Take advantage when your creative juices are flowing

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sually I come across articles along the line of ‘I’m stuck in a rut.’ What we often forget is that we can harness our days when we are more creative and productive in order to make a backlog of ideas that we can rely upon when we are in a drought.

For creatives – having a lull in motivation or being unable to come up with new ideas for their audience instills fear as they panic. The vicious cycles begins: lose motivation –> panic –> lose more motivation/ begin to procrastinate –> panic, then rinse and repeat. Our ‘off’ phases begin in this manner and we get stuck in a rut.

What I can tell you is that there are a couple of very easy ways to stock up on your creativity. These few exercises revolve around mindfulness and the ability to document great ideas as they come to you.

1) Pen and Paper

ALWAYS keep a pen and paper near you to record those creative ideas. I remember thinking of great ideas only to discover that they slipped my mind as easily as they came. Studies show that your creativity flows better when you physically write down something on paper as opposed to typing in liquid ink. There are a couple of exercises that can also  be beneficial.

  1. Doodle on a piece of paper with your non-dominant hand. This activates different part of the brain that usually induce creativity and clarity of thoughts.
  2. Create mind maps: creativity can flow from other thoughts and ideas, so a mind map helps us to interconnect these ideas in a visual way. This is especially important for those who like to experience their creativity in a visual manner.
  3. Use beautiful stationary: It sets the scene for creativity, don’t spend too long staring at fancy pens and paper though! There are some beautiful printables that you can find on www.etsy.com for quite cheap. Or you can look around the internet.

2) When you have creative momentum, take advantage

When you are on a creative, take advantage of it by utilising these techniques.

  1. Record all your thoughts, no matter how nonsense or disordered they may sound. This is know as the ‘brain dump’ method.
  2. Keep away from all distractions. Turn off your phone ASAP!
  3. Talk it out loud: some people are more audio-inclined and their brains react to hearing ideas. When you talk you also involve your language/speech centers which increases your creativity.

3) Seek out more ideas

Your creative ideas are fantastic, even if you don’t think so. From what we have here we can keep going to come up with further ideas and topics.

  1. You can use a thesaurus
  2. Use ‘similar searches’ such as googling similar terms and topics, change up your search terms with synonyms
  3. You can also use different tools such as Google Trends to see what topics are trending

4) Take ideas from design school

Designers are obviously known for their creativity and coming up with new ideas in many different fields. These ideas might help you on the days you are feeling creative.

  1. Go to a new location: new locations provide the brain with new stimulus, perfect for coming up with fresh ideas. Do you feel better when you are closer to nature? Perhaps a trip to the coffee shop is in order.
  2. Get a large piece of paper and try to sketch out some ideas (particularly useful for artists)
  3. Take 50 minutes to draw/write as much as possible on your sheet of paper. Do not go back and forth between tasks as time away from your sheet causes you to hold back and begin to censor ideas.

How to draw from your creative memory bank

So you have created a stockpile of ideas, here are a few way to draw from the bank on your less-creative days!

  1. Do not drain all your ideas on one day.
  2. Use similar searches to produce other ideas, you will be surprised how different ideas can be connected.
  3. Don’t get upset if you can’t think of anything – perhaps it’s one of your more logical days that you can utilise for more mundane tasks, or some time for yourself 🙂
  4. A major block to any creativity is stress – if you are stuck in a rut it is time to ask yourselves if there is any other facet of your life that you need to pay attention to first.

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