1. Walk down to your favorite cafe. Look and listen to the world around you, and let your mind wander. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that start to flow.
2. Go to a quiet coffee place, restaurant, or library, and read a chapter of a really good book. Not necessarily a “classic” or something pretentiously intellectual, but something you enjoy reading and like something you’d want to produce.
For example: when I was working on my urban fantasy novel, I read a lot of Good Omens and American Gods.
3. Be sure to listen to music – it doesn’t matter what – that makes you feel passionate or emotional, particularly in regards to something you want to write. When I’m writing a scene that’s fast or angry, like a fight scene or a confrontation, I’ll listen to a lot of punk rock and heavy metal, like Disturbed or Metallica, or if I’m writing something upbeat I’ll channel my inner Star Lord and listen to some upbeat 80s music. Basically, listen to music that matches the mood of what you’re trying to write.
4. This is going to sound painfully cliche, but keep a notebook. I would frequently write down ideas during boring lectures (though for the sake of your GPA, you may not want to follow my example), as well as jot down the oddly specific sentences that popped into my head. Sure enough, some of them strung together to create coherent stories. They’re also lots of fun for doodling.
5. Try to keep a clean working environment. Personally, my brain is easily sidetracked by clutter, and will procrastinate what I actually need to do by cleaning off my desk or re-organizing my pencil drawer. Try to get this done ahead of time.
6. If possible, don’t work at home. My house is full of distractions, and I just feel fresher once I’m outside.
7. Seriously, cafes are the best. You won’t feel isolated, but there’s usually not too many people you know to provide a distraction. Couple this with a pleasant atmosphere and caffeinated beverages, and you’ve got an ideal writing environment.
Find a cute, cozy cafe and make it your sanctuary.
8. Don’t edit until you’re completely done. Writers are infamously hard on themselves, nothing is as discouraging as seeing how clumsy and disjointed your first draft appears. Rewrite and revise afterwards, but in the meantime, keep moving forwards.
9. Write every day, even if you aren’t necessarily feeling it. It might not seem like it helps, but it does, and your skills will improve exponentially.
As Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “Don’t wait for the muse. She has a lousy work ethic. Writers just write.”
10. Conversely, if nothing’s working for you and you’re feeling frustrated, just give yourself a break. It could just mean your creativity is in hibernation mode, which is 100% normal and okay. Inspiration will strike again, so go about your business and be kind to yourself.