In the creative business community, there’s nothing worse than coming up short on ideas when you need to be busy producing. Authors and artists will tell you of their writer’s block or those empty canvas blues. Even the most successful creative entrepreneurs get stuck sometimes.
They have some interesting ways of sparking ideas when they need them the most. I reached out to several of my creative colleagues to ask them to share a few of those ideas with you.
Read on for some unique tips that will get you on your way to creating again, and be sure to add your own thoughts and methods in the comments section!
Adalia John Rekindled Her Spark
Staying inspired was easy for me. Maybe, it was because of my 4 children, whom I raised single-handedly. My creative spark kept me fired-up. Every challenge was met with a determination to overcome it.
I brought that same determination and creativity to my online business but when my vision wasn’t realized, I lost my creative spark.
Guided Meditation Rekindled My Creative Spark
A meditative state is achieved by focusing on a sound, your breathing, or a physical feeling. The goal is to remain in the present and be self-aware. You embrace your thoughts instead of judging them. The more disciplined you are with meditation, the stronger your mind and body connection will become. You’ll have a greater understanding of who you are and the direction you want to take your life.
A meditative state that’s achieved by listening to someone’s voice is called Guided meditation. A facilitator tells you what to focus on. The focus could be to overcome a specific challenge, such as getting out of a creative funk. Studies (posted on Science Daily) suggest that some forms of meditation can promote creative thinking.
Guided meditation helped me to rekindle my creativity. I gained clarity for connecting with those who will benefit from my work, and I attracted the people and the resources to help me achieve my vision. Have you lost your creative spark? Guided meditation could get you back on track.
Adalia John is the mother of 4 adult children and the grandma of the extraordinary Jasmine. Her conversations with women from all walks of life, (especially entrepreneurs) help them identify their success-stoppers and confidence-destroyers and the tools to annihilate them. Her passionate purpose is to offer no-nonsense solutions coaching to help others live their vision. Visit Adalia at Adalia Confidence And Success Blog.
Gabby Conde Scribbles Her Way to Great Ideas
One of the most surprising ways I tap into creativity came from an art therapy technique to get clarity. It’s called a Scribble Drawing.
And just like its name, that’s what you do. First, you think of what you need clarity on. Then you scribble. When you feel the drawing is complete, stop, and look for 1-3 shapes. You can label these with numbers. Then ask yourself what they represent. From there, use these as prompts for what your soul wants you to create.
I’ve used the Scribble Drawing to kickstart products and products and to find insightful resolutions to decisions.
Gabby Conde has worked as a healer and psychic since 2008 professionally, and has taken courses, received certifications, and is finishing her Master’s of Science in Clinical Counseling next year (1 more internship to go!). She has industry experience and years of working with clients, and has worked in digital marketing and content creation since 2006. She has found that her clients and other business owners often struggle with creating content, and she loves being able to help with that. Find Gabby at A Cup of Zen.
Rena Tucker – A Brainstorming Buddy!
This may be counterintuitive–and a bit edgy–but the best and most consistent way I’ve found to spark creativity and break through a creative block is to call up one of my artist buddies and ask if I can coach or brainstorm with them on *their* business or artwork. By this, I don’t mean critique the art itself, but kick around all the ideas I can think of about how they can leverage it.
By coming up with different ways to present their art, promote it, price it, find new buyers, reengage with collectors, come up with seasonal offerings, etc., I get tons of ideas about things I could do for my own art and business while bypassing my tendency to overthink it.
By the time we’re done talking about their art, I’m so fired up with possibilities, I can barely wait to get back to my studio to paint and promote!
Rena Tucker is a commissioned portrait painter and expert on artwork commissioning. She works with smart, talented visual artists of all genres and media who want to develop a commission-based art businesses without taking years to get established. Find Rena at R Tucker Studios.
Amanda Myers is One Creative Cat Lady
My 6 cats inspire me to be Creative. I’m a photographer and they love to pose and model for treats. I’m always looking for fun and new props and ideas to create cool photos of them.
I also come up with random creative ideas while driving, taking a shower, and I sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night with an idea!
Sometimes when I’m stuck on a point, all I have to do is talk out loud to someone else—and they don’t even need to answer! Just saying my thoughts out aloud sometimes Creates an Ah-Hah! moment and the New Creative Idea is formed.
I am a morning person and so is my cat, Summer. She was me up at 4 or 5am every morning. I spend the first few hours of the day photographing products in my studio and editing photographs. While shooting and editing, I come up with even more ideas for new photo shoots and creative projects.
