How Running Away Made Me More Creative


Check out my latest published poem at Tipton Poetry Journal (page 30).

It’s been a busy month or so of writing. Where at first I started using prompts or looking for ideas, I am now finding ideas flying in faster than I can record them (and I try).I went from struggling a little to idea overload.

What changed? Time away.

Just six days away from a computer and phone did it. I went with my mom to our favorite place in Ontario. No Internet, so no cell phone or laptop. I went armed with my small notebook and a pen. Even though my pen ran out of ink (always travel with a spare), I managed more poems in those six days than I had in three months.

Plus, the ideas are still coming. I was in the city over the weekend and two more poem ideas came to mind.

Okay, so you can’t get away right now. There’s the day job, or the kids are back in school, or there are commitments you can’t overlook. Life is busy. I get it. So is mine, and it sucks that we let that get in the way of our writing.

So here are a few things I’ve done to run away, even if for just a few hours:

Swing. The second I sat down on my new garden swing, the ideas came flying in. Why? Because my brain went into “relax” mode. There’s something magical about being outside and having that time to just sit.

Crawl under the table. Don’t laugh. It’s an exercise I use when I’m writing children’s stories, one I’d picked up from an old Writer’s Digest article. Why it works: it gives you a different perspective, a more childlike one. You remember being a kid — when there weren’t cell phones and deadlines. Try it. Just sit or lie down and look at the world in a different way.

Sit down at the mall with the intention of noticing. Just watch people at first. After a while, you’ll notice either the shoes or the clothing or the expressions… then the wheels will start turning. But just sit there at first. Your only goal is to look at each person – really look at them.

Head to Starbucks. Or your favorite cafe. Take a paper and pencil — leave the electronics behind. Just sit. Let your mind rest. If you feel like writing, do. If not, just sit. Try not to think or come up with ideas. Pretend you’re sitting on a lounge chair at the beach or at a spa.

Take a hike. I get a ton of inspiration when I hit the trail. I walk without headphones or music. I just listen to the birds, the wind, whatever happens to be occurring.

Meditate. Meditation starts with clearing your mind. True, you move into a more mindful, intentioned state, but the clearing of the mind and the act of repeating your mantra is soothing.

Poets, how do you escape?

Do you find ideas more abundant in those times?

What’s your best method of being inspired?

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