You might rely on creativity for your job, or you may have a hobby that relies on clear, expressive thinking. While a creative approach can make just about anything more interesting, even the most creative people can experience lulls. Sometimes, the ideas simply will not flow. If you’re the kind of person that’s capable of coming up with some fantastic ideas, but you’re having a hard time, try these 10 tips to get yourself running at peak performance once again.
1. Position Yourself Near Other Creatives
A creative mindset can be infectious, so if your own ideas aren’t exactly coming thick and fast, consider piggybacking off others. You don’t need to steal their ideas, but you will get in the same zone as them, and it can spark off new plans. Crucially, you don’t have to deal with people that do exactly the same as you. Indeed, this can potentially be counter-productive. If you’re an artist, hang out with your singer friends. If you’re a writer, sit in the creative process of your graphic designer buddies. They say ideas breed creativity, and the specifics don’t matter when you’re in a weak period.
2. Sit Down and Try
If your job – or hobby – is to come up with new ideas and unique solutions, it might be worth brute-forcing the issue and just starting. It might involve filling a canvas with terrible artwork, or churning out pages of terrible stories, but at least something hits the page. Think of it as a brainstorming session and hopefully, you’ll break down the creative barrier and come out the other side with some great new ideas.
3. Head Somewhere Packed with Inspiration
If you’re not feeling creative, it’s often because you’re uninspired. The same four walls you look at every day are not going to be the answer, so you need to put yourself out there and experience creativity in any form possible. Regardless of your field, an art gallery, poetry reading or any other public place where ideas flow naturally can be just what you need to get back into the swing of things.
4. Go Back to Rituals that have Worked in the Past
You’ve probably tried all sorts of processes over time, with some being more successful than others. In the most ideal cases, you’ll settle on something that is all but guaranteed to work for you. Whenever you’re not feeling it, you can slot neatly back into that routine and get back to what you do best. It is rarely that simple, but if you’re short on ideas, try to return to something that proved successful in the past.
5. Do Something You’ve Never Done Before
Even when we think we’ve come up with a completely brand new idea, it is often sparked by something we’ve seen or done. If you haven’t done anything new in a while, there’s no wonder the creativity refuses to flow. With no new experiences to build on, inspiration can be hard to find. You don’t need to go too far for this inspiration either, and it doesn’t need to be overly dramatic. Unless you’ve been planning it for a while, there’s no need to go on a skydive for a new perspective. Something as simple as playing a new video game or finding a new show to watch can be all it takes to get the creative process back into action.
6. Drop the Perfectionist Attitude
When you’re in a creative role, there is nothing more satisfying than achieving something that people have never seen before. However, you don’t have to be at your best every single time. While you don’t need to get into a 9-5 routine unless your job calls for it, you shouldn’t get hung up on producing your best every single time. It would be nice, but it can be unrealistic, so drop your quality standards temporarily until you return to a position where you can push the limits once again.
7. Dabble in Education
Some might say that there’s no such thing as an original thought, and everything ‘new’ is a different combination of existing ideas. Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, it is a good idea never to lose sight of the opportunity for education. If nothing else, it will keep you up to date on what’s possible. If you paint, check out the latest techniques. If you write, learn about new places to distribute your work. The more you know, the more you have to draw on to get your spark back.
8. Make Extensive Use of Your Phone’s Recording Capabilities
We’re not just talking about the sound here. Mobile modern phones are great for creative types, as you can instantly create a record of just about anything. If an idea pops into your head, jot it down in the notes app or record yourself talking about it. If you see something that could inspire you later, take a photo or make a video. When you have loads of ideas floating around, it can be hard to remember things, and these records take that responsibility away.
9. Put Ideas Down on Paper
Many people get hung up on creativity being a mental process. However, if you’re blocked up enough to be willing to try anything, you may wish to create charts and processes. As long as the finished piece is up to scratch, it doesn’t matter how you get there, even if it’s a more formulaic process than you might like.
10. Use Deadlines to Your Advantage
If you don’t have to do something right now, why not forget about it altogether for a while? Switching your mind off from work and the creative process gives you the time and opportunity to recharge. By the time you return, you’ll have a new perspective on what needs to be done and can use this freshness to your advantage.