There is a misconception about creativity. It’s the thought that people who are “creative” have this constant source of inspiration and are always thinking of new ideas and really just can’t keep up with their own thoughts sometimes. Unfortunately, creativity isn’t something you can just turn on and turn off. The other misconception is that someone who is “not creative” will always be that way. Creativity can be learned, just like math, spelling, or a language. That means that creativity is also an active thing. Nothing will just come to you, it takes work. Try these ways to get those juices flowing.
These exercises can be done to generate ideas for something specific or they can be to just practice being creative. Yes, that’s a thing. The more you practice creatively thinking, the more you’ll naturally do it in the future!
Set a one or two minute timer and write down as many ideas as you can.
Listen to music and doodle along with it. Use symbols, types of lines, or literal objects. Repeat the same song again if necessary.
Try one of these “finish the picture” challenges. These come from an actual creativity test – think outside the box! (Image via: 99u)
Google it. Okay, yes, this one may not seem as creative, but the key here is to not get sucked in to the thousands of links and images. Google it, pick 5 that jump out to you within 10 minutes of searching, then close that computer and work with an idea. Write, doodle, jot things down, combine things together, take things apart, etc.
Visit an inspiring place. Go outside! Travel! Walk through the park, whatever! Take pictures or bring a notebook to sketch or write things down.
Try something. Have an idea but don’t know if it will actually work? Try it! You’re not going to make the perfect lasagna unless you put those ingredients together. Don’t be afraid to mess it up either. It’s part of the creative learning process. Mess-ups make you rethink and refine your idea.
Where do you have the most creativity block? What has helped you push through it?