Creativity Practice: Use Seven Ways to Get Unstuck
One of my favorite ways to try busting through roadblocks is to generate at least seven alternatives (bonus points for even more ideas). The reason for 7+ ideas is that the first few typically are the usual solutions. Those might solve the problem at hand. But if they won’t do the deed, having a longer list of ideas yields more creative and satisfying options.
I use 7 ways frequently in my home life but also in my writing, both in crafting content and in how to approach a project.
• The main character in a picture book I have out on submission desperately wants a cat but his dad’s allergies are the problem standing in the way. He uses 7 ways (without this being explicitly called out) to finally land on a creative solution.
• While updating my Nina Kosterina biography last year, I got myself into a deep, dark rut and time suck on how to address a formatting challenge involving sidebars from the first edition. To say I spent way too much time in a hole would be a colossal understatement. It took me a while to recognize I was stuck, stop and do a 7 ways exercise. The ideal solution ended up being the simplest and I can’t get those hours back.
Good things about this method: it helps with a variety of problems, it’s fast, portable, requires no fancy tools and can be done solo or with others. Give it a try!