#10 Turn off your phone: It does not help to have five million people texting or calling you when you are trying to write something. It is best to just power down your iPhone or at least put it on "Do Not Disturb." Your friends will survive for an hour or two while you get down to business.
#9 You know what? Just turn off all electronics: As with cellphones, other electronics provide unlimited ways to divert your attention. I doubt you can crank out a good story or poem while having Facebook open in a separate tab - unless maybe you are writing about social media.
#8 Listen to music: So for people like me, this technique does not help; music tends to distract me. I know several people, however, who have musical muses from whom they gain inspiration. A friend of mine loves to paint while listening to the instrumental soundtracks from Tim Burton movies. She claims that listening to this music is inspirational for her.
#7 Find a quiet space to focus: If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and prefer to work in complete silence, then welcome to my world. Remove yourself from any noisy animals, crowded living rooms, or talkative roommates to reduce interference. If I am in my apartment and here so much as a whistle from down the hallway, I am screwed. A quiet space is not such a bad idea when trying to make a piece even Vincent van Gogh would weep over (or cut his ear off for).
#6 Go to the gym: Getting your blood flowing does wonders for both your mind and body. Working out on the elliptical or running on the treadmill can reduce stress for some people. Once you have showered off and feel relaxed it should not be a problem to think of at least one idea.
#5 Write about completing a daily task: While this may seem odd, it actually helps a lot. I learned this trick from a professor here at Towson during my junior year. He challenged us to write a prompt that involved a lot of action verbs instead of littering every sentence with multiple adjectives. We could write about anything we wanted, but he suggested explaining a daily task. After describing my pain over cleaning the dishes in my apartment, I felt inspired to continue with the story. I learned that even something as insignificant as taking out the trash could lead to a whole new story. Give it a try!
#4 Grab a bite to eat: How can you really work on an empty stomach? Food fuels you in so many ways. Before you sit down and start working, save yourself some stomach-rumbling and get some food. This advice also goes in line with gaining some inspiration from completing a daily task. You just killed two birds with one stone - how does it feel?
#3 Get a decent amount of sleep: This goes along with the idea of self-care. If you cannot function as a proper human being, chances are you cannot function as writer. Take some time to catch some z's and wake up feeling ready to get at it! Little sleep leads to little focus.
#2 Go for a walk to clear your head: Fresh air does the mind and body good. Stop staring at your desk; there are not many ideas there. Instead, go find a penny on the sidewalk or talk to a friendly stranger. Random acts like these are likely to help the cogs start turning again.
#1 Take a shower or a bath: This is my favorite thing to do when I am trying to gain inspiration. Simply standing under a warm stream of waters seems to let my thoughts flow more freely. Taking a shower or a bath is a time of relaxation that does not force you to think too hard about anything in particular. You would be amazed at what you can come up with when your mind is truly free to think about anything.
Grub Street Team Member
The image above is "Flight" by Gillian Collins.