The journey of the days and weeks deep and then deeper again into the winter season feels like a deliberate grinding down. A forcible slowing, as primal as hibernation. It starts on the first morning you realise you're getting up in the dark, and that night blankets the streets outside before the kitchen fires up for dinner. It gains momentum when the garden turns sparse and soil shows, black and hard, under the fallen leaves. When you pull your knitted hats and gloves and scarves out of storage. When your words float in visible clouds around your face as you leave the house in the morning.
Winter is a lesson in slowing down. In taking stock, in being more aware of the present. And I don't know about you but when I finally dial things back a bit, that's when the creative ideas tend to appear. It's as though my creative mojo is shy, waiting until most of the crowd in my mind has gone home and bunkered down where it's warm. Then, in the cold quiet of a winter's morning, ideas tip-toe back in.
So if your ideas have been shy of late too, or if they're just not being heard over all the stuff you've got going on, here are 13 ways to use the winter downtime to reignite your creative mojo.
Tend to your word garden. Or perhaps visiting a word gallery is more your speed, or sitting down to a word craft-table, or sweating it out at a word gym. It doesn't matter. The lesson is to do that thing that teaches your mind to unwind, relax, and let creativity grow. Failing that, just read this piece about "the word garden" anyway. It is beautiful
Notice the good. This tip for parents to "catch them doing the right thing" is actually a wonderful reminder for everyone. Try to look for the good in people, actively notice their better selves
Search for pockets of light. You might just find beauty
Solve an urban mystery. Like this cute story about "the dudes"
Be in the present. This beautiful neon clock, called ThePresent, completes just one revolution in 365 days. It inspires thoughts like this: "It's a reminder to stop everyday. It helps me find some grounding or a moment of reflection, a good thought, a deep breath..."
Unleash your creative soul, by signing up for one of these workshops
Make stuff out of cardboard. It doesn't have to be this fancy (but it could be)
Put down that phone. Step awayyyyy from the computer
And related to the above, start "single-tasking." This video is so funny, but true
Steal time for you. Whether you can grab five minutes or several hours, make the most of "me time"
Let others help you overcome your creative block. Danielle Krysa of The Jealous Curator has just published a book called "Creative Block" in which 50 international artists share their insights and exercises on how to get new ideas flowing
Show your joy. Don't be cool, celebrate it like a toddler
How about you? Do you have any tips for reigniting that creative spark?