We've all been in creative slumps, it's just something that happens. Inspiration runs out, but the good news is there are many different ways you can find it again to give your creativity an extra boost. One of the most important things is to keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Stay open to learning new things, trying new things, and seeing things with a different perspective. When you're curious and willing to explore the world around you, you can find inspiration just about anywhere.
Always Carry a Notebook and Pen
Creativity and inspiration can strike at any time, and often they like to reveal itself at the most inconvenient moments. Whether it's walking home from work, cleaning out the car, or buying groceries -- sometimes just a noise, image, or person can inspire an amazing idea. Without a notebook handy, those brilliant ideas can just disappear into thin air. Well, that is until you hop into the shower.
This is probably why so many creative professionals are almost religious about carrying a notebook and pen around with them at all times. You can jot down anything the moment it pops into your head and then come back to it later. Always having a pen on you is also a surprisingly great way to network and meet people. You never know where you might be or who you might be talking to when the need for a pen arises. This tip is one of our CEO's personal favorites.
Disclaimer: Creative Market does not recommend note taking while driving or operating other heavy machinery.
Doodling & Creativity Journals
Doodling is meant to be a completely subconscious activity where you simple put pen/pencil to paper and start drawing. It's basically the act of creating something while your mind is focused elsewhere. Maybe these doodles will spark a new idea or creative project...who knows? The world is your canvas, so let yourself go into creative mode completely, and see where your imagination takes you.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out these posts related to doodling and creativity:
- 40 Great Examples of Doodle Art
- 10 Doodling Apps to Unleash Your Creativity
- 26 Doodle Artworks for Your Inspiration
If you want to really get your creative juices flowing, you might try a creativity journal. This can just be a collection of your ideas, or you can try out using a variety of prompts for journaling and coming up with new ideas.
Here are some creative writing and brainstorming prompts to try out:
- Create a new character - it can be written out ideas or a physical sketch of an animal, person, or alien.
- Write down quotes that inspire you.
- Describe people and things you see around you. Take time to focus on the details and really do your best to describe every little thing that you see.
- Draw something you see, it could be a a tree, a frog, or a cloud. It doesn't matter just try and capture whatever you see around you.
Looking for more creative writing and drawing prompts? Check out these resources to help you stay creative:
Surround Yourself with Creative People
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself”. - Jim Rohn
When you surround yourself with creative people who are motivated to expand their horizons, you will discover that you are constantly learning. A group of creative friends can help you see things from a different perspective and be a sounding board for you to bounce your own ideas around. These kinds of people will challenge you intellectually and creatively, helping you to grow and think differently about your work and the world around you.
These are all great places to meet creative people:
- Local Meetups
- Co-Working Spaces and Coffee Houses
- Join a Gym or Workout Class
- Attend a Conference or Talk
If someone suggests a book, class, or movie that you should check out...there's no harm in checking it out. Taking their idea for a spin might just give you a fresh perspective and a new way of looking at things. The blog 365 Ways to Stay Creative is a great resource for daily recommendations to help you stay creative.
Follow Through on an Idea
Have you ever started on a project completely overcome with excitement, and then for some reason your enthusiasm petered out? It could be because something else came up or because you simply lost interest. If this happens more often than not, try changing the project, make it different, or approach it from a new direction. Use your creativity to make the project enjoyable. Then, not only will you finish a project, you will have thought of a creative way to finish it where you enjoy it completely.
If you're really struggling to get things done, try these quick tips:
- Don't Be a Perfectionist: Don't stop your project just because you don't think it's perfect or just right. Keep going even if you feel like there are mistakes.
- Change the Project: Turn your project into something else, make it accomplish a different goal, or look at it from a different perspective.
- Don't Force It: Ultimately, if the project really isn't working out kill it, but understand why you've killed it. Have you taken the time to try and transform it into something else? If so, and it's still really not working...maybe it is time to move on.
Still having trouble finishing things? Check out these articles for advice and support:
Work on Your Creativity Daily
Your physical muscles only continue to get stronger when you continue to work at making them stronger. The same goes for your creativity. You have to continually train and work on your creative muscles to get them tough, strong, and read to rock n' roll.
Try doing something creative with your time every day. Paint something, sketch, doodle, take a class, or just go outside and explore the world.
Check out resources and things to try to stay creative everyday:
Know the Rules First, then Break the Rules
When you're trying to create something new and innovative, it's good to know what's already out there so you can move in a different direction, or adapt and change to make a new twist on existing ideas. Before you can be truly innovative and creative you need to immerse yourself in everything else that's already been done. Not only will you become more knowledgeable about the art, design, and creative community, but you'll see how you would change certain pieces and do things a little differently.
Learn the Basics Here, Before You Break the Rules:
- 10 Basic Rules for Graphic Design
- The Basics of Typography
- The Color Wheel & Color Theory
- Introduction to Elements of Design: Point & Line
What are some of your favorite tips for staying creative? Let us know in the comments!