What Fuels Your Creativity?

Steve Roller here …

Yesterday, I talked about the idea of putting aside some of your life goals to focus on the most important ones.

And if you missed it, my article, Mini-Sabbaticals: Rocket Fuel to Shortcut Your Path to The Writer’s Life, was about creating short escapes to recharge your creativity, learn new skills, and accelerate your career. If you want to reinvent yourself and launch (or re-launch) your writing career, there’s no faster path.

Today, I want to focus on one aspect of that formula.

You and I are in the business of generating ideas. In most cases, ideas that sell a product or service. Our livelihood depends on a constantly flowing creative spigot.

So what fuels your creative spirit?

Inspiring books and articles? Reading A-level copy for ideas? Caffeine?!

For me, it’s experiencing new places. I’ve done some of my best writing when I’m in a new spot for the first time.

My temporary office in Ecuador has a view of La Basilica, Quito’s version of Notre Dame, to the south. Directly below my window is a small cathedral and plaza. To the west is the massive 14,000-foot peak of Mount Pichincha in the Andes.

There’s nothing like seeing amazing sights to make you feel completely alive, and that energy transfers to my creative thought process.

I also work best in solitude. Even in a city of almost 2 million people, I feel like I’m in my own little corner of the world from my fifth-floor perch where I can observe the world going by beneath me.

What about you?

Do you draw energy from people or solitude? New places or familiar surroundings? Quiet coffee shops or a bustling office with other people around?

When you need to snap a bout of writer’s block and spark some creativity, what does the trick? Changing your location? Going for a brisk walk? Grabbing your favorite beverage?

Now, put it into action!

  1. First, identify what gives you a jolt of creativity. Whatever it is – a daily double espresso at 2:00 p.m., walking the dog before the sun rises, spending two hours a week at a bookstore, or a monthly massage – by all means, keep doing it!
  2. Leverage that activity into productive writing. If you can, bring a notebook along to jot ideas down as they come, or follow it immediately with a focused block of uninterrupted writing.
  3. Reward yourself. After a particularly good day of writing, splurge on one of your favorite energy boosters, and keep the cycle going.

I’d love to hear about what works for you. Other AWAI members will probably benefit, too. Drop me a quick note by posting a comment below.

One last thing. Even though I work best in solitude, sometimes the writer’s life can be a little too solitary.

Besides travel, I’m inspired by other creative people. I’m drawn to big-thinking, future-oriented, intelligent minds (I’m hoping some of it rubs off on me by sheer proximity).

That’s why every year this lone wolf writer spends four days hanging out with about 400 of the sharpest and most motivated people I know. Where else but AWAI's FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair?

I’d love to connect with you there for coffee in between sessions, for dinner afterward, or a late-night drink where the conversation might get really deep. Seriously, it would be great to compare notes and swap stories.

Until we meet, best wishes for your creative spigot to always be turned on high.

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Published: August 16, 2011

10 Responses to “What Fuels Your Creativity?”

  1. Your advice about 'taking a break' reminds me of a big part of Julia Cameron's teaching in the "Artists Way". That's always been the hardest part for me...'the play date':/


  2. Easier said than done for me. I have to make a conscious effort to give myself permission to take a break. As copywriters,writers and information marketers, we get paid for results - not effort. And that's a big switch in mindset from the way most of us were raised.

    So, I believe, you have to give yourself permission to relax...to take time off. Part of that is understanding that the world will go on with or without you. If that's the case, then you are the only one who will make time for you.

    Sean McCool

  3. What actions put me on a creative roll? Longtime, coffee. Early outside, sit in sunshine. Buddhist, chant. Facebook, new contacts. UFO News, Conspiracy Theories. Then came Michael Masterson's famous words "Fire the Big Guns First!" I laughed out loud, loving those words, I just let go with humor. That simple powerful expression, then I found his site, Michael was laughing. Kept image in my mind. As an artist, too, I'm familiar with "on a roll" about creativity. Science reads stimulate my mind. So, I need a high stimulation of everything! Living the Unbalanced Life, AWAI's article, that's me.


  4. The daily routine you have mentioned is good and should be followed but my routine is quite different, according to Mchael Masterson'Fire the Big Gun First' but how about 'firing with a shrt gun'? After having early morning coffee I glance through newspaper, I got something creative out of that and than my work starts, before breakfast somerhing is being created. Every one have their own stretegy and way of working, I think there should'nt be any particular hard and fast rule and in my opinion a copywrite must follow the basic rules. AWAI is doing a great job, educating writers and bringing their writing skills towards the international standard.

    Guest (Yaqeen Qr)

  5. listening to Bebel Galberto and Sting radio stations on Pandora.com

    it keeps me motivated and i've noticed when i get stuck the right words or idea comes along in the music to keep me going.

    ~ jon paul

    Guest ( jon paul)

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