101 Ways to Break Out of A Creative Rut

Todd Brison

(The options here vary from wildly practical to whimsy nonsense. Try what works, toss what doesn’t, and make better art.)

  1. Do something impulsive
  2. Buy the first item you see in a store
  4. Write down everything that comes to mind in the next 10 minutes
  5. Now pick your favorite sentence from there, start with that and do it again.
  6. Now pick your favorite sentence from there and do it again
    (subsets = clarity)
  7. Lift something heavy
  8. Run like you’re 12
  9. Play (you define what kind)
  10. Find a cause
  11. Find a calling
  12. Find a new friend
  13. Have a date
  14. Have a drink
  15. Have a cookie
  16. Have sex
  17. Have an orgasm
  18. Have a kid (and then steal their creativity)
  19. Collect excuses (these get very creative)
  20. Study someone else’s work
  21. Steal someone else’s work
  22. Support someone else’s work
  23. React to someone else’s work with your own
  24. Get some sleep
  25. Get some caffeine
  26. Get a pet
  27. (Or play with someone else’s)
  28. Take a shower
  29. Take a bath
  30. Take a walk
  31. Take a hike (it’s like walking but with trees)
  32. Write down 10 questions
  33. Answer one of them
  34. Make yourself scared (fear = adrenaline = ideas)
  35. Write down the people who inspire you most.
  36. Write sentences using your favorite word.
  37. Write down all your favorite things.
  38. Go outside
  39. Go to Walmart
  40. Go for a drive
  41. Go on a road trip
  42. Go broke (broke people are creative by default)
  43. Go visit an old friend
  44. Go to a local art gallery
  45. Go see a movie
  46. Divide a piece of paper into 4 quadrants. Write one word in quadrant one, then move to quadrant two and write one word. Repeat as necessary
  47. Drink coffee
  48. (Drink more coffee)
  49. Try a new look
  50. Buy a new outfit
  51. Learn a new skill
  52. Read a new author
  53. Listen to new music
  54. Set a timer
  55. Set a deadline
  56. Set your morning alarm 3 hours earlier for designated idea time (you laugh. It works)
  57. Have a tourist day in your hometown
  58. Visit a new store
  59. Give away your money.
  60. Give away your time.
  61. Give away your stuff.
  62. Allow your characters to do what they want (they are smarter than you)
  63. Talk to someone you haven’t spoken to in months (or years)
  64. Help your friend move (sorry)
  65. Watch a movie
  66. Call your grandmother
  67. Call your grandfather
  68. Call the oldest person you know
  69. Read the top 3 articles on Medium
  70. Read your work out loud
  71. Read bathroom graffiti
  72. Watch people at a local spot
  73. Watch a documentary
  74. Use shades of one color
  75. Use your least favorite color
  76. Use colors that do not match
  77. Use colors randomly (see balloon popping scene in Princess Diaries 1)
  78. Start naming everything (e.g. this is Marty the Microwave)
  79. Then give them a backstory
  80. Relinquish control
  81. Use this website and write 750 words a day.
  82. Use this blog post for a new type of journaling
  83. Read The Instigator’s Compass
  84. Read A Technique for Producing Ideas
  85. Meditate
  86. Mind map
  87. Monkey around (you got me. I just wrote that one for the 3rd “M” in a row)
  88. Create poetry (A Haiku will do)
  89. Buy some Play Doh. Build a masterpiece
  90. Do ^that^ except with Legos
  91. Ask someone else for suggestions (This is especially useful when making a list of, say, 101 things)
  92. Get a stack of post its — take 2 minutes to write a different noun on each one
  93. Do the same with verbs
  94. Combine both piles and separate them into categories
  95. Observe the patterns
  96. Start carrying a notebook (or just a pen and paper)
  97. Write down ideas that hit you in the middle of the day
  98. Create a creativity trigger
    (Pick one particular drink/song/sound/snack and start
    using it every time you create. After about three
    weeks, the item itself can put you in the mood.)
  99. Listen to an instrumental piece of music (the one
    time where dubstep and classical are equally acceptable)
  100. Write/Draw/Paint/Talk about how ^that^ makes you
  101. Learn to follow the rules like a professional
  102. And then learn when to break them

Never get stuck again

The reason I was able to come up with this list is because I can’t afford to get stuck. Without new ideas, I couldn’t eat, breathe, or think.

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I write books. When you're ready to write yours, call me.

Dickson, TN

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