In a world where new trends and products are being created every day, it is easy to fall into the belief that there is no other way to create something that has not already been done before.
This line of negative thought is often the first step that can land anyone in a creative rut, a wasteland that lacks ideas and creativity. Simply put: you’re stumped.
Whether you are a liberal arts student or preparing to enter the STEM field, creative thinking is important for all walks of life. Being creative is essential to problem-solving and content generating in the workplace.
Therefore, a creative dead end can be common. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, we have tools at our disposal to help generate ideas and unlock our creativity.
So to get you started, here are five unconventional tips to kick-start your creativity:
1. Mind maps
Almost everyone has heard of mind maps or used one at some point. They are great for getting your thoughts down on paper, taking notes and solving problems — which makes them great for jump-starting your creative mind when you hit a dead end.
Mind maps are an even greater tool to use for creative thinking because of how easy they are to make, whether you prefer to work on your mind map with pencil and paper or draw one up on the computer or with an app.
The possibilities are endless and the act of making a mind map can be a creative and calming activity.
So, why do mind maps work? The best answer might be that they work because the possibilities are endless. You have a blank sheet of paper to work with, while your starting topic or question is in the center. From there, you can branch out in any direction.
Bonus tip: customize your mind map with images and colors. If you are using your computer or an app, find one that allows you to add links and attachments.
2. Do something else
Have you ever gotten an idea while in the shower, or even while doing the laundry?
Although it may sound counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to unlock ideas and get your thoughts moving is to simply do something else. Do the dishes, clean your room or some other non-distracting task.
If your mind is bored, it will wander and when your mind wanders you are opening yourself up to ideas.
3. Ask “what if” questions
Ever wonder how movies like “Star Wars” or “Jurassic Park” came to be? I can almost guarantee that both started with someone asking a simple question: “What if?”
What if there was a galaxy far away where there were knights that carried swords made of light instead of metal?
What if humans managed to create dinosaurs?
By asking this question, you are opening yourself up to ideas that may seem silly at first, but then again, every great idea had to start from somewhere.
4. Take a walk
No seriously, take a walk.
Put on some music if you have to, leave your room and get outside and move. Whether out of some trick of fate or joke played on us by the gods, ideas seem to come out of nowhere while you are anywhere but at your workplace to write them down.
So if inspiration hits while you are on your stroll downtown, I recommend you laugh back at the gods as you hastily type it into the notes app on your phone.
5. Let go of fear
Last but not least, maybe one of the most important things to remember when you are in a creative stump is to let go of your fears.
Ask yourself this: What would you do if you knew you would be guaranteed to succeed?
Got your answer? Good.
Now go out and do that thing.