What are some good ways of boosting creativity? Shake yourself out of your routine:
Boosting creativity #1: Take a new way to work.
Boosting creativity #2: Wear your watch on your other wrist.
Boosting creativity #3: Go crazy and part your hair on the other side for a change.
Boosting creativity #4: Take a road trip!
There are few thoroughfares I like less than I-95, especially the stretch between North Carolina and Orlando, Florida. I’ve done it too, too many times. So, last week, when facing the 10-hour road trip from Durham, NC to FL, I decided to take my own advice about shaking up routine, and I went a new way to Orlando.
The first afternoon I drove I-85 from Durham to Charlotte, NC where I spent the night with my son and his family.
The next day I continued on I-85 and stopped for brunch in charming Greenville, SC.
After eating I took a stroll around town and came across the statue of Il Porcellino. The original bronze wild boar was placed in Florence, Italy in 1612. Legend has it that if you put a coin in the boar’s mouth, and it falls into the grate below, your wish will be granted. I wished for a happy day for all the readers who read this blog today. Good news: the coin fell into the grate.
Rubbing the boar’s nose also brings good luck, so I did my bit to keeping his nose polished.
Then it was off to Atlanta. I chose a hotel in midtown, one only a couple of blocks from the house on Peachtree Street NE where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind. Unfortunately the museum was closed the day I was there because of an electrical outage. So I only got this picture of myself in front of it.
Atlanta is in full urbanization mode. Every plot of land in midtown has a huge construction project on it, either already finished or in progress. I mention this because the corner with Mitchell’s house is one super valuable piece of property.
All the buildings on Peachtree Street are now high-rises, making Mitchell’s house the rare exception. In Mitchell’s day, Peachtree Street was likely lined with Victorians. Now only hers is left. I’ll bet it will always be there, because it’s impossible to imagine Atlanta without the museum honoring the author of Gone With the Wind.
The next day involved I-75 to Orlando. I got off the highway at Valdosta, GA for breakfast and found King’s Grill. It’s the perfect small-town diner with well-worn vinyl, obvious regulars, and a local prayer group. I had my usual breakfast: two poached eggs, wheat toast, grits, and iced tea (unsweet – in this regard, I’ll always be a Yankee). So I was a happy customer.
Then it was back onto I-75, which took me straight into Orlando.
By altering my route did I boost my creativity?
I’ll say Yes. I saw new things. I enjoyed Greenville for the way it has maintained its charm and beauty. Atlanta was an eye-opener. This is no sleepy Southern city, which is no surprise to a lot of people – and now I’ve witnessed first-hand what’s going on there. I also had a lot of time to think about my new shape-shifter romance, The Alpha’s Edge.
But, really, the trip made me realize I had made a false choice between a mind-numbing 10-hour trip on I-95 versus a more entertaining jaunt on I-85 and I-75 with 2 overnights and a total of 14 hours on the road.
I had to really shake up my travel to come to the idea that I can stop on I-95 and see what there is to see. Savannah, Charleston, Hilton Head Island – these are great places to explore, and I’ve always whizzed right past them.
My creative reassessment is that Mongolia and Vietnam and Romania – all of which I’ve loved – aren’t the only places to be adventuresome. I can even look forward to the return trip Orlando-Durham by way of I-95 when I’m faced with it next fall.
See also: All My Writing Tips
For more advice on writing your novel, read my complete guide for how to write a book.
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen