12 Ways To Stoke Your Creative Fire
Do you sometimes feel like you’re in a creative slump? Do you need a productive day or week but your creativity is on pause? As a creative professional, I rely on my creativity every day. It is imperative that I stay motivated and inspired.
Here are 12 of my go-to tips and tricks for fueling creativity:
1. Go For a Walk
Taking a break, being outdoors and breathing fresh air can work wonders for the creative spirit. It’s a big win, all around. You benefit from some exercise, clean air in your lungs and you return to your project with fresh eyes. Walking grounds you when you’re feeling frazzled. Allowing for space in your mind – without any self-pressure – allows a wave of new ideas to flow in.
2. Visit Your Favourite Book Store
Whenever I start working on a new project, or for a new client, I like to get a fancy coffee and browse the magazine section for inspiration. I can research a specific topic. I can take in visual ideas from book cover designs and magazine layouts. For a graphic designer, like myself, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. If you’re a writer, take some time to read a few passages, from both a favourite author and someone brand new.
3. Workout or Clean Your Space
By doing mindless reps, following repetitive choreography or tidying up my home or office, I get hit with unique ideas, all the time. For big picture conceptualizing, you need to take that step back. It’s all about giving yourself the space for creativity to enter. It’s a form of surrender.
Working from home, your kitchen table, your couch, the library or a coffee shop can help you snap out of your creative funk. For myself, working at a coffee shop is a huge treat. I don’t do it often but when I do, I like to bring my laptop and sketch book and dive into a specialty project.
5. Plan a Co-working Day
Do you work mostly alone? Since I work with a virtual team, it can get lonely sometimes. Physically working alongside other like-minded professionals for a day always helps me get the creative juices flowing. Using your co-working buddies, to bounce ideas off of, is a great way to brainstorm. Group thoughts morph into ideas of your own that begin to feel right.
When you feel stuck, be still. Take the time to ask your angels and guides to help you. Ask them to help you welcome and ignite your own creative genius. It’s in you. It always is. Sometimes we just forget because life happens. If we are going through something – emotionally or physically -our thoughts become clouded by stress, worry or fear. Meditating helps us to think clearly and observe ourselves, objectively. Identifying and releasing your blocks will allow your creativity to return.
7. Creative Journal
Journaling goes hand in hand with meditating. Identify your creative blocs and write them down. Being hyper-aware of what’s holding you back from being creative and innovative makes it easier to move forward. Often, there is some releasing or mindset shifting that needs to happen. A journal is also a great place to store all your creative ideas for future use.
8. Browse Pinterest
Sometimes you just need a good dose of inspiration. I’ve found Pinterest to be the quickest place to search for specific ideas. You can access endless amounts of inspiring images from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can save your Pins to a Secret Board and refer back to them again and again. This online tool is great for creative professionals who need visual inspiration for things like colour palettes, home decor, packaging design, logo design, crafts, DIY projects, weddings, fashion, hairstyles, etc.
9. Call Upon Your Mastermind Group
According to Napoleon Hill, Best Selling Author of Think and Grow Rich, every successful person has a mastermind group; a peer-to-peer mentoring group of individuals who help each other reach higher and achieve more. The members of these groups usually have various strengths and talents that complement each other. When you are stuck in your creativity, reaching out to a friend, colleague, spouse or mastermind group can help you get unstuck and see your project or goal in a new light.
10. List & Sketch
Think of this exercise as your own creative brief. When I have a project to design – a brochure for example – I always start by writing down all the elements that need to be included as a bullet list. I sketch out the pages and start placing the content where I think it makes the most sense. I sketch where headings, body copy, images, bullets, graphic elements, call to action and contact info will go. When I feel good about it, I’ll recreate it on the computer. I always find it easier to think clearly when I start on paper. Try it for yourself.
11. Sleep On It
Even when I'm in a good creative zone, there are some projects I never send to a client right after I’ve finished a first draft. Take a step back, sleep on it and come back to it with fresh eyes. It’s all part of the incubation period. Great ideas take time to perfectly execute. They require thought, reflection and space to grow and be nurtured into even better ideas.
12. Take a Break
If you’re drawing a blank or feeling frustrated because you’re just not on your creative A-game, STOP. Either come back to it the next day, if you can, or at the very least take a break. Try one of the above tips or tricks or take a micro-break. A chiropractor client once told me that if you work on computers all day, it is really important to take these micro-breaks every 45 mins. This simply means standing up, taking some deep breaths, stretching a little and centering yourself. It can be done in as little as 30 seconds. You’ll be amazed at the benefit. It’s good for your mind and a good preventive measure for your physical body. When all else fails, take a vacation!
I’d love to hear your feedback! Which of these tips is your favourite? Or do you have your own tip to share with us? Please do tell! Sharing is caring.