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13 Ways to Stay Creative When You Think You're Not

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Updated By: Amy Dittman on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Have you ever experienced creative burnout or just felt completely stuck when trying to come up with new ideas? If you haven’t, you must be some type of super human. And, you don’t necessarily need to be an artist, designer, or writer to experience creative burnout.


I attended an AAF luncheon, “Confronting the Blank Page: How to be Wonderfully Creative When You Think You're Not” featuring Haley Kilgour and Tim Brunelle. This was perfect timing for myself to listen to their presentation because I was experiencing creative burnout and major self-doubt during this time, even though people around me didn’t see it the same way I did.


Here are some things I learned from the luncheon and on my own I utilize whenever I’m facing the blank page to keep the creative juices flowing:


 1. Running out of ideas happens to everyone for a reason.

The main reason? Convincing yourself that you’re stuck. You can train yourself to overcome it; all it takes is practice. Stop saying you're stuck. You're not.


 2. Step away from a project and do something else.

You are consciously focusing on a different task at hand that it is actually making your subconscious come up with ideas for you. Ever have an idea come to you randomly while in the shower, cooking, or dreaming? You can thank your subconscious for that.


3. Be a sponge.

Be open to new ideas and seek out new things like hobbies, music, food, places, etc.


4. Meditate.

Meditating 30 minutes a day creates better focus while allowing new ideas to generate.



5. Don't be a night owl.

Your mom was right. A good night’s sleep is so important!


6. Make lists.

You can create your everyday to-do lists, or you can create to-do lists on steroids, known as the Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is an organizational system in a notebook that keeps track of anything you would like to write down in a coherent way.



7. Pinterest.

Pinterest is known to to be the catalog of ideas, so why not use it? It's my go-to whenever I'm designing infographics because there's so many different designs that I'm able to save my favorite ones to create an inspiration board. You can create your own inspiration boards for just about anything you can think of.


8. Keep a journal.

Just like the Bullet Journal, there’s no right or wrong way to journal. Write down ideas, uninhibited thoughts, or solutions. My favorite method of journaling is putting random things in my Smash Book, or also known as an unconventional scrapbook/journal.



9. Add color.

Colors enhance your mood and impact your thinking. Add the color yellow to your space to enhance your mood and the color green to promote creativity.


10. Attend conferences.