Do you know how to keep ideas coming? Ideas are as necessary to a writer as breathing. Having said that, certain activities will encourage the flow of ideas while others will block them as surely as my long curly hair clogging the bathtub drain. Do you know what these activities are? They’ll be different for everyone so it pays to be aware of them. Every time I notice a new one, I add it to my special list. 

Here it is:

Actions that encourage the flow of ideas
  • Swinging in my hammock 
  • Washing dishes
  • Weight lifting 
  • Journaling
  • Running indoors 
  • Taking a shower 
Actions that stop the flow of ideas
  • Playing solitaire 
  • Reading romances
  • Negative thoughts 
  • Worrying 

In general, any kind of physical activity that doesn’t require too much thinking or focus will help generate ideas. For instance, while I get plenty of ideas running laps indoors, I haven’t had a single one jogging outdoors yet. It could be because when I’m outside, I’m more focused on my surroundings: being mindful of obstacles in the road, making sure I don’t get run over by vehicles, and keeping an eye out for animals that might chase, bite or spray me.

Does that mean you can’t do the things you love if they don’t help your writing? No at all. You simply have to be smart about it. For instance, I love playing solitaire on my iPad, but I don’t get any ideas from it. Worse, it can steal valuable writing time as it tends to put me to sleep if I play for more than 30 minutes. So I now play just before going to bed. It quickly stops my brain from going in circles and lets me sleep like a baby! 

You can also make deals with yourself and save those idea-stoppers for special occasions. Use them as rewards, say, for a goal reached. If you know they have the ability to suck you in, set a timer so you don’t overdo it. In my case, the world would be a very sad place if I had to stop reading romances altogether. The thing is, once I start one, I often can’t put the book down until I reach the very last page. Knowing my weakness, I save them as a treat for the weekends. And seeing as it’s Sunday and I’ve finished this blog post, I can now enjoy my book totally guilt-free! Mmm, I think I’ll head for the hammock…

Feel free to share your list below.