- Vanessa Rowley-Matthew
7 Easy Ways To Spark Your Creativity When Out of Ideas
Updated: Feb 25
Sometimes, creating content makes you want to pull your hair out of your arm one strand at a time. Developing content about a topic you are passionate about seems like it should always come easy, but sometimes you face mental blocks when it comes to being a creator. So when I found myself creatively stuck a few weeks ago, a mentor told me some things to do to help get my creative juices flowing again, and I want to share them with you.
1. Chop It Up With Friends And Family
Sometimes, casual talks with your inner circle can help with creativity roadblocks. Everyone in your circle, from close friends to your teenage cousins, experiences life differently. They all may have unique, creative ideas they can share to help you out.
For example, I have some family members and friends who are incredibly witty. Others "have no filter." But, to me, their ability to think on their feet is a true testament to their creativity level.
I also occasionally like to talk with strangers, in safe spaces, of course. Many of the ideas I've developed upon over my career came from random conversations started on the train, at restaurants, or at events while networking. But for the most part, it is all about asking questions of those around you.
2. Listen To A Podcast
When you're busy, and on the go, podcasts can be one of your best resources for creative ideas. Listen to podcasts focused on life, creativity, or marketing. Books, creative websites, and podcasts can spark creative ideas, too!
3. Create A Swipe File
Having a "swipe file" does not mean you're swiping other people's ideas and content. Instead, a swipe file is intended to help you look at new possibilities for the work you're doing.
When you find great content, images, websites, and more, organize your 'Bookmarks' folder into a digital filing system and save what you find instead of trying to remember what site you were on.
You don't want to forget where you saw something you knew could help you throw more creativity into your work. Remember, even Picasso mirrored the work of others before creating original artwork. And creating a file of creative works you can reference is not just a suggestion but what marketing pros do.
4. Explore Freeform Writing
On my nightstand, I keep a book. I would hate ever to have a great idea and then forget my idea if too much time passes. I even take this book with me when I travel. You may think that this book should only be used for your ideas. It shouldn't. This book should be used for creative expression in its many forms, from drawings to words of wisdom.
5. Free Your Mind From Everything
Sometimes it's hard for ideas to come together. Clear your mind by stepping away from a project to meditate or take a walk. And I get it. Some people say mindless activities help. Try it. When your mind is relaxed, it does release dopamine, which can increase creativity. When I first started in marketing, my supervisor encouraged me to take walks every so often to help clear my mind and think more creatively.
6. Practice Taking Creative Risks At Work
Let's look at Pixar. They do a fantastic job of encouraging their team to take risks. As a result, employees get to express their wildest ideas in a safe space. Pixar sets out not only to examine ideas but explore the dynamics of the room.
If you've got a team at work, try open and honest collaborations. You never know what genius ideas your team will come up with. Collaborations can spark creativity, too.
7. Live Life
In the documentary "The Creative Brain" on Netflix, jazz musician Robert Glasper makes an excellent point. He stated that he wouldn't create great music if he didn't have a life outside his music.
As humans, we don't generate something out of nothing. Instead, we take inputs from everything around us to be creative, as creativity doesn't have to mean original...more like remixed.
To think about it, some of the best Hip-Hop songs ever are remixes.
How do you spark creativity in your life? Share in the comments below.