How to Jumpstart Your Creative Mojo

Backburner by Jann Alexander ©2014

Get your creative mojo off the back burner .  .  .


When you’re just coming down from a huge burst of your creative output, you don’t want to totally flame out. But after you’ve made like a squirrel and stored all of those creative nuts, you’ll probably need to hibernate for a while. It’s a reasonable reaction: creatives have to conserve energy every now and then, or risk total creative meltdown. When you’ve been on a creative tear, ideas are barraging you left and right, day and night, too fast to even get them all down (much less act on any of them), so you’ll need some time off to contemplate, sort, process.

You may feel like you’ve suddenly plunged down a deep hole into a non-responsive introverted state, but there’s no need to fear that. You can just put all of that fantastic energy on the back burner for a bit, and take a big time out. You’ll come back out swinging, refreshed and renewed, once you’ve accepted your need for a restorative break.

Here’s how I got my creative mojo back after a few days of hibernation recently:

1. I watched this video over and over again, for a reminder of what a special class of people creatives belong to, and what it takes to be good at it:

2. Then I watched another video over and over again, too, for no special reason except that it gave me a cheap tug at the heartstrings. And that’s a good thing, when you’re a writer trying to relate to your characters’ hearts: Here’s SuperBowl 2014’s Best Spot (IMHO), Puppy Love.

3. I reflected on an infamous quote from Steve Jobs, because it surely does apply to the many creative undertakings I’d like to tackle:

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”

—Steve Jobs

One Summer by Bill Bryson4. I read an expansive book, filled with magnificent real-life characters and surprising, real-life events, to stir my imagination, and reviewed it on Amazon: One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson.

5. I browsed an art supplies catalog from DickBlick.com, to dream about new methods and techniques, and made a small, inconsequential, totally necessary art purchase.

6. I shared some helpful information I’d gathered from some research I’d been doing with someone who needed some help.

7. I explored blogs I haven’t seen before, and instead of just clicking the bright gold “like” star, I gave some thought to the topics, and then commented (hopefully cogently).

8. I reviewed rough drafts from my current writing project, to remind myself what I’d accomplished, where I’d been and where I was going.

An Ideal Husband9. I relaxed in my favorite relaxing chair, and watched Oliver Parker’s An Ideal Husband  (wondering is there such a thing? besides mine, that is?) on my iPad, in the dark, under a blanket, with a glass of a full-bodied red and a bite of dark chocolate.

10. I drank coffee, had a vigorous morning workout, drank more coffee, and ate a healthy lunch. Bingo! I was back!

Some of this may work for you, or none of this may work for you. But something like this will. The main point is this: Give yourself permission to take care of yourself for just a bit. Then trust that when you allow yourself to rest and recharge, you’ll return good as new. Or maybe even more brimming over with new ideas. ♣

What are your restorative strategies to keep your creative energy burning on high? Please share what works for you in the comments.

Where do my creative energies go? Lately, to the novels I’m writing:

Jann Alexander's A Habit of Hiding_Book Cover

Want to know more about my upcoming novel? 

Get a sneak peek at A Habit of Hiding here

For more on the art of writing, look HERE.


About the photo: When you’re cookin’ the one thing you can’t do without is . . . You guessed it. Gas. [ Daily Prompt: Magic Ingredient ]

22 replies

  1. This is a great reminder to save ourselves before totally burning out! I’d never seen that version of Ira Glass video. There is another out there. And now I’ll have to go watch that movie…”An Ideal Husband”….hmmmmm.

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  2. Well, listening to baroque/renaissance music, going for a bike ride or reading a book or magazine about a subject I don’t know much about. But yes, occasionally wandering among new blogs is occasionally like fluffing fur on a friendly dog: tickles our imagination/thoughts. 🙂

    At best, is to expose some of my senses, reawaken them. I’m a fairly sensory person: I remember and learn best from hearing, seeing, doing.

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  3. Excellent post. I love that you acknowledge the up and down flow of creativity. Reading and writing and writing and reading and getting a change of scenery are helpful to me. Sometimes I have to write about my lack of ability to write…

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