One of my favourite ways to get creative lately is to read. When I set aside even just 15 minutes a night before going to bed, I always wake up with so many more ideas. I think the trick is to also not get stuck in one genre too. Whether it be a business or biography book, the more variety I tend to read, the more creative I am. Reading also helps alleviate stress and distract you from late night thoughts, and I don’t know about you guys, but for me stress is one of the biggest creativity killers.
Different work environments
There’s only so many days I can work from home. Being in the same work environment and looking at the same thing each day is a total creativity buzz kill. I love taking my laptop to cafes (coffee helps a lot too) and working from there. Just being around so many new conversations, people, sounds, and things to look at helps more than you’ll ever know.
Sometimes doing the same thing day in & day out can get you in a creative slump. Try doing or adding something different into your everyday routine. Perhaps try a different route to work or change up your morning routine. Add in a workout or talk to someone unexpected. Old ways wont open new doors.
Anecdotal literature suggests that creative people sometimes use bodily movement to help overcome mental blocks and lack of inspiration. It was actually proven in a research that people who exercise regularly improves creative thought. It stated that exercising on a regular basis acts as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways. And it couldn’t be more true for myself. When I haven’t exercised in a few days, that’s when I notice I start reaching creative blocks. Hit the gym, go for a walk, take up a class… just do something that gets your heart pumping!
Researchers have found that it is during strong positive moods that our best creative work is done. In fact, the feeling of love or even thinking about love was shown to best encourage creative thinking. Either way, I know for a fact that when I’m around negativity or thinking cynically, it doesn’t exactly spur my creativity. Really though, who is able to be creative and inspired in a negative environment? Even if you’re not feeling it, try to find the positive. Fake it until you make it.
Engage in different arts
I think it’s important to put your hands in other kinds of creative arts other than your own. Writing and photography are my two biggest loves and first forms of creativity, but sometimes in order to spark that inspiration, I have to try different arts. Even if you’re not good at it, give it a go. I’m terrible when it comes to drawing and painting, but sometimes I do it because it’s like meditation. It puts you into a meditative-like state that helps ease your worries and encourages creative thinking. Think of it almost like exercise for your brain.
Listen to a playlist or podcast
When I’m feeling a bit in a slump, depending on my mood I either turn to a favourite playlist or podcast. If you’re looking for a motivational podcast, I love The Skinny Confidential’s Him & Her or Girl Boss. Both very inspiring for creatives, entrepreneurs and/or bloggers. When it comes to music, I find it helps break me out of just thinking one way. It changes your mood, so it has the ability to change your thinking.
Silence your self-doubt
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
Self doubt is my personal BIGGEST creativity killer. There is always a point in the creative process where I’ll have a moment of self-doubt, thinking what I’m doing isn’t good enough and I fall completely flat. Every. Single. Time. And it creates a kind of anxiety. Does anyone else experience this? I’ve found the best way to combat it is to treat each new project as a way to improve and move on. Don’t think of it like it has to be the best work you ever put out because that creates an incredible amount of pressure and expectation. Progress > Perfection.
The ability to create a compelling mood board is an incredibly useful skill. Usually if I’m writing big articles or about to do a shoot I’ll put together a big mood board (I prefer a physical one, but you can always make a digital one too). By digging through so many images, videos and ideas from other people there’s no doubt you’ll spark a bit of creativity!
Get outside yourself
When you’re in a slump, you tend to just stay in your own head a lot. Getting outside yourself means getting interested in other things besides what you’re dealing with internally. Start a side hustle, go for a hike, help a friend out or go out for a drink with them, write, volunteer… do something that’s bigger than you and your problem instead of focusing on what you’re trying to overcome. Get interested in other things and shift your focus for a while – you’d be amazed at what can happen!
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