Feeling creatively constipated? Here are 13 ways to revive your creative thinking
1. DO SOMETHING NEW, EVERY MONTH.
Creativity means being open to new experiences and different ways of thinking. Identify activities that will stimulate your senses and engage both sides of your brain. Try your hand at something new every month - include it in your monthly goals.
2. ENTER A PHOTOGRAPHY OR WRITING CONTEST.
Contests provide great platforms and outlets to show + share your work with the world. Sometimes it takes a little courage (or a lot) to get it out there but the point is to get it out there. Of course you don’t have to stick to words and photos. Look for contests (local + international) using your favourite medium and enter. (Or stretch yourself and explore new mediums.)
3. TAKE A BREAK.
(Duh!) Sounds kind of obvious but taking a break may be one of the most undervalued creative boosters around. Go do something playful + pleasurable and totally unrelated to what you were doing. Find your thing for release so you can come back recharged and raring to go.
4. WRITE FREE + FEARLESS.
Free writing is a great technique for generating ideas. Set aside 20-30 minutes every day when you’re most relaxed and uninterrupted. Put pen to paper and write! Whatever comes to mind. Forget editing + censoring yourself. Forget disorderly handwriting. Let go of paralysing perfectionism. Loosen up and write away.
5. CREATE A CREATIVITY CORNER.
Find a spot in your house you can turn into a creativity corner and decorate it with all the things that inspire your heart + mind. Think mood boards, childhood keepsakes, photographs, inspirational posters, books, magazines, a quirky collection, beanbags, plants, etc.
6. UNPLUG WITH A SEVEN-DAY DIGITAL DETOX.
Your digital gadgets can be fabulous tools but mindless + excessive use can rob you of your originality. Creativity requires that you think for yourself. Go without your digital stimuli for seven days removing all social influences and distractions and when you return to your digital world, practice using it to your advantage instead of chewing up time and stalking strangers.
7. MIX WITH DIFFERENT FOLKS.
You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Evert heard that? Whilst we generally hang out with people who are like us, it’s just as important to engage with people who are very different to us. Expand your social networks, move in different circles and associate with different kinds of folks. Be curious about what they do and how they see the world. Learn to see the world with new eyes.
8. GO ON A CREATIVE SOJOURN, SOLO.
Travel opens the mind and entices the senses with an influx of seemingly familiar and strikingly unfamiliar sights + sounds. Going solo deepens that experience. You're almost forced to get creative about everything you do when you find yourself in a foreign land and have only yourself to rely on (sometimes for the first time). Where will you go solo this year? Start with a short trip if the idea of going it alone terrifies you.
9. START A SWIPE/STEAL/BORROW FILE (WHICHEVER ALLOWS YOU TO SLEEP BETTER).
Inspiration is everywhere. All you need to do is look. I’ve heard a few high profile peeps talk about this idea of a swipe file. The reality is we’re always reworking familiar concepts. Look to the people you admire and find exciting and get curious about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Think about the elements you love and the ones you’d love to change, be it a tweak or complete overhaul…and voilà, it’s something new again.
10. CHANGE UP THE SCENERY.
Feeling bored, stuck or unmotivated? Change up your physical environment. Go work in a different room. Work from a café, the ocean, or beer garden for the day. Or how about a library, museum or the art gallery? Find places and ways to mix up the scenery.
11. EXPERIMENT + REINVENT.
Experimenting pushes you to consider new options + possibilities and helps challenge old assumptions on why something is the way it is. Sometimes the things created with a specific purpose in mind end up being used in completely different ways. Take Viagra for instance; did you know it was originally used as a treatment for several heart disease symptoms? That is until clinical trials showed surprising + unexpected side effects…and the rest as they say is history. Identify three things in your house that can be repurposed - look at everyday things differently.
12. MAKE MANY MISTAKES.
Mistakes are part + parcel of life. They're guaranteed to happen. Sure they can leave you feeling somewhat exposed and vulnerable, and some mistakes have unimaginable consequences but mistakes aren’t all bad news. Mistakes often come bearing many fruitful lessons - they expose issues, gaps in skill and understanding as well as leading to new paths, possibilities and creative direction. Welcome mistakes as a way to learn something new about a situation or yourself.
13. TIMEFRAME IT.
Say what? Put a timer on the creative process? Come now... Get into the habit of putting a timeframe on your creative pursuits even if it sounds counterintuitive. You could surprise yourself by what the rush of a looming deadline produces. You’ll eventually start creating more quality outputs in shorter bursts of time. (And you won’t procrastinate nearly as much.)
Keep well, live well.
What has been most valuable to you? Leave your comments below. I'd love to know!