Do you feel blocked, stalled, or overwhelmed - and lacking in creative ideas? It happens to everyone (me included) so you're not alone.
Sometimes you just need a little creative help, or a "creativity boost".
Read on. I have a SIMPLE solution for you that will get those creative ideas flowing freely!
I'll share easy Creative Thinking Techniques with you in this post, but first: an interesting tidbit on WHY you get mental blocks or your creativity seems to come to a screeching halt...
There's talk of a major decline in overall creativity in Americans over the last couple of decades. Anyone care to guess WHY?
Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come to you at the most random times? When you're in the shower, or driving down a long stretch of road for example - or maybe you even wake out of a dead sleep with a brilliant idea!
The solution? GET BORED!
Yes, get bored.
You'll actually get your best ideas when you're "bored". Or rather when you're not focused on anything specific, or have a variety of things pulling for your attention.
Boredom is a luxury in our society filled with cell phones, social media, television and other constant stimuli.
The next time you feel blocked, overwhelmed, or totally lacking in creative ideas... turn off everything, grab a nice cup of coffee, go to a nice quiet space - and don't think. Don't try to come up with creative ideas. Relax. Just sit. Stare off. And continue until your mind stops racing, gets quiet, and can actually get back into creative mode.
I love beach trips for this reason. Something about staring out at the ocean can do wonders for your brain, and your creative inspiration. Here at home I'll usually walk a mile or so down to the dam, where the sound of the water drowns out all the noise of town - and the noise in my mind - and I can sit on a big rock at the bottom and just watch the water fall.
And when I can't get out, or prefer not to? I make it a point to wake up early enough to enjoy the sunrise from my back deck with a hot cup of coffee. No distractions, no laptop or iPad or smartphone - just me and the sunrise.
An article on Newsweek explains why American creativity scores are falling:
"creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward."
"It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities."
Consider what your typical day looks like, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. How much downtime do you get in a typical day?
Interesting factoid: When you're "bored" your brain will start processing stored information, instead of dealing with the stimulus at hand. It will process thoughts, data, ideas and other things that have been pushed back to deal with what's in front of you at any given time. This is the reason you get those great ideas in the shower, on long road trips, or when you're otherwise not actively engaged in a brain-stimulating (or distracting) activity or environment. They aren't necessarily "new ideas" but rather a collection of things you've stored in your brain over time... that finally have an opportunity to come together as a single brilliant idea or concept.
When you feel "blocked" it's often just a matter of being over-stimulated and overly distracted. Stop. Get Bored. It's the simplest solution to get back into Creative Thinking mode, and get those awesome ideas flowing again!
The article on Newsweek I referenced above suggested:
"To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result)."
Creative Thinking Exercises:
To spark creative ideas, start by changing your usual environment. That may mean going somewhere you enjoy - the park, river, ocean, etc - or just going to a different (quieter) room in your home. Dress comfortable, and make it a point to go with the intention of doing nothing. Relax and just BE. Allow your mind the time and opportunity to stop processing everything at hand, and explore "stored information".
Make sure you take a notepad with you. I suggest paper & pen because a digital device is too tempting as a point of external focus. You want to give your brain the chance to focus internally, without constant stimuli.
Once you've relaxed physically and your mind stops racing, stay put and continue to focus internally. As ideas or thoughts come to you, jot them down on your notepad. They may be random or disjointed ideas, but write them down anyway as they come to you. Don't try to process them or turn them into anything more, simply note your thoughts as they come to you. Later you can take those notes and combine them into an actionable idea or concept.
You may just have a brilliant a-ha! moment in the process, or find that "all the little pieces" come together into a single concept for you. That's great!
Whatever it is, get up and go do it while it's fresh in your mind and the idea excites you! Or at least sit down and map out the strategy or plan in detail.
There are many "creative thinking skills" you can develop to help you with creative writing, or coming up with creative ideas, but I've found this to be the simplest and most effective "creative thinking technique" - and it's something anyone can easily do.
What about you? When do you get your BEST creative ideas?
I challenge you to schedule in some time to "get bored" this week... and let some magic happen.
Leave a comment below with your best method of generating creative ideas, or your experience with this simple creative thinking exercise. I'd love to hear what works for you and/or your experience with "intentional downtime"!
p.s. It can be really helpful to get an outside perspective, to brainstorm with someone else who may add ideas to yours, or to get feedback on your writing or your plans. Members of my Private Brainstorming Group find this extremely helpful as they work on various projects or marketing strategies. I offer creative ideas, creative angles, and new concepts to consider both in our weekly Brainstorming Hour sessions and in the members private forum. Join us! I'd love to help YOU spark some fun, new creative ideas in your business.
As a member you'll also get complimentary access to my Niche Success Blueprint weekly training modules, which offer many creative thinking exercises to help you come up with great content ideas and fresh ways to monetize your blog or business.
If you prefer self-paced learning, the Niche Success Blueprint is a great alternative! Click that link to learn more about it, and read comments from other readers.