7 Non-Writing Activities to Boost Your Creativity

Posted November 20, 2014 by Amanda Shofner in Writing / 14 Comments

Non-writing activities to boost creativitySometimes the best thing you can do for your writing endeavors is to take a break and focus on something else. Just because you’re not in your chair hammering out words doesn’t mean your brain isn’t hard at work.

In fact, your brain needs this non-writing time to sort out all your problems. I mean, how often do you think up a great comeback long after the opportunity has passed? It’s like that, except you can actually use your ideas.

Not only will these non-writing activities boost your creativity, they’ll help you practice self-care, which is as vital as eating, sleeping, and breathing.

1. Color (or paint or draw)

Get artistic! No matter how old you are, coloring is an uncomplicated and satisfying activity. For me, coloring serves as a way to clear my brain of unwanted or negative thoughts. When I’m finished, I have something to hang on the refrigerator, and I’m refreshed enough to take on my next writing problem (or whatever life throws at me).

2. Clean your space

I dare you to clean even if you feel comfortable with your clutter. After taking Heather Scott’s 30-day clutter clearing challenge (sadly no longer available), I realized that I’d become blind to clutter—and the anxiety it caused. Having a clean space can boost your productivity, and the act of cleaning can be soothing.

I totally recommend Heather’s challenge, by the way. My desk used to be perpetually messy, no matter how often I cleaned it. Now it’s stayed clear for a month (and still going).

3. Go for a walk (or bike ride)

True story, I thought about this post on a walk. The name, The Path of Least Revision, was born on a walk. Good ideas (and probably some bad ones too) happen when you exercise. Get outside, enjoy nature, and get your creative side going.

Though you can certainly run, too, I always find my mind has less wandering inclination and time when I do so. When I want to boost my creativity (versus train for a 5k), I’ll take a walk.

4. Get on the yoga mat

Can yoga unleash your creativity? A quick search for “yoga for creativity” on YouTube shows the answer is, “YES.” And as long as you’re practicing yoga, incorporate stretches to counteract all that sitting at the computer, too.

5. Cook

Whether you follow a recipe or make it up as you go along, cooking is creative. (You literally create something.) Plus, in some cases, it also gives your brain time to wander. And you should never, ever write hungry.

6. Take a trip

Both driving in the car and riding public transportation always give my brain time to wander (though not too much if I’m driving) and contemplate my writing projects. Whether it’s running errands or my weekly sojourn into Minneapolis, I often find myself working on my projects.

But you can travel, too. Seeing new places, meeting (or observing) new people, and switching up your surroundings also boost your creativity. You never know when you’ll see or experience something you can write about.

7. Talk with a friend

Better put: bounce ideas off someone. They’ll provide a perspective you hadn’t considered before, or they’ll point out potential issues you can address before they have a chance to materialize in your writing. Or maybe they’ll just tell you a story that sparks your imagination.

Bonus: If you want to score points with your significant other and work on your writing project, back rubs do nicely.

What non-writing activity do you enjoy?

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14 responses to “7 Non-Writing Activities to Boost Your Creativity

    • Yes! Reading is my escape (win!), but it also helps me determine what works/doesn’t in fiction, which I can translate to my own writing. And really, reading to be a better writer is so important it could be its own post. 🙂

  1. I usually go for a walk or have a bath! But I have to put a time limit on these things because then I’m just procrastinating or by the time I’m done I have to do something else besides write!

  2. Totally agree with you on the colouring one – it’s so therapeutic! I’m also planning to have a go at yoga soon. Aside from these, I find sewing to be good too.

  3. Willow

    I read these and thought, “We could be best friends!” I do all of these things when I need inspiration and/or ideas to write!

  4. Since I’m a travel writer, naturally taking a trip is where it’s at. Also: going for a walk, dancing, cooking. When I’m writing, especially long pieces, any physical activity is helpful and lets my subconscious do its job before I’m back on the laptop.

  5. My son is now a graphic designer; thus he is naturally creative/right-brained. Raising him was an adventure! He expanded my logical world.

    When he was 3 years old, he excitedly took my hand and headed back outdoors.
    Pointing to a long earthworm, he said, “Isn’t it the most beautiful worm you’ve ever seen?” My mind listed off the function of worms. While his was seeing how it moved, how its color provided safety-camouflage, how its length changed. Through his eyes, I found it truly was the most beautiful worm I’d seen.

    To increase my creativity, I follow my son’s viewpoint. I watch documentaries- did you know the a dragonfly has 4 wings that move independently? I color or doodle, watch children at play, read various genre, do Sudoku puzzles, play Canasta on the computer, knit, take long bubble baths and chat with friends with positive outlooks, and watch movies-especially those with well done choreography (danccing or martial arts).

    In this way I am using different parts of my brain… stimulating those little gray cells. “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.” ~ Poirot/Agatha Christie.

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