As the holiday season approaches, and cold weather descends on most of us, it’s not uncommon to see creativity decrease during this time. Things are busy, so it’s hard to find time to write. When you do have the time, all you want to do is burrow under a blanket with hot chocolate and Netflix. If you’re in a particularly cold climate, you might even get snowed into your house — and cabin fever is not exactly the best inspiration for creativity.
But there are ways to combat this season and still flex your creativity muscles. We put together 10 tips to keep your writing going, even as winter and the holiday season try to stifle your creativity:
Try a different location.
We know leaving your home might be the last thing you want to do if it’s cold outside. But switching up your location if you’re able is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain and force yourself to think differently. When you feel stifled by your environment, that feeling of claustrophobia can affect your ability to think and write freely.
Try out a new coffee shop, the library, or even a co-working space until you find an environment where you feel yourself getting into a “flow.” You’ll know it when it happens.
Design your optimal workspace.
Can’t bear the thought of opening your front door when you see snow out your window? Then build your own “creative space” in your home. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Maybe it’s just a simple desk in a clear, dedicated space in your house that you don’t use for anything except writing and creative endeavors. Light a small candle. Bring in a yoga mat so you can stretch out when you get stuck. Motivational quotes, pictures of faraway places to inspire you, or a small hoard of office supplies: whatever works for you and gets your brain cranking is perfect.
Read something that you’ve previously written (and that you liked!).
A helpful trick when you feel the “writer’s block” coming on is to actually read something that you’ve written before. Think about a time where you felt like the words just wouldn’t stop. Go back to that article, chapter, or poem, and re-read it. This will remind you of your voice, and give you the confidence that, yes, you can find the words. Just stay the course.
Read a book, or an article from your favorite writer.
If you’re one of those people who can’t stand to read their own writing (trust us, we get it), read something from one of your favorite writers. Whether that’s a chapter of your favorite book (or a new one), an article from your favorite journalist, or a couple of poems from a poet who inspires you, immersing yourself in words can help you find your own.
Write from the “stream of consciousness” perspective.
This is one of our favorite writing tips: Sit down at your computer, or with a pen and paper, and just… write. No prompt, no particular topic. Just whatever comes to mind, total stream-of-consciousness style. The sentences don’t have to go together. Don’t worry about punctuation. Just release all the words inside of you.
Warm up with a workout or yoga class.
Did you know that movement, and getting into your body, can actually stimulate your creativity? Sitting hunched over a desk in the same position for hours, getting stiffer by the minute — that’s no way to get your creativity juices flowing. However you like to work out — yoga, taking a walk, a kickboxing class — step away from your writing and get moving.
Try something new.
Getting your creativity going again when you feel stuck is often about shifting your perspective. So try something new: go to a new museum, or an art gallery. Take a drive in a neighborhood where you’ve never been. Get outside of your typical routes and go-to places, and find new ones. You’ll be surprised at how much it can inspire.
Listen to music.
If you’re struggling in your own art, you can be inspired by different forms of art. Music is one of the best examples of this. For some, classical or jazz music with no words can get them into a flow state. Others get into a rhythm from the beat of a rap playlist. Whatever inspires you, build a playlist that you just use for when you’re sitting down to write.
Allow yourself to daydream.
Winter can so often stunt our idea of what’s possible. We burrow ourselves in those blankets, stay inside for days at a time (we see you, people who live in snow states), and don’t get out with friends as much. But take advantage of those moments to yourself. Look up new destinations that you might check out when it gets warmer. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write out all the things you’re dreaming of doing when nice weather comes back. Cold weather can be the perfect opportunity to plot out all the things you want to do and the dreams you have.
Learn a new skill or art.
This is all about stretching your brain in new ways. If you’re in a season where writing feels like a chore, try something else! Take a painting class, sign up to learn a new language, or start playing the piano. Getting creative in new (and challenging!) ways can often be just what you need to get writing again.
BONUS TIP: Let us help you! Sign up for Monday Motivation for a weekly writing prompt. Follow the Find Your Voice on Instagram for another weekly writing prompt (plus other motivation). We are here to help you get into a regular practice of writing — no matter the season.