For hobbyists and people whose livelihoods depend upon their ability to come up with new ideas alike, finding new sources of inspiration can be a challenge. Even the most creative people can run into occasional blocks in the way of their productivity.
Whether you are a professional content creator or someone who just likes making captivating posts for social media and other digital platforms, the creative process can be fun and rewarding when you see your ideas come to fruition. It is our hope that the following tips can help break through periods of stagnation and keep you in the flow.
Have novel experiences as often as possible
When you do something you’ve never done before, you expose yourself to entirely new systems of thought. Take, for example, yoga. Someone attending their first yoga class will learn about alignment, mindfulness, and anatomy. They’ll put their bodies into challenging positions and learn the jargon of the yoga teacher’s trade. That one experience can translate into countless types of creative expression.
Novel experiences make you a more well-rounded and interesting person and increase your sense of self-worth, which can give you a much-needed boost of confidence in times of creative slump.
Doing things that you don’t usually do has the additional benefit of giving your memory something to anchor to, which lengthens your experience of time. Rather than letting your days run together into one continuous cycle, give yourself a rich and varied portfolio of memories to draw on for purposes of personal and creative growth.
Get ideas out of your head and into the world
Anyone who’s ever walked into a room and couldn’t remember why they’d been looking for knows how fickle the mind can be. Never trust your brain with your ideas. No matter how good the idea is, you’ll most likely forget at least some of the details, if not the entire image.
It’s a good idea to keep a recording device at hand for those strokes of genius and minor epiphanies that happen throughout the day. Such a device can be analog, such as a notebook and pen, or digital, like adding a shortcut to a voice recording app on your phone’s home screen.
The other half of this process is equally important: to regularly check your notes and following up with your ideas to transform them into creative realities. Recording your ideas also frees up your brain space for the next idea, since you don’t need to commit mental resources to remembering them.
Shake up your routine
Our perceptions, the information we give our brain through our senses, form the basis for how we think about the world. Do you eat a similar breakfast, drink the same coffee, listen to the same news podcast most mornings?
If so, you may be limiting the sensory information your brain has to draw ideas from. Try to change it up once in awhile so you’re seeing, tasting, smelling, and hearing enough different things to give your mind a wider range of perspectives.
Sleep on it
The value of sleep cannot be overstated. Lack of sleep kills your focus, mental processing speed, and alertness as well as your creativity. A well-rested brain makes more novel connections between seemingly unrelated stimuli. That, in essence, is the definition of what makes a person creative.
If you ever find yourself burning the midnight oil, racking your brain for the next plot point or video idea, do yourself a favor and just go to bed. It may seem counter-intuitive at first glance that you’ll be more productive if you go to bed earlier, but study after study confirms this to be true.
Learn alternative perspectives
It’s easy for people to become encapsulated in their own perspectives, and it takes conscious effort to become aware of and learn about different paradigms. It is, however, well worth the effort in terms of creative payoff.
Read books written by people who were raised very differently from you. Watch documentaries about social issues in foreign countries. Most importantly, talk to people you don’t think you have much in common with about their experiences and opinions and keep an open mind. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn!
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