31 Ways to Break a Creative Funk

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Some days creativity flows freely, and the ideas pour out of you like a fire hose. Other days...things get a little clogged up.

Not to worry! Here are 31 ways to get those creative juices flowing and break out of that funk. 

1. Emulate your role models

Ask yourself, "who is the very best at what I'm trying to do?". Then go back and look at their work, their best work, their masterpieces. Imagine being them; put yourself in their skin moments before they completed the work. How do you feel? Carry that feeling over to your own project.

2. Recite a mantra

Repeating a phrase or mantra such as "I have many great ideas" or "My creativity is flowing freely" can trick your mind into actually believing that it's true. At the end of the day, your mind is a computer, and it can only do what you tell it to. So give it the right input, and you'll get the best output.

3. Listen to music

Music is one of the most creative avenues of expression. By taking a few minutes to stop and listen to your favorite song, you'll be able to connect with the artist and feel their creativity which can inspire you and open the floodgates of your imagination.

4. Try automatic writing

One of the very best ways to break out of a creative block is automatic writing. So, take out a piece of paper; this doesn't work as well on keyboards. All you want to do is start writing. The words are irrelevant; nonsense is the name of the game. Don't think about what you're jotting down at all. Just start writing and let your subconscious be the author.

5. Take a walk

If you've been sitting at your desk all day, then taking a walk around the block can be all you need to gain some perspective and refresh your mind. As you walk, pay attention to the details of your surroundings. Look at all the colours, smell the smells, listen to the sounds of life going on around you. Opening yourself up to external stimuli can help tremendously.

6. Get some fresh air

Sometimes all you need to do to break out of a rut is just get some fresh air. Open up a window, step outside for a moment. Taking a step back and allowing yourself to breathe in some fresh air can reset your focus and rejuvenate your creativity.

7. Meditate

If you ask a creative type what they do to overcome creative blocks, they will probably tell you to meditate. The advice has been given out so often that it's become a cliché, but that's because it really works. By letting go of all your worries and stresses, being present in the moment, and just focusing on your breath, your mind will breathe a sigh of relief, and you'll be invigorated physically, mentally, and creatively.

8. Exercise

You don't have to do any advanced yoga or high-intensity strength training. Just get your body moving and your blood flowing. Running on the spot, doing a few push-ups, any type of exercise will help elevate your mood, which can make all the difference when you're combating a creative block.

9. Brainstorm

It should go without saying that brainstorming is the best way to come up with new ideas. Surprisingly, many people take the idea for granted, but there is an actual method for brainstorming, and it's not the same thing as just thinking. Take out a pen and write your meta goal in the center of a piece of paper, then think of things associated with that idea and draw an arrow to them. Keep branching out until you find what you're looking for. 

10. Ask a friend

It might be the case that you're just too close to the project to see it objectively. Try bouncing ideas off a friend or colleague. They might come up with an idea really quickly that will, in hindsight, seem obvious to you. It's not that you couldn't or wouldn't have thought of it yourself; it's just that you were so totally focused on the task at hand that you left a blind spot in your periphery. Hey, that's what friends are for.

11. Play a game

Kids are much more creative than adults. It's just a fact of life. So ask yourself, what do children like to do? Well, they like to play games. So, play a game. Whether it's a video game, mobile game, board game, or any other type of game, just the act of getting into play mode can help you tap into the wealth of creativity that kids take for granted.

12. Listen to a podcast

When you are looking for inspiration, then listening to somebody who has had success in your particular field can be a great source of information. After all, this is a person who has been where you are and has found a way to overcome their own creative blocks and be successful. Let them tell you what they did, and who knows, it might just work for you too.

13. Eat something

If you're hungry, you won't be able to concentrate on being creative. It's really that simple. It all comes down to biology; being creative is a luxury, eating is a necessity. Only once your body has what it needs to survive will it allow you to be creative, so the next time you notice a mental block, ask yourself if you're hungry, and if you are, then take a break and have a bite to eat.

14. Speak with your inner child

Back when you were a kid, you had all sorts of awesome, super-creative ideas. As you got older, you had to work a bit harder to tap into that wealth of creativity, but the child that you were is still there inside of you. So, open a dialogue. Think back to a moment in your childhood and ask the version of yourself in that moment what they would do. Their answers might surprise you.

