Stuck on that crucial first sentence?

Agonising over a plot point?

Suffering from the dreaded writer’s block?

Writers have long wrestled with how to crank up the creative engine.

And while I’m primarily a non-fiction writer, I’ve felt it too – that frustrating mental wall when you can’t figure out how to work your way into a story.


To combat it, I’ve developed a technique I like to call ‘hitting the OFF switch’.

And science backs me up.

Research has shown that the creative brain is most productive when idle.

So here’s a few suggestions on where you can achieve that blissful, idle state, and get the magic going again.

5 Great Places to Get Ideas

In the shower.

Your daily wash is a boring and automatic activity. Which makes the shower (or bath) the perfect place to let your imagination roam unchecked.


Some of my best writing started in the shower.

So much so that I’m considering installing a pen and notepad in there.

In the car

Again, driving is another routine activity (especially if you’re doing a familiar route) so a great time to get your subconscious humming.

Just don’t forget to pay attention to the road – no good idea is worth a pile-up.

While walking

Think of a great writer, and I’m willing to bet they were also keen wanderers.

William Blake, John Clare, William Wordsworth – they all liked tramping about the countryside in search of inspiration.


Whether it’s the fresh air, the gentle exercise or being close to nature, walking is great for the brain and should be a much-used tool in every writer’s bag of tricks.

While swimming

Swimming is another outdoor pursuit that enhances creativity.

The world has a way of disappearing when you’re underwater – giving your mind a chance to tune out the noise and tune into your imagination.

If you’re not lucky enough to live by the beach, try going to your local pool.

You’ll still get all the benefits of regular exercise, and I guarantee it’ll become one of your favourite places to think.

In bed

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, internet and Skype.

In the modern world, people face a barrage of distractions.

And often the only time we’re alone with our thoughts is in bed – after we’ve turned off the lights and before we fall asleep.


This can be a very fertile time for your creative brain.

Safe, comfortable and on the verge of sleep are the ideal circumstances for a lightbulb moment.

Just remember to keep a pad and pen beside the bed.



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