After more than a year of pandemic concerns, political upheaval, and social unrest, my creative brain can best be described as “in deep hibernation.” Rather than getting words on the page, I’ve been hiding out in old favorite comfort reads and watching rebroadcasts of game shows from the 1970s and 1980s.
Calming, perhaps, but probably not a good long-term strategy.
Now that I’ve been successfully vaccinated and can leave the safety of my living room (theoretically), I’ve begun to try to get back to something approaching normality. As I mentioned the other day, one of my first changes has been to acquire (second-hand) an elliptical machine like I used to work out on at my office gym. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I pretty much hate working out (even after years of doing it), but after more than a year with only virtual workout classes available, I have definitely missed the benefits of working out. Fortunately, the workout equipment shortage from the early days of the pandemic has subsequently turned into burgeoning supply of slightly used exercise equipment.
Thus, I was able to purchase just what I wanted and at a pretty good price.
I’m now three weeks into my new routine, adding another minute to my workout time each day. After a few days I noticed that, in addition to some newly sore muscles, my brain seemed to be a little clearer and I actually had a creative thought or two. According to the recent New York Times article Can Exercise Make You More Creative?, that’s not unusual. Apparently, “active people come up with more and better ideas during tests of their inventiveness than people who are relatively sedentary.”
I do know I’ve heard a number of authors talk about their creative processes and more than one has mentioned getting great ideas while out for a run or how, when they get stuck, going for a hike or doing something physical can trigger a solution. That’s not really surprising since studies have long showed that exercise can increase productivity in many areas of your life, giving you more energy and improving mental capacity.
Who doesn’t want that?
A true test of my slowly awakening creativity occurred this past weekend when my son and I found ourselves brainstorming a new Hallmark Channel story idea. I used to leave those movies on the television as a bit of background noise, so we’re very familiar with the actors, actresses, and storylines. We’ve often bounced possible story ideas and amusing titles around and I’m pretty sure this latest idea is both unique and ticks all of the Hallmark standard story element boxes. It may never get further than the living room, but it was fun to brainstorm and get that burst of creativity.
Proof that it all is not lost!
This week I’ll be adding a few more minutes to my workout time and seeing if I can get a successful writing sprint or two out of it. Fingers crossed for success in both areas.
So, are you doing anything to boost your creativity or to get back to something approaching “normal” life?