Stuck for ideas? Inspiration rarely strikes when you’re sitting at a desk, staring at a blank wall or aimlessly trawling the internet. Nothing beats getting out and about and finding delight or food for thought in the events, conversations and random discoveries the world around you offers. Here are a few tips to feed your creativity and get yourself out of a creative rut.
1. Try something new
We’re all creatures of habit. We find friends, games, books and places we love and settle into happy routines. But if you want to jolt yourself out of a creative rut you’re going to have to develop a sense of adventure. Hunt out new experiences – if you’re useless at art, paint a picture; spend time listening to a colleague or relative whose perspective on life is different from yours; visit a museum you think you might hate or just shake up your daily routine. Any of these things will give your brain a creative shake and help great ideas fall out.
2. Set your mind and hands free
Thinking hurts! Sometimes ideas are hiding in your subconscious and it’s just impossible to force them out. If your creativity feels like it’s dried up, stop trying so hard and instead offer ideas an escape route. The artist Julia Cameron starts each day with morning pages, committing to writing three pages of whatever enters her head each morning. No matter if it’s nonsense, it just gives the mind a little creative free run first thing. Another technique is to draw what you’re thinking or feeling. You’ll access a different part of your brain and you might find an unexpected solution to a creative block.
3. Take risks and expect to fall flat sometimes.
The biggest killer of creativity is our reluctance to get things wrong. We’ve been taught since childhood that failure is bad and that, when we’re faced with a challenge, we should always be looking to reach the ‘right answer’. This belief limits our creativity. To generate truly bold and original ideas, you’ve got to be prepared to try new things, be brave and experiment. None of this happens if you’re trying to play safe, so see failure as a badge of honour. Commit to taking some risks and consider any time, money or energy spent on a howling flop a brilliant creative investment.
4. Be ready
Great ideas strike at the oddest times; on a run, in the shower, in the middle of the night or on a Saturday evening, when you’re out having fun with friends. Try to capture the magic because you’re likely to forget your moments of genius. Some people keep an ideas journal on them, so they can scribble notes down, some capture images and notes on their phones, some record their thoughts in audio files. Do whatever feels most comfortable but be sure to store your thoughts and ideas where you can easily find them when it’s time to get to work.
5. There’s no need to be lonely
Our ideas are precious to us. It’s normal to want to protect them from judgment or interference until they feel perfect and ready for the world to see but letting other people help you build on and improve your ideas is a brave step worth taking. Pixar’s story meetings gather their brightest minds in the early stages of scripting a film to offer criticism and help build on the best bits. Why not get a group of people you trust together to help you? A few bright minds working together can transform a so-so idea into a masterpiece.
Finally ….. Have fun and think freely
It’s easy to see all the reasons why an idea might not work. We quickly see the problems we might face when trying to bring it to life and so we kill potentially strong ideas before they’ve been given any opportunity to flourish. Coming up with ideas should be fun, so keep the judging and criticizing out of early idea generation and give even the craziest infant ideas consideration before you start the process of deciding which ones you really want to develop further. If you really love an idea you’ll fight hard to iron out any problems.