THE BLOG
10/22/2014 06:30 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2014

5 Steps to Becoming Creative on Command

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You're a writer. It's your job to put words on the page. So you have a writing session here and there. But then the inevitable happens -- you get a case of writer's block.

You assume this is supposed to happen. It's just part of the natural ebb and flow of being creative. Right?

But what if it's not? What if it could be a rare occurrence?

Writer's block doesn't have to happen. Ever. You can live with your creativity ready and waiting to be flipped on like a light switch.

My Journey to Creative on Command

I used to procrastinate. A lot. I didn't know why. I just knew it didn't feel good. The guilt of not writing plagued me. In the morning, I'd think about the opportunity in front of me to make it the day I finally started writing again. At night, I'd berate myself for wasting yet another day.

It was a vicious cycle and it wasn't getting better. At the time, I was working a corporate job that left me drained, stressed out and exhausted. When I got home, I had no desire to write.

Not only that, but I felt awful most of the time. My stomach was always bloated. My brain was foggy. And I was tired every day. So even though I had the desire to be creative, I would drown it by watching hours of mindless television and eating junk food.

Then one night I woke up in a panic. My left arm was numb. My chest was tight. I couldn't breathe. I knew I was having a panic attack, so I got up, went into the other room and began taking long, deep breaths until the symptoms subsided. I'd had enough.

That week, I enrolled in a health coach training program, with the goal of figuring out what was going on with my body. Over the next year, I experimented with new foods and different holistic healing tools and techniques.

Toward the end of my time in the program came the biggest surprise of all: I discovered I'm sensitive to dairy and gluten intolerant.

That changed everything. Taking the dairy and especially the gluten out of my diet made the most profound difference. It was like a veil of brain fog and exhaustion was lifted.

For the first time in years, I had energy, my mind was sharp and I actually wanted to spend time being creative -- because I felt so awesome.

I used my transition to being dairy -and gluten-free as an opportunity to start getting healthier. I cleaned up my diet, moving to a whole food and mostly plant-based diet. I began moving my body more by stretching daily and doing yoga. I also started nourishing my creativity with things like writing Morning Pages and meditating.

The combination brought me to where I am today. I've written and published three books, have a novel debuting in early 2015 and I quit my corporate job to create a virtual business doing work I love.

These days, my creativity is on fire. I can engage inspiration to solve a problem exactly when I need to. Best of all, I have built-in routines (and creativity systems) to ensure this continues for the rest of my life.

A whole world of stuff can keep your creativity blocked, but it all boils down to one thing: junk --junk food, junk habits and junk thoughts.

If you're stressed out, lacking focus, and never seem to have enough energy for your writing, here are five steps to bring your creativity to a whole new level:

1. Clean Up Your Diet

You can't expect to feel creative -- or access your creativity whenever you need it -- if you're fueling your body with junk. Eating junk = feeling like junk = junky creative juices.

Cut out the fast food and processed food.

You owe it to yourself, to your talent as a writer, to let your creativity shine bright. And it can't do that when you're smothering it with garbage.

2. Get Moving

When you're a couch potato, your creativity is being trapped, held hostage. You have to move to let it out.

With a consistent movement practice, you'll find yourself feeling more energized and alert, which will do wonders for connecting with your creative consciousness.

One of my favorite things to do when I feel stuck is turn on music and dance.

3. Amp Up the Self-Care

When you're fully nourished and feeling awesome, you'll have what you need to output creative ideas. But it's hard to do that when you're running on empty.

Having a writing session is self-care. So are naps, bubble baths, laughing, movies, sex, singing and anything else that makes you feel awesome.

Indulge in self-care as often as possible.

4. Fill Your Creative Well

Keep your creative well full by building a short creativity routine into your day. A mix of self-care practices and creativity-nourishing activities.

For example, my creative routine looks like this:

  • Morning Pages (a la Julia Cameron)
  • Drink a glass of water
  • 30 minutes of movement (walking or dancing, usually)
  • Creative meditations
  • Power breakfast

Doing this every morning nourishes me and keeps my creative well full.

5. Maintain A Consistent Writing Practice

No matter what, you must keep writing. Commit to a schedule each week and show up. Make your writing a priority, just like eating, sleeping and taking care of your family.

Writing consistently will keep your creative muse present and available when you need it.

And be sure to carry a notebook -- or use an app on your phone -- to collect ideas. The closer you get to being creative on command, the more ideas you'll attract. You need a place to write them down.

If you want to learn even more about how to overcome writer's block and set your creativity on fire, check out my book, Creative On Command: Instant Inspiration Exactly When You Need It.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is an author and writing coach who helps emerging novelists take their stories from idea to draft--without fear, distractions or disorganization. You can find her at: JenniferBlanchard.net. She's also on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram