Do you wake up some days only to feel absolutely no creative inspiration? You try to get your creative juices flowing, but you just feel blank and unmotivated. Everything you attempt seems counterintuitive, and you simply give up on your projects.
Sometimes a lack of creative motivation comes from a lack of passion. Everyone knows that people do better work when they love their jobs. But that’s not the only way to get rid of your mental blocks. Here’s how to get inspired when you feel mentally blocked:
20 Ways To Jumpstart Your Creative Inspiration
Everyone says you shouldn’t make mistakes, but I’m giving you permission to do it! Making mistakes shows that you are taking risks; if you’re ready to take a fall, you can climb to great heights. Without the freedom to fail, you can’t explore. And when you can’t explore, you can’t find those great ideas. Allowing yourself to not get it perfect the first (or second, or third, or fourth) time around can be a great way to jumpstart your creative inspiration. And from there you can refine what you’ve learned from your “mistakes” to turn out great work.The bigger you fail, the bigger the lessons you learn. Wayne Gretzky, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs – the list of people who sing the praises of failure goes on and on.
Take a short walk
Did you know that walking improves your creativity? Researchers from Stanford have discovered that creative thinking improves while a person is walking and shortly thereafter. Walking to get your creative juices flowing works whether you’re indoors or outdoors, the study showed. So get off your butt and walk! Whether it’s pacing around your office or taking a leisurely stroll through a forest, use the power of walks to increase your creative motivation. Take a short walk and you’ll be amazed by how your mind will open up.
Try something unusual and fun
When you come against a creative block, you should come up with something new to give your creativity a new perspective. Try things that you don’t often do, such as hand lettering, video-making, watercolors, or anything that is unusual to you. You may try a new recipe or even write a short story.
This gives a two-fold benefit: it increases the depth of your creative experience, giving you more material to draw from. And it also gives you a refreshing break to start off new thoughts.
Move to a new environment
The very first thing to try when you feel uninspired is to move to another place. You should completely change your physical environment. You may argue that routine is great for personal productivity. However, changing the way you always see things can be just what you need at that moment to get inspired.
If that fails, consider your office space. Do you know that noise levels can affect your creativity? A recent study has shown that moderate noise levels can actually boost your creative inspiration. Try moving to a new environment and looking for a few different spaces that work for you. Heck, take your computer or instrument outside into the sunshine. It could be just the creativity jump-start you need.
Have a creative mentor
Creative mentors are the best. A mentor can be a friend, someone at your workplace or even an online personality who you admire. A mentor will listen to your problems and give you their thoughts and insights. Mentors might also introduce you to other useful and experienced people. It’s harder to run out of ideas when you have someone to guide you and give you feedback.
Take a trip
Changing rooms or buildings may not be refreshing enough. Maybe you need to leave town for a completely new adventure. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” said Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School.
The trip can bring the new experiences that are not related to creativity but can spark new ideas and perspectives when you go back to your office. Additionally, the value of exploring new culture has been proven to bring out new ideas and thoughts. Stefan Sagmeister, a designer, says he closes his business once in a week to go for a trip.
Find a good book
Are you in a book club? Probably not. However, it could prove really useful to you. Reading books might be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing. It’s even better if you can sit together as friends and go through a whole chapter together. Read what other people have done, read about interesting topics, read about funny things – all of these are great ways to get some creative inspiration.
Interact with people
What do you do when faced with problems? Do you just try to solve them by yourself? When problems hit you, sometimes the solutions lie with the people around you. It’s not necessarily that they’ll be the ones to solve your problems for you. But by interacting with other people, your mind could be stimulated and stretched in new directions. Try just talking to someone when you’re stuck. You’ll be amazed at the creative motivation that results.
Listen to a podcast
There are podcasts for everything. Instead of listening to music, try a podcast – it might bring new insights and ideas. And they cover such a wide range of topics, it’s easy to find one that’s relevant and interesting. That’s why podcasts are on the rise. They’re easy to listen to, bite-sized and short enough for a commute or a coffee-break, and easily accessible. And listening to them, like reading a book, is a great way to get new information and to jump-start your creativity.
At the age of 5, you were incredibly creative. Your imagination ran wild and you never ran out of new and exciting ideas. At this age, you had the freedom to just play and create – fingerpainting, snowballs, crayons, clay. And studies are showing that adults can benefit from playtime just as much as any kid. The formlessness and freedom of unstructured playtime is a great way to get your creative juices flowing, as well as lower your stress levels.
Borrow ideas from others
There is a great difference between borrowing ideas and copying them. One is creative bankruptcy and also, very bad SEO. Another is the basis of great creative inspiration, as proven by great minds ranging from the artists of the Renaissance to Shakespeare to Elvis to Steve Jobs. Don’t rip off others. But do study great creatives, and reflect on what made them great. Apply those insights to your own work. In fact, that’s the only way to become a great artist of any type – you need to study great art.
Follow creative sites
There are loads of sites with great, creativity-inspiring content. By following them you ensure a constant stream of new inspiration. And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – there’s always a site for you, ranging from TechCrunch for IT, Dribble for Design, Medium for stories, and Pinterest for everyone. Keep a list of inspirational bookmarks ready for whenever you need some creative inspiration.
Start a swipe file
Gather good ideas. The more ideas you gather, the more creative inspiration you have. That is why Austin Kleon said, in one of his books, “Steal like an artist.”
Keep an “idea bank”, or a swipe file, ready to reference. Take screenshots, share important links on your Facebook timeline, or start a Pinterest board. In the old days, copywriters used to keep folders full of headlines or sales letters that had performed well. They would pull them out for inspiration whenever needed. Check out an example swipe file by downloading our Ultimate Native Ads Swipe File!
Theodor Geisel’s (popularly known as Dr. Seuss) publisher challenged him to write a book using only 50 words. The end result of that challenge was the classic “Green Eggs And Ham.”
The lesson here is that limitless choices can be paralyzing. Who hasn’t felt the inner panic when faced with a blank page that you need to fill up? But some self-imposed constraints can be just the thing needed to get your creative juices flowing. By marking a starting point and boundaries, you have a form to help guide your creativity. 50 words seem too few for a book, but Dr. Seuss made a masterpiece. Eliminate the clutter of choices for creativity.
Creativity entails the connection of different ideas. Steve Jobs once said that if you find that connecting familiar ideas isn’t working, you should try connecting unrelated and opposite ones. Comedians often apply this and if it successfully works for them, why not you? The most successful ad campaigns often connect unrelated stories to the one they intent to convey. What exactly do draft horses, or a friendship between a puppy and a stallion, have to do with beer? Yet Budweiser makes millions with their ads.
A creative block may be caused by not asking questions, or asking the wrong ones. Assuming that you understand everything makes you ignore other possibilities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; don’t even be afraid to ask stupid question. Who knows what answer might end up inspiring you?
Keep A Notebook Handy
Keep a notebook around. Scribble in it, write down quotes, sketch things. Think of it as a workout – sketching and scribbling in the notebook are your “warm-up” and “cool-down” routines before you start working out your “creative muscles” in earnest. And you can always look back at your notebook for ideas in the future.
Sleep on it
Salvador Dali was quoted as saying that best ideas come through dreams. His surreal masterpieces seem to prove the virtue of his assertion. A good night’s sleep is a source of both creative inspiration and of good health. The brain needs rest and so do you. And the mixing of thoughts from your conscious and your subconscious can be a great way to find new ideas. Many of the world’s greatest creations began as dreams – Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Yesterday by the Beatles, basically all of Edgar Allan Poe’s literature, and even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, are just a few examples.
Look to history
If something is recorded and remembered, there’s a reason it was. What was considered vital or imaginative in the past might well be the key to your next project. You should ask yourself this the next time you’re wondering how to get inspired:
- Has someone else ever created a similar thing?
- Has there been a similar story in the past?
Do you have to reinvent the wheel? Just make it better.
At times, creativity requires you do nothing at all. Take some time out. Recent studies show that people who took a break once an hour performed better than those who didn’t. Our brains stop processing the stimuli of the task, and we become unable to treat the task as important. When you take a break, your brain is reset, and able to give the task the focus it deserves. Taking a break to prevent burnout is good advice for everyone.
Do you have any self-care strats that help jumpstart your creativity, or any thoughts or input on the methods we’ve recommended here? Tell us in the comments below!