What do you do to improve your body shape? Your diet and EXERCISE. Creativity is like a muscle that you should train and exercise daily for it to grow. How do you do so? We have prepared some of the best ways to get you out of the creative block if you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Don’t worry, creative blocks happen to everyone lots of times. Instead of thinking about the problem, go and find solutions. That way, it’s also exercising your creative abilities as you problem solve and think about solutions. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Getting stuck in a rut sometimes is normal as mentioned earlier. Oftentimes, it happens after a period of spontaneous generative thinking and productive days/weeks full of ideas and works. One of the most common mistakes of artists, creatives, and alike are allowing themselves to stay in an empty slump filled with a negative mindset instead of thinking of solutions. Whenever you’re in a situation where you feel that you’re out of ideas and it’s as if nothing comes out of your brain, try to get up and find inspiration. Go out for a walk and look everywhere. Take a camera with you (or your smartphone, but make sure not to open apps other than the camera). Listen to the sounds of your place and just be open-minded. Inspiration can be found anywhere, as long as you’re open to new ideas and perspectives.
Different Ways to Exercise Your Creativity
1. Inspirational Mood Boards:
A lot of people think that mood boards are only for fashion and art projects however, such is not the case. Mood boards serve many purposes including giving inspiration by putting different elements (can be random) such as photos, magazine cut-outs, fabrics, textured objects, flowers, and many more. Though some people create their mood boards digitally, we recommend that you create one on your wall by having a bulletin board/mesh board so that fresh ideas will pop into your head whenever you see it. Remember, don’t be afraid to put anything in there!
2. Do something different as often as possible:
Answer this question: will you allow yourself to travel to the same destination over and over again or would you pick a different one every time? A lot of people like traveling to different destinations because it gives them new experiences and inspiration. Though there is nothing wrong about traveling to the same place over and over again, especially if it’s your favorite place, how will you experience and see something new? It’s the same with creativity. Try to switch up your routine and do something new every time and you’d be filled with different ideas-- just don’t let yourself be overwhelmed with those, information overload may create a negative impact on your creativity.
A lot of us tend to be fixated on getting productive every day. We are so focused on our daily lives doing our “outputs”--going to our work/school, attending meetings, creating, generating ideas, and exhausting our body and mind. We have forgotten the importance of just sitting in silence, away from everything, and simply reflecting. Free your mind and schedule a time for sitting still and in silence (away from your phone), reading, reflecting, writing without trying too much, and just being zen with yourself and everything else around you. Doing and creating too much isn't good for you, it will drain the energy out of you and may even de-motivate you. Don’t forget to take some time to cool down and have at least 30 minutes of doing an “input” activity every day.
4. Challenge Your Perspective:
If you want to be more creative, you ought to challenge yourself to be creative. To challenge your perspective, play some what-ifs, creativity puzzles, out-of-the-box thinking, imagine yourself in different situations, try to be someone else or something else, and so forth. The purpose of these exercises is to open yourself to new ideas and simply let your imagination spark. Moreover, think in conventional ways, learn how to think of alternatives because some things don’t work the way we want them to be. But, what are we going to do about it? Suck it up? No! We think of solutions. This is exactly what creativity is all about.
Let’s call high expectations, self-criticism, and self-comparison the negative big three (will be discussed later). These three things will block your creative juices and imagination, stunt your growth, progress, and motivation. These three will make you counterproductive and lazy. Let’s start with high expectations. Of course, everyone has to set goals either for academics, profession or just for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limits, but don’t forget to set a limit to those “limits.” The thing is, too many expectations upon yourself (especially with something that you can’t achieve) will pressure you in the wrong way.
6. Avoid self-criticism:
Second, self-criticism. Don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself and your work. Don’t waste your time and effort doing something and end up calling it “ugly.” Praise yourself and your work. If you want to improve your creativity, ask for constructive criticism from others and use it to improve. Don’t take constructive criticisms personally, though. Thank the person for the advice and make your work better.
Lastly, self-comparison. Everyone has their own thing and each one of us is created differently, therefore, we’re unique and in no way alike to anyone. Comparing your work and ideas to others is a big no-no, especially if you’re trying to grow as a creative person. Instead of comparing, try to use other’s works and ideas as sources of inspiration and innovation.
From Creative Slump to Creative Spark
Create. Pause for a while. Get up and start creating again. That will be the final advice that we’ll give to you. Of course, these are just some of the ways to exercise your creative muscles, there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways through which your creativity and imagination can be improved. Just keep on practicing and creating!