Anyone who relies on wit and creativity to make a living has experienced a singular fear: the terror of running out of ideas. Most of us know the feeling; being creative on demand isn't easy.

Though journal writing is personal and never mandatory, even this kind of expression can be hard to access at times. Some days, it may seem as though there is nothing to say, or it's hard to find the right thing to say, or there's so much to say that you don't know where to start.

One very effective way of circumventing such imagination paralysis is by focusing intensely on the senses. Ears, eyes, nose, tongue, and fingertips; listening, looking, smelling, tasting, touching. The senses have a way of bypassing the brain's confustications and allowing ideas to flow again.

The mind tends to dominate thought in everyday life. We need its left-brained logic, data, and logistics to navigate the workaday world. Transitioning from this external orientation to inner impulses can be arduous, and the process can result in imaginative paralysis.

To get the wheels turning again, to clear out the clog and let your ideas flow, concentrating on the senses can be highly effective.

How is this done?

Sit quietly with your journal. Concentrate on one of your senses. What do you see, or hear; is there an aroma in the air; how does your tongue feel inside your mouth; what touch are you longing for/remembering/experiencing?

Holding the sensation firmly in your awareness, now begin to write. Do your best to let the pen move as it wills, unhindered by your brain. Keep the sensation at the top of your mind.

The fact is that if you can still use any one of your five senses, you have instant access to more creativity than you can ever use.

A variation is to journal each day for a week by concentrating on a different sense.
• On Monday, you connect your vision and your writing;
• On Tuesday, you let a fragrance dominate your journaling time;
• Wednesday, it's the jackhammer next door that insists on its presence in your journal;
• While Thursday the tenderness of last night's amorous tryst possesses your outlook;
• And finally, Friday's journal entry lets you feast again on the fabulous end-of-the-week supper you cooked up tonight.

The more you practice journaling from your senses the easier it will be. You will realize that as long as you're alive, you have inspiration coming to you every minute of every day.

Eventually you become so accustomed to expressing your sensations that being spontaneously creative is no longer an issue. You will never run out of ideas because the simple fact of being alive keeps you constantly in contact with your muses.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Self of It™. Mari offers counseling and encouragement as well as hundreds of prompts through her many online journaling resources and her private consultations. Please visit Mari's latest publication is Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days! which is available at She also leads a 27 Day Journaling Challenge designed to bring you to yourself in new and inspiring ways.