Creativity is for some like water pouring from a spout. It flows freely and can be turned off if necessary. Others have creative minds that aren’t so free-flowing. They turn on their creativity tap and out comes a trickle, or even no water at all. In short, creativity is more elusive for some than it is for others.
This can be infuriating when you’re working on a personal project, but anxiety-inducing when you’re trying to come up with something creative on a work deadline. Creativity should be unbridled, but the world doesn’t always work that way — sometimes you do have to turn it on when necessary.
If you’re having a hard time finding ways to fuel your own creativity, here are four different ways you can attempt to unclog your mental spout and let the creativity really flow.
Read a Book
Sometimes the best way to find your own creativity is to step into the pages of someone else’s. Whether you’re trying to come up with an advertisement design or write copy — whatever your creative goal is, reading a book can help you to reach it. Finding new ideas and perspectives can actually broaden your own horizons and give you new ideas of your own. In fact, the more obscure the book and the more out there the topic, the better off you are.
Try a Different Medium
Another issue that comes up with creativity is that we get too used to our well-worn tools. For writers, sometimes pen and paper is more comfortable to us than typing something out. For artists, painting may be prefered over charcoals and pastels. When creativity seems to be fleeting, step outside of your comfort zone and try a new vehicle for your craft. It forces us to try harder and look at things from a different angle, hopefully getting the creative juices flowing.
Stop Trying so Hard
If the above effort fails and trying harder or in a different way doesn’t spark your creativity, stop trying at all. It can be difficult to accomplish if a deadline is looming, but try to squeeze in a little “nothing time” if possible. Clear your head and practice mindfulness — sometimes our ability to be creative becomes clogged when we try too hard to force the creativity in the first place. Take a walk outside, get some noise cancelling headphones, turn the TV off…anything that puts you inside your clear and conscious mind can lead to the calm before the creative storm.
Try and Try Again
Finally, sometimes instead of trying too hard or not trying at all, the best way to fuel your creativity is to simply keep trying the same things over and over again. If you have even one idea, but you aren’t sure that it’s a good one, keep working at it. Creativity leads to success, but there’s a lot of little failures that will happen along the way. To be creative means to embrace this possibility of failure, no matter how many times it may happen. Be optimistic — know that eventually you will succeed.