between creativity and mental illnesses like schizophrenia for a reason, and you don’t have to be crazy to make use of it!

MENTAL EXPLORATION

The mind is a powerful tool, and its creative potential is nearly infinite. While some are more predisposed to creativity than others, and even they can sometimes encounter roadblocks to their creativity. If that happens, and none of the other strategies outlined in this post work,  the best route to getting back and keeping your creative mojo might be to explore the potential of your mind, so you know how best to make use of it. Know yourself creatively: know what drives you, what moves you, and what keeps you going. This kind of knowledge is what empowers you as a writer, as a thinker, and as an artist. Go exploring, get to know all the things that make you tick, and you’ll find the key to unlocking your creative potential… Perhaps you’ll even find a part of yourself you never knew in the process.

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