How I Get My Creativity Back


Creativity is not just for people in the arts. Creative people come up with all kinds of  solutions: from math problems, engineer dilemmas, financing options to book titles, video concepts and logo designs. Creatives make things happen when others can’t. I have made a career of helping my clients to think innovatively. But I get stuck from time to time–nothing fresh comes to mind. Sometimes nothing at all comes to mind, not even a bad idea. Here’s a few strategies I have used over the years to re-start my creativity.

What to do when you get stuck creatively

Leave. The longer I sit and stare or try to think harder the worse it gets. I just cannot will my mind to be creative when it’s tired or at an impasse. My best option is to leave the situation and find something else to do for a while.

Sleep. I cannot tell you how refreshing a good night’s sleep is on my brain. The opposite is true when I haven’t had enough sleep. Rest is perhaps one of the most important, if not the most important fuel of creativity. When I haven’t had enough rest, I’m not creative but irritable and mean, instead.

Shower. Ok, this might not work for everyone, but I have had several break-throughs while in the shower. Some of my best ideas have come out during a long, hot shower. I have even replaced my water heater with a tankless system that provides unlimited hot water just in case it takes me longer to find a solution than the amount of hot water left in the tank.

Run. There’s something wonderful about running early in the morning to open up my mind for the possibilities of the day. I have found myself more creative when the running endorphins kick in early.

Laugh. I cannot be innovative when I’m not happy. I’m convinced that laughter helps, well, everything including creativity.

How do you get un-stuck creatively?

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    This makes me think of my graphics work. When I'm stuck, I sometimes flip through some old work and try to remember what I was thinking at the time. sometimes I'll find abandoned ideas that I can give new life too.

    I also have an extensive library of collected graphics that I use for inspiration sometimes.

  • Linda

    This is a great list. I probably should be laughing more. Thank you.

  • Joseph

    Friends. I meet and have coffee with friends and over great discussions it all seems to come back.

  • I am definitely the most creative when I've had a good night's sleep (which unfortunately doesn't happen often) or when I'm being physically active.

    If I find myself stuck I'll get and walk around, workout, do a chore or whatever. Guess you could say life provides inspiration, but if you're sitting at a desk trying to be inspired, you aren't living it.

  • I really need a notepad and a pen that work in the shower. 😉

  • Ian Black

    I agree with all of these… I can especially relate to the shower part! My wife laughs at me when she sees me drawing on the shower glass. This may sound wierd, but I often get creative solutions while sitting in church. And yes I am listening to the message, but often times I will get the solution to a creative problem I am wrestling with during the message. I think it's God's little way of helping me out! Great post!

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