There are times when a creative block lasts longer than the usual. I meditate and relax in such times, spending quiet moments petting my cats. The peace and joy it brings is a bonus to get the creativity flowing as soon as I have unwound.
Amanda Myers is a pet and product photographer, whose love for pet photography was inspired by her Aunt who loves to dress up her dogs and cats in holiday costumes. Amanda has adopted 6 rescue cats that love to model with pet products and are always excited for their next photography project. Visit Amanda at Create Meow.
Kelly McCausey Creates Dream Teams!
I’ve derived unexpected and intriguing insights about community building from playing an online video game. Sound bonkers? It’s true!
The game I play is called ‘Don’t Starve Together’. It is a survival/base building game. When you play you choose one of about a dozen possible characters. Each character has a specific set of strengths and weaknesses and a few of them have been designed to compliment one another in an obvious way. Some characters can thrive independently, but time proves it’s more fun when you cooperate with others.
After several years, I decided to begin streaming my game play on Twitch.tv. This has brought me into contact with other dedicated players and we’ve enjoyed creating dream teams who can get far in the game. We build bigger bases, conquer enemies faster, enjoy more of the benefits.
All of this cooperation and community inspires me. Don’t I do the same thing in business? I have strengths and weaknesses, I find and cooperate with other people who fill my gaps and bring special abilities. Just like I don’t enjoy playing the game alone. I don’t enjoy doing business alone all the time.
By embracing community, we’re building business together & I love it.
Kelly McCausey is a blogger, podcaster and business coach. With a focus on content marketing and community building, she knows you want to publish content you’re proud of for people you love. Connect with Kelly at Love People And Make Money.
Val Selby – Runaway Creative
When I am really stuck in an unproductive rut, I runaway. I don’t just close the computer and leave it for a while, I take off on some kind of trip and leave the computer at home. We’re lucky that our daughter lives in a place we love to visit so we can go crash at their house any time.
I’m finding that if I’ve completely lost my creativity and motivation it’s because I didn’t realize how many days in a row I’d worked way too many hours. I need a full reset. It’s one of the tough things about working for yourself and loving what you do. Next thing you know it’s been 14 days straight and your brain says…NO MORE!
When I need that midday boost, I’ll switch the music to get me bouncing in my chair and more energized. I have some of my favorites set up in pandora so I can quickly switch stations as needed. Could be 80’s hair bands, 90’s hip hop, heavy metal, or Lizzo lol Just depends on what mood I need to get into or out of.
Val Selby is an empowerment coach to women over 40. Helping them find the confidence and grab dreams forgotten as they took care of their families. You can guarantee there will be belly laughs even as you are working through some hard stuff to create Your Bold Life. Check in with Val at Your Bold Life.
Robin O’Neal Smith Cleans House!
My favorite way to spark creativity is to do something different. I spend far too much time at my desk, and when I feel like I’m not thinking straight or I have lost my creativity, I look for something totally different than sitting at a desk.
I find if I go for a walk, enjoy nature, relax by a stream, river, or fountain, I feel more creative and energized. For some reason, the sound of running water usually gets my creative juices flowing.
Doing something fun often sparks creativity. Riding bikes, walking, dancing, kayaking, and cooking will spark creativity.
Strange as it may seem, cleaning my house also seems to get my creativity stirred up. I hate to clean. But when I clean my house, I always come up with new and creative ideas for writing, client work, and things around the house.
I also plan little getaways for just a day or two to do something different than the norm.
Usually, I have my tablet out on the way home, and I’m writing up a storm, filling the tablet with ideas for stories, projects, client ideas, etc.
I’m convinced it is the change of focus. When you switch gears in your brain to something totally different, you set off the creative sparks.
Robin O’Neal Smith is a freelance writer and virtual expert, who has learned how to get noticed by the search engines. With eleven articles on the first page of Google, she has mastered the art of SEO. She provides quality writing and video content for clients, as well as editing, formatting, and ebook publishing. Find Robin at Expert Content Creation.
Maria Silvo, On The Other Hand…
Creativity differs from person to person. Over time, I have discovered ways to express mine. A technique that gave me amazing results was writing with my non-dominant left hand. It’s pretty much like automatic writing that needed no conscious thought. It was hard to fathom how I was able to create amazing children’s stories in 15 minutes. It felt like connecting to an invisible force, my inner child perhaps, who was feeding me these stories. It was draining and after doing five, I stopped.
