Time-Saving Shortcuts That Boost Creativity

One of the greatest things about the writer’s life is that we’re not limited to strict, standard operating procedures.

In other words, we can let our imaginations take the reins during our writing process.

To me, that translates into a more satisfying life. Why? Because at the end of the day, or the year, or the decade, you can look back at all you’ve written and think, “I created that!

That means it’s beneficial to spend as much time as possible making your work as original and creative as possible, in other words, the best it can be.

Problem is that most of us are short on time.

That’s why today’s message is all about boosting creativity with a time-saving twist.

Here are some of the best ones:

  1. Boost mental flow with barbells.

    Exercise is widely known to enhance creativity, not to mention mood. But you don’t have to spend a full hour at the gym to reap the benefits.

    My secret is to keep little barbells on the bookshelf by my desk. They vary in intensity. I alternate them based on how much I need to get my blood flowing. Wrist exercises with the smaller barbells are great for ramping up blood flow, while whole-body squats or bicep curls with the heavier weights are enough to really energize me out of a fog, especially if I’m stuck for a word or good sentence.

    Just make sure you keep them in view from your desk; otherwise, you might not remember to use them.

  2. When you’re short on reading time, app it.

    Reading different types of material is a fundamental way to improve your vocabulary and writing style, as well as a great way to prompt ides. But if you’re pressed for time, it’s tough to plow through a lot of pages from different sources.

    The solution? Make quick reading accessible with smartphone apps for various publications, as well as ebooks, and read in little doses whenever you can. While you wait for your coffee to brew, pull up the TIME magazine reports. If you use public transportation and spend any time on buses or trains, that’s another great opportunity to get in some quick reading.

    It may not sound like much, but even short news bites can be enough to give you bursts of inspiration to use in your writing.

    Here’s a neat trick: if you come across a story that prompts new ideas, email it back to yourself through the app menu. Then when you sit down at your desk, you can translate it into a writing idea immediately.

  3. Keep a box full of random objects.

    I remember million-dollar copywriter Dan Kennedy once talked about a room in his house (he calls it his room full of crap) that’s loaded with random, unusual, and sometimes strange objects.

    He said he goes in there for inspiration. One time, when he was stuck for an idea, he went into this room and came across a Goofy® eraser – a token from a past vacation to Disney World. The eraser was imprinted with ‘for people who make goofy mistakes.’

    He ended up writing an entire million-dollar promotion based on this one souvenir – and for a product that was anything but animated or imaginative. His theme? “Don’t make this big, ‘goofy’ mistake …” and then he told the reader to take action on the offer.

    Whenever you come across peculiar items … things with stories behind them or those that inspire memories … toss them into a box near your desk. Like Dan, you can use the items to quickly spark your own creative imagination and serve as your muse.

What other time-saving, creativity-boosting techniques can you suggest? Tell me them by posting a comment below.

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Published: February 1, 2012

4 Responses to “Time-Saving Shortcuts That Boost Creativity”

  1. I recently stumbled upon a news app called "Zite". It's a news aggregator that compiles articles from various sources.

    In addition to the popular newspaper sections you can specify additional topics. For instance, I specified copywriting and writing. So I get blog posts and articles on those topics. Even AWAI articles show up there!

    In many cases you can vote up or down on an article. As Zite learns your preferences your experience becomes more customized.

    Guest (Bill Mazzacca)February 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

  2. In the email that was sent, the subject stated six time-saving tips. I only see three. :(

    CuddebackFebruary 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

  3. Hi Mindy, Here are three tips that I use when my mind is flat.
    1. Go out for a walk, or for a drive. Be sure to not take the usual street or road so that you are seeing some new buildings, scenes and ideas.
    2. I have a file with old ideas, project themes, articles on ideas, etc. that I open every once in a while to get a thought.
    3. I have recently started re-reading some of the classic English stories like Oliver Twist, Tale of Two Cities and historys of some of our great statesmen - Jefferson, Adams, Franklin. Their ideas and styles have given me inspiration as well as some material.

    Now you have 6 tips.
    Thanks, Mindy, I enjoy your articles.

    Guest (Geoff Wood)March 29, 2012 at 11:31 pm

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