No matter the creative endeavor, we use tools. Writing and music have taught me the valuable lesson of promoting creative thought by switching up the tools I use.

A tool doesn’t have to be a physical thing. In the case of writing, I have a toolbox of strategies and ideas that also work when I feel a little stuck.

  1. Physical tools: As writers, we mostly write at computers. But sometimes going back to a pen and a legal pad can promote new ideas. Or try the notes app on your iPhone. In music, every instrument I play is a different tool. I’ve prompted new music simply by switching from the guitar to the piano, or by using a digital audio workshop instead of a banjo.
  2. Substitute the method: One way to get the creative juices flowing is to use another method. Instead of trying to force yourself to write a novel that doesn’t seem to be working, write a series of poems. Rather than composing more pop music, switch genres. Try jazz. Use distortion. Write backwards. Anything different.
  3. Go completely outside the box: So you’re stuck trying to compose a new piece at the piano? Go build a workbench or dig a ditch. Use a tool completely unrelated to your craft. It can work wonders.

A great thing about switching up your tools is that it helps you to become a better artist. Having great pencil drawings, paintings, and multimedia art in your portfolio gives you more artistic clout.

Be willing to try different tools and strategies next time you get stuck. You might be amazed. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.