For most people, feeling creative and coming up with new and innovative ideas isn’t something that happens on a daily basis. At times creativity can feel like it comes and goes when it pleases, appearing at the most random times (usually when we least expect it) and disappearing again when we need it most. If you’re struggling to get your creative juices flowing here are a few things you can try.
Practice every day
For some people, treating creativity like any other skill can be a great way to not only keep their creativity levels alive but also to actually make their ideas more creative. Exercise your imagination and task yourself to be creative at least once every day and stick at it. If you can, practice creativity in whatever field you are trying to be creative in, such as keeping morning pages for budding writers or drawing a few doodles for designers, but if you find this a little tiresome then feel free to practice creativity across the spectrum - draw, write a song, dance, write poetry or get creative by whatever means you feel.
Or don’t try at all
Having said that practicing creativity works for some people, others actually find doing nothing at all more helpful. Set yourself no expectations and instead focus on passion, continue to learn about your subject, involve yourself with your industry and creative indicated within your sphere with no expectation of anything in return. Sometimes your brain needs to relax in order to become creative, so you could even try taking a nap, doing meditation or talking a relaxing walk to see if that gives your creative juices the freedom they need to start flowing.
Exercise is another common way for creatives to spark their creativity because exercise promotes the body to release endorphins which in turn help to improve your mood and alleviate stress, which can be a barrier to creativity. Try doing any form of exercise which you enjoy, be it cycling, running, yoga or climbing and get your heart pumping to release those feel-good chemicals. Another reason why exercise can be beneficial to those looking to rediscover their creativity is that exercise is hailed as a form of meditation in motion, i.e it enables you to switch off your brain a bit and focus on the task at hand, this can help creative minds to relax and open up to new inspiration.
Sometimes barriers to creativity are formed in our own minds and we simply need to work through them. Brainstorming is a great way to visualise and organise information helping the brain to tease out any knots and overcome any barriers. Brainstorming can be conducted alone or in groups, on paper or using online tools and the final brainstorm can result in any number of different diagrams and pictures. Whatever way you choose to brainstorm, the end goal is always the same, to find an idea and there are four rules you should bear in mind:
- Criticism is not allowed
Keep all brainstorming practices positive and constructive to encourage everyone to put forward whatever is on their mind. Criticism is the dampener to creativity.
- The more ideas you can come up with the better
Don’t limit yourself by worrying about the quality of your ideas, quality can come later, simply get every and any idea you have into your brainstorm.
- The crazier your ideas, the better
Similarly, don’t limit yourself by worrying that your idea is too crazy, out of the box thinking is what drives innovation. Go wild, be free with your thoughts.
- Improve and combine existing ideas
Don’t treat ideas in isolation, draw them off one another. Combine them, improve on them, add to them, grow them and watch as they evolve.
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Collaborate with others
Talking to strangers, friends or colleagues can help your brain to spark new ideas and find new inspiration. Talk through your thoughts and ideas with anyone and everyone and bounce them back off of one another to stimulate your brain and creativity. Collaboration is a commonly used tool within large and innovative corporations who regularly need to come up with the next best product, so don’t let your position as a solo entrepreneur or an individual freelancer hold you back from accessing the benefits of social creativity. If you have a team or work within one then try to foster a culture of open communication whereby everyone feels able to contribute their thoughts no matter their positioning within the team.