9 Ways to Ignite Creativity

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You plop down in your chair, ready to bang out some genius stuff on your computer.  You have an outline in your head of what you want to create, but the thoughts remain in rough draft form and refuse to come together into a cohesive, engaging structure.  Right now, all you have is a dry, tasteless, colorless “thing” that has no life force at all.  You know you’re creative and imaginative, because you’ve done it countless times before.  Why, oh why can’t my creative mojo be summoned at my command like a genie?

Has this ever happened to you?  Unfortunately, our creative juices can’t be turned on and off as easily as a light switch.  It has its own unpredictable timetable.  Luckily for us, our sense of sight, hearing, and movement can nudge our dormant creative forces into activity, hopefully resulting in a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius-like proportions.

Engage Your Visual Sense

  • Feast your eyes on visual food. Visit a museum or gallery to see stunning photography, paintings, or art pieces.  When you’re looking at inspired artistic creations, it’s hard not to get inspired yourself.  In a pinch, you could find masterpieces on the internet, but you may not experience the visceral reaction you experience when viewing art in person.
  • Leave the house/workplace. Get yourself out into nature and watch her beautiful show.  She’s dynamic, powerful, and eager to serve as your muse.
  • Take in a movie. Forget mainstream…foreign, indie, and art films usually push the envelope, are totally unconventional, and get you thinking.  In visiting their world, you get unstuck from yours.

Engage Your Auditory Sense

  • Turn on the tunes. Choose classical, world, new age, or any music that gets your creative juices energized and free-flowing.  Sometimes I leave beautiful–but not distracting–music on in the background while I work, so my brain keeps feeling the artistic flow.
  • Enjoy music in real surround sound. Go to a concert, performance, or show and feel the energy of musicians who love what they do and give themselves over to their craft.  You’ll leave with a pep to your step and a light bulb in your noggin.
  • Eavesdrop. Yeah, you heard me.  The blabbing people do in public could be a gold mine of ideas.  Casually listen in on conversations at coffee shops, in line at the store, or while walking down the street, and you’ll be surprised how revved up your brain gets trying to make sense of what you’re hearing.  It’s even better when you only hear one side of the conversation, or snippets as you walk by, because what’s said isn’t important.   It’s what you make of it that matters, and your imagination will begin warming up its muscles for the upcoming workout.

Engage Your Kinesthetic Sense

  • Write away on a random word. The following writing exercise from creativity coach Melissa Rosati works wonders in unblocking your brain.  We all do this exercise at the beginning of our IWWG meetings to loosen us up (although Melissa is the one providing our words).  Pick 3 arbitrary words–a word you see when you open a book, an object in the room, a word you hear, a word that is floating in your head–and write whatever comes into your consciousness for 2 minutes (do this for each word).  It doesn’t matter what the result is, but I often find I start making some interesting connections that get my imagination firing away.  If this exercise works for you, you could keep writing for a longer period of time, or use a word that has something to do with your project.
  • Get a move on. Dance to your favorite song, take a walk, stretch, whatever.  Sometimes just getting out of your chair can recharge your brain, dust off your mental cobwebs, and get you ready to crank out some genius stuff!
  • Exercise your body to loosen up your brain. I find some of my best ideas come knocking at imagination’s door when I’m on cardio equipment.  The goal is to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing, but not to engage your brain too much, so it’s free to daydream, brainstorm, and create!

How do you break the stuffy cycle of uninspired thinking?  I’d love to hear your tips!

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