Practice, Practice, Practice
The brain is like any other muscle and the more you use it the better it works. The act of writing is similar to exercise, in that it works your muscle and tones it. This then draws one to the conclusion that if they practice writing then their brain will be in better shape, thus enabling them to complete the task with less effort.
Think of it like cross training. You run five miles a day to tone your legs and lungs. Then you work on machines to pinpoint other groups of muscles and increase stamina. All of this to train for a marathon or some other physical event. So why not cross train your mind?
By this I mean, instead of writing in your style and in your vain all of the time–only running the five miles–one should also incorporate other exercises into their routine. Try writing in other genres. Do a nonfiction piece on occasion, such as a blog or technical writing. My writer’s group has begun to incorporate such thinking into our bi-weekly meetings. We now have voluntary assignments we can perform prior to each meeting. These assignments are decided upon by the group and help push us as writers. Our first assignment was to write something in seven hundred words or less that was outside of our comfort zone. For example, the historical fantasy writer chose to author a story about glittery vampires. Our next assignment was to pick an everyday form such as an obituary, recipe, ad-copy etc … etc … etc… and write a story in that form. Now how is that for straining your creative muscle?
All writers, whether in a committed group or not, should consider such practices. Working the muscle in different ways can only improve one’s ability to use it. So why not try something different, break from the routine, and write outside of your box?