Step away from the screen

Digital technology is great for many things – especially if your job involves writing.

But it can be easy for us writers to spend so much time in front of our screens that we stop being exposed to different forms of creative inspiration.

This is why I have dedicated this article to getting out in the big wide world – away from the screen.

Spend time outside

I’ve written about the power of walking before.

I even wrote about it for The Encouragement Manifesto from Feasts & Fables, but I’m going to say it again …

Going out for a walk every day will change your life!

A change of scene, fresh air and time to think away from the computer does wonders for your brain and sense of wellbeing.

The process of putting one foot in front of the other can even boost creativity by 60 percent – as proven by researchers at Stanford University.

So next time you are lacking in creative inspiration, or feeling hemmed in from sitting within the same four walls, take yourself out for a walk.

You won’t regret it.

Still need convincing? Read Do Walk by Libby DeLana.

Listen

For writers, listening is a great way to take ourselves away from the written word.

It gives the mind a break from decoding sentences on the screen and allows the eyes to wander instead of focusing on a monitor.

You can even combine it with going for a walk by listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks.

Here are some of my favourite listening resources right now:

  • Being Freelance podcast.
  • Money Clinic with Claer Barrett podcast.
  • Putin podcast – BBC Four (sometimes to understand the present we need to be informed about the past).
  • Get Lost podcast.
  • Sentimental Garbage podcast (for the Sentimental and the City series with Dolly Alderton from 2021).
  • Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify (for finding new musical gems).

Get involved

If your creativity levels are dropping and you’re tired of living life through a screen, find a way to mix it up instead.

Go to a yoga class in a studio. Join a running group. Meet up with online friends. Start or join a book club. Go to an in-person networking event.

We are social creatures, and anyone involved in creative work needs new experiences to get the creative juices flowing.

Read

Studies show that reading printed material is actually more effective for learning when compared with reading online.

This is because it’s actually harder for our brains to comprehend digital texts, probably due to constant scrolling and a lack of visual placeholders, like page corners.

Reading material online is also hard work for the eyes as people blink far less when reading on a screen. This can lead to eye strain and discomfort, both of which are not conducive for creative output.

Instead, give your brain a break and pick up some reading material that is a) non-work related, and b) non-digital.

Decorate

Anyone else picked up the decorating bug?

My home is going through a transformation right now and I couldn’t be happier.

I love the meditative effects of painting walls, the thrill of replacing old furniture with new pieces and the simple enjoyment of flicking through interior design magazines.

I also find that directing my attention towards another creative outlet is helping to generate fresh ideas in my writing work. Especially when doing repetitive tasks like painting walls.

And it seems I’m not the only one.

A recent article on Creative Boom showcased how some creatives have transformed the humble garden shed into a unique work space and the results are nothing short of inspiring.

Feeling tired of your working environment? Then close the laptop and start making some changes.

Look to other cultures

Work is a central focus for many cultures around the world. But what if it wasn’t?

As a British person, it’s definitely ingrained in me that work should come first. However, in other countries like Austria (where I’m currently living), there is a much better work/life balance.

For example, most people in Austria finish work at midday on a Friday, and it’s normal to prioritise spending time with family and friends.

In fact, people that work too much are almost pitied in Austria, and I’m starting to agree with them.

Less really can be more and, as writers, we need to switch off and refuel before we can start churning out words again.

There is a whole world of inspiration out there, so step away from the screen and go discover it.

It will make you a better writer. I promise.

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