Other techniques that work for me are asking “what if” questions, doodling or drawing in circular motion, watching how-to videos or movies, doing cross-crawl brain gym exercises, looking up or to the right side or moving my eyes back and forth from left to right, taking breaks, and thinking hard about a problem or question and then totally abandoning it.
I haven’t been using these techniques deliberately to spark my creativity. Creativity strikes anytime and anywhere and when it does, I act on it as soon as I can. I write or plot out my ideas on paper, computer, cellphone, or any surface I can write on. I open Adobe Photoshop and create. I draw.
I have many unfinished projects as a result of my impulsive, creative behavior. However, I also have many completed ones. I am gradually coming to terms with my creative process. That’s just how I am. For now at least. It can change as I evolve.
Maria Silvo is a self-taught artist, product creator, and creative entrepreneur. She runs Artsy Challenge where she sells private label, low content products like hand-drawn coloring designs, journals, embellishments, among others. Her vision is to make her site a place where doubting creatives can start creating. Check in with Maria at Artsy Challenge.
Karen Robinson Changed Her Thinking
I grew up believing that I was not creative or artistic. I found art classes stressful because my art did not look as good as my classmates. Home EC class resulted in a finished skirt and blouse, but I never wore them because of the flaws I knew existed. I somehow thought being creative equaled having talent in all things crafty.
I experienced a change in my mindset after being injured in a speedboat accident. The medication made my vision too blurry for in-depth reading. I stumbled upon art junk journaling and could not believe how relaxing it was to cut paper, paint, and design. It opened a different channel of thinking for me! I purchased “The Artist’s Way” and lots of supplies.
Becoming a creative being helped me become “unlocked” when feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or unmotivated in my business. Time blocking to include time in my workday for creativity is a game changer. I have learned that creativity is not about talent as that improves over time, it is about having time to play, relax, and let the mind wander. The lesson is that creativity spurs us to grow and develop spiritually, personally, and professionally when we let go of perfectionism and go with the flow.
Karen Robinson is a licensed therapist with 22 years of experience. Karen is service driven, specializing in trauma recovery, holistic care, and transformation. “Heal Thrive Dreams, LLC” opened with her daughters to create an impact for trauma survivors globally. Services include coaching, therapy, virtual courses, digital products, and on-line memberships. Karen loves reading and spending time with her family. Visit Karen at Heal Thrive Dream.
Amy Smereck Makes Something New From Old Ideas
I have discovered that content creation requires Mining, Melding, and Time. I believe that there are no purely original ideas (or if there are, they are extremely rare.) Mostly our creativity flows from being able to make something new from all that we have learned and information that we are continually taking in. This is the Mining step.
There are some active techniques that we can use for the Melding process in which we mix, process, fold, and combine ideas into something new. One is to “photograph” your topic in your mind. Use the zoom feature of your imaginary camera to get an extreme closeup of one aspect. Alternatively, zoom out or use a “panoramic” viewpoint to get a bird’s eye view. Sometimes changing the perspective gives us some new angles to work with. (I list more Melding techniques in my Content Brainstorm Book.)
The last component is Time. Often we have taken in plenty of information and maybe even are overloaded. Our subconscious mind does a pretty good job of helping us with the Melding process. How many of us have had great insights come to us when we are doing something mundane like taking a walk or washing the car? I believe that’s because we have given our subconscious mind some quiet time to work for us. It’s important to build a time buffer into any creative project so you can tap into this resource.
Amy Smereck was Director of Marketing for an I.T. firm before launching an independent freelance career helping clients with copywriting, content marketing, market research and business strategy. She helps others who are establishing freelance businesses and writing-based side hustles at Fruitful Freelancing.
And Then There’s Me: I Have Ideas!
I do get stuck sometimes, but it’s rarely for a lack of ideas. If anything, I sometimes have TOO many ideas. That’s what happens when you practice creativity for fun AND business purposes.
That’s also why one of the best things I’ve ever done to both harness the power of my creativity, and to spark more if it, was starting an idea file. You can think of your idea file as your “create someday” list. For me, it’s how I keep track, how I organize, and how I stay inspired.
Ideas come to me sometimes when I least expect them, and that isn’t always the most convenient time to examine them and plan them out. So when I’m busy on one project and an idea for another strikes me, being able to file it away without losing it frees my brain to continue what I’m working on. And if I ever do get stuck, those nuggets are still around, waiting for me to tend to them.
Some items in my idea file are fully formed thoughts, but many of them will be a word, a sentence, a description of an image or a smell. Does all of that translate to an actual finished product? No, not always. But sometimes it leads me to something great!
What About You?
Please share your own creative insights in the comments!