[4 MINUTE READ]
Creativity is an important skill and trying to cultivate it can sometimes seem frustrating and impossible. We’re all faced with times where we feel the last thing we want to do is get up and produce – especially when we’re faced with a pressuring deadline.
Creativity can be elusive just when you desperately need it and, at times, it can seem like magic that does not come from within… no matter how much you wish for it to. It can be particularly frustrating to feel stuck and land in comparison land of wondering how the heck some people seem to have an endless supply of inspiration.
While you may feel like you’re not able to turn on the lightbulb on command, I’ve got a few helpful tips that I’ve learned over the years to boost your creativity when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. No one is down with the ruts, I get it – k?
1. Get enough sleep
I thought people who told me to sleep on things were just being concerned adults, but I’ve found a great night’s sleep helps me to find solutions to any potential issues that are preventing me from both starting, and continuing a creative task. You know those problems where you’re like: “How do I fix this? How do I make this better?” Sleeping on it can help your mind reset and you might wake up with a great solution to the problem that has been annoying you for ages! As you know I love my bed so any excuse to spend an appropriate amount of time there is a bonus.
2. Change it up
I’m a big traveller and travelling is my absolute favourite way to change my surroundings. I know that’s not something that everyone has the luxury of doing – so even changing your office space, creative space or even going out to a coffee shop can help boost your creativity! If you’re feeling stagnant and work remotely, go work in a local café. If you’re needing a change, move some items on your desk or even grab yourself a different cup of tea. Change is not the enemy of creativity, remember that.
3. Go for a walk
Taking a walk makes you break up your sitting. The average person sits down between 7 and 15 hours a day – which is an insane amount! A study by Stanford found that walking improves creativity. Getting outside not only gets you out of your normal surroundings but also gets you breathing in the fresh air, and improving your creative thinking. It’s probably why so many people who are successful have walking meetings. Walking increases blood flow, it wakes up your body and, in my experience, engages my mind.
Set aside a few minutes to get out in the world and soak up the bustle of your city. Explore new sights, go for a walk around the block or grab a coffee at a local hotspot to get out of your work zone for 10 minutes. You will return to work refreshed and looking forward to the task.
4. Get collaborating
As a photographer and freelance creative expert, you can usually find me working with other people. This is one of the best (and one of my favourite) ways to develop your creativity. Being able to collaborate on art projects, campaigns, mood boards, and brand development allows me to bounce ideas off of other people and learn to adapt to other people’s perspectives.
Collaboration can help you see other angles and approaches. It is also a great way to boost your creativity by encouraging you to be adaptable to new insights and opinions. Working on projects that require creativity and are not your own ideas helps you exercise that creative muscle for someone else.
5. Pay attention
I have days when ideas fly at me non-stop, and I have days when I can’t come up with an idea for the life of me. I’ve learned to help prevent myself become empty-handed. Because if you’re like me, you may not lack creative ideas, but you might struggle to remember them all!
To stop this from happening, you need to pay attention and write down your ideas as they come to you. Whether you take notes on your phone, in an actual notebook or even on your laptop, just write those ideas down. Preserve your awesome creative ideas and keep them for a later date to use when you’re in another rut. Any of your ideas could be useful in the future.
I use the notepad on my phone for everything. From blog titles, photoshoots, captions, campaign ideas – you name it. Inspiration is all around you – you just have to want to see it!
When you need to get creative, one of the biggest hurdles can be overcoming your fear of failure. The “what if” monster creeps can easily creep into your brain and tells you about all the horrible ways your idea can’t work. Meditation can stop this thought process in its tracks. It has also been linked to increased creative thinking so it’s a win-win situation.
Transcendental meditation has really changed my life and given me space to improve my creative thinking process. If you’ve never practiced it, all I can really tell you is to get to it! Not only does it relax your body, but it also enables you to focus your mind. Because your mind is clear, you are more receptive to those positive vibes and energetic flow!
7. Just do it
When we’re in a rut, it can be tempting to avoid the creative task altogether. Hello, nice to meet you – I’m the queen of procrastination and I’m no stranger to putting my whole day off unless I force myself to just sit down and do it. Taking on creative task without judgment is the biggest hurdle. You just need to sit down (or stand up if you need to), face your fear and get at it!
In our minds, it’s easy to build up a particular task as worse than it actually is. When we’re struggling to be creative, we need to face the problem head-on. Just trying to be creative can increase our ability to think creatively. Just try and give it a go. Remember, your spaces is a sacred, judgment-free zone.
All of these tips might have research studies behind them and experts promoting them. All of these tips may have worked for me but what works for you might be completely different. The best way to boost your own creativity is to listen to yourself. Creativity isn’t this elusive magic substance that you have to barter for, you just need to cultivate it. Grow your own creativity plant, water it and take care of it – then it will take care of you. What works for you, and where do you tend to go when you need inspiration? I’d love to hear in the comments below!