15. Improvise

Improv is one of the most creative performing arts. Try this, pretend that you are someone else, somewhere else, doing something else. Fill in the blanks. Try to be as outrageous as you can be. Now, ask that person what they're doing and let the pieces fall into place.

16. Draw something

It doesn't matter if you're Da Vinci or struggle to draw stick people. Just let yourself draw something. It could be anything, a person, animal, landscape, whatever comes to mind. The important thing isn't what you're drawing but the fact that you thought of something to draw, which means your creative mind is re-engaging.

17. Take a break

Hey, sometimes you just need a break. When you are stressing out about a project and no good ideas seem to be coming to you, then it's okay to stop for a few minutes. You don't have to do anything in particular; just by giving yourself permission to take a break, your mind will be able to recharge and reset.

18. Watch a live stream

Live streaming requires a ton of creativity. Streamers rely on being creative and capturing their audience's attention to gain viewership and earn a living. Nobody wants to tune into a boring stream, so jump on Twitch and look at the people with the most viewers; head into their room and see what they're doing to keep their energy up and their creativity coming.

19. Sing a song

Creativity comes in many forms, and sometimes the best way to get a boost in one area is to be creative in another. Try singing out loud. Don't worry about being self-conscious; after all, you're a creator. Get in touch with your inner superstar, and your creativity will be unleashed across the board.

20. Sleep on it

Sometimes, no matter what you try, you just can't seem to get any ideas. So, don't beat yourself up about it, it's a natural part of the creative process, and everybody goes through it often. Your subconscious mind has infinitely more ideas than your conscious mind, and when you sleep, your subconscious can take charge. Remember, many of the innovative ideas that went on to change the world came from dreams.

21. Keep a journal

As much as you might want an idea to come to you right now, at this very moment, the truth is that you can't force creativity. It comes when it comes, and it's not always at the most convenient times. So start a creativity journal. Wherever you happen to be when a great idea comes to you, write it down in the journal, and when you run into a creative wall, flip through the pages to reconnect with your creative power.

22. Do some cleaning

There is something almost meditative about doing simple housework. Maybe it's the fact that it doesn't require much thought. Whatever it is, taking ten minutes to step away from your project and do the dishes can actually help get your creative juices flowing again.

23. Visualize your goals

In your mind's eye, picture what you want the project to look like. Imagine the reaction of those who will read your work, hear your song, watch your movie, or see your art. Put yourself in their eyes and look out at your finished project. You might just see the answer to your creative problem.

24. Make a vision board

Vision boards are a great tool for tapping into latent creative potential. Go online and Google search any images that you think might be relevant to your project. Copy and paste all of the images onto a single page so that you can look at a collage. The trick is to leave a few empty spaces and let your mind fill in the gaps.

25. Watch a documentary

Sometimes just watching a movie or even a short video on YouTube can trigger your creative engine to start back up. Video is a creative medium, and absorbing any time of creative content is a great way to find inspiration and unlock your own creativity.

26. Keep it simple

Sometimes you might be focused so intently on coming up with a crazy, innovative idea that's never been seen or done before that you can overlook a simple solution that's staring you in the face. Ask yourself, "is there a really simple answer to this that I'm not seeing?". Oftentimes there will be.

27. Read a book

When you are trying really hard to think of new ideas, your mind can shut down. However, when you are reading, your mind knows that it doesn't have to think much and instead enters a receptive mode, which can encourage new ideas to start flowing again.

28. Have a bath

Running a bath or having a shower can be another great way to refresh your mind and refocus your creative powers. Let yourself relax and unwind. Put all of your worries out of your mind and simply enjoy a soak in the tub. Not only will you feel better, but your creative mind might just reboot.

29. Ask Alexa

These days, artificial intelligences such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, or Google's Assistant are widely available and can be a great resource. Asking an A.I. for some inspiration can produce some really interesting results and might be just the thing you need to get your mind flowing again.

30. Remember why you're doing this

Take a moment to remember why it is that you're doing this in the first place. Why did you take the job or start the project?. Remember why you were inspired to begin the project and connect with that part of yourself that knows you can do it.

31. Don't be afraid to take risks

Ultimately, any creative pursuit involves an element of risk. What if people don't like it? What if it doesn't turn out the way you imagined? What if people laugh at you? The truth is that those things seldom happen. Every single great idea that has ever moved somebody's heart or changed the world came about because someone had the courage to tune those anxieties out and take a risk.  

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