Sometimes I find myself staring at a blank page not knowing how to start that article or find the right words for a headline of a blog posting. On days like this, I just need to find a way to get over this creative burnout and find that spark of creativity when I’m feeling uninspired.
I know I’m not alone, so I recently asked my social media network of friends and colleagues to get their thoughts on this subject and asked them where they find their creativity when they’re feeling uninspired.
Based on their recommendations, here are 12 ways to jumpstart your creativity:
1. Absorb the World Around You
Christopher Cussat, actor, writer, and a poet with a forthcoming chapbook of poetry, says that as much as creativity can be an amazing blessing, it can also be a burden.
“For creative persons, sometimes it is difficult to overcome productive blocks or even to constantly find inspiration—and this often leads creative people to feel guilty because if we’re not always busy creating, we feel that we are betraying our gift,” he says.
His advice for fighting creative burnout is to look for inspiration and creative energy in places you wouldn’t necessarily consider first. “If you’re in a rut, just open your eyes and patiently and silently absorb the minutest details and subtleties of the world around you—and then simply allow your creativity to filter what you take in and translate it back out into the universe.”
2. Walk Away
For William Howard, a marketing/communications manager with over 30 years of experience in B-to-B marketing and communications, creative burnout is not necessarily burn out as much as it is information overload.
“Sometimes we get so involved in a particular project or situation that we become overwhelmed with input,” he says. “At these times it is easy to get brain freeze and not be able to determine what information we should address first. In these situations I always find it helpful to just walk away from the situation and do something else which may be totally unrelated.”
3. Collect Articles and Links
Anna Hoge, owner of Image ICU, LLC, also steps away from the work itself and tries to do something active. Additionally, she collects links to other work and articles, and hoards them for when her brain is feeling fuzzy. She suggests these links for assistance:
4. Look to Others for Inspiration
Similarly, amateur film blogger, commentator, and critic Donovan Warren looks at other websites of similar content when he’s feeling uninspired.
“I often go to other film-related or media-related blogs to find out about things that I may not know about or things that may remind me of other interesting topics,” he says.
5. Listen to Music
Back to Warren, when he’s feeling uninspired, he also finds his creativity by putting on some background music. He pops his headphones in, opens up iTunes, double-click on a song he’d like to hear on a loop (he has iTunes set to Controls –> Repeat –> One), and listens as he tries to get the creative juices flowing.
6. Push Through It
When Tara Alemany feels uninspired, she pushes through it. Sometimes that means she writes a blog entry, or picks up the phone to call a contact.
“Other times, I listen to music, go mow the lawn, spend time with my kids, work on a presentation or read through some inspiring tweets,” says Alemany, owner/CEO of Aleweb Social Marketing. “The main thing is, I give myself the freedom to recognize that I feel uninspired without allowing myself to wallow in it.”
7. Use Index Cards
Freelance writer Mary Cvetan walks away from the computer screen and sits at a table with some index cards.
“Somehow, the act of writing lists or outlines or diagrams on a 3 x 5 card gets the ideas flowing,” she says. “I also keep a stack of index cards in my car and purse so I can capture good ideas when they hit.”
8. Stare out the Window
Cvetan also says that some very creative ideas emerge when she stares out the window and blanks out for several minutes. “You can’t always shake the metaphors loose, or yank them from where they hide in your brain. Sometimes they need to bubble up on their own.”
9. Spend Some Alone Time
Harshil Jhatakia, of Ace Consulting Services in India, finds that being alone helps.
“Loneliness gives me time to motivate myself,” Jhatakia says. “Understanding the situation and finding out a solution out of it inspires me, gets me up on my feet.
Other than this sometimes I listen to rock music and watching inspirational and happy movies helps me come over the mental tiredness.”
10. Hang out with Others
Melissa Lim’s job often requires her to be creative, so she has learned to get inspiration by hanging out with people who share similar lifestyles, goals, and interests.
“However, I think that it is sometimes good to hang around with people who are completely different from us in terms of culture, education, language and lifestyle,” says Lim, a project manager specializing in Internet Start-Ups in Singapore. “By doing so, we are exposed to their point of view, and this can give us much inspiration.”
“I find getting still and quiet allows for the mind to be able to engage on levels that you are untappable when you are stimulated by external things,” she says.
12. Shift Your Energy
The other thing that Price does to snap out of a creative funk is to have fun.
“Whatever is fun for you, whether it is playing baseball or going to the movies, when you are so focused on producing it is about shifting your energy,” she says.
How do you find your creativity? We’d love to hear what gets you over that creative hump. Leave your comments below!
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