8 activities to jump-start your creativity

If your writing assignment has stalled and you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or screen, try these tasks on for size.

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“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: It’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper [or a blank screen], and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”—Neil Gaiman

We’ve all been there. Unable to call up the right words, we stare blankly at our screens and grow increasingly frustrated.

What would happen if we let the blank screen win? Instead, we can work on other tasks related to our assignment, but not the writing itself.

Would we have more success when we returned to the writing later on? Let’s find out. Here are eight related tasks to try:

1. Outline.

If you haven’t already, create an outline to organize your thinking about the topic. The outline can then form the foundation for your project. Unlike outlines you were required to create in high school, this can be as simple as a numbered list.

2. Play a word game.

Working on a crossword puzzle, playing a writing-prompt game or even playing Cards Against Humanity can help spark your creativity.

3. Talk to someone about your topic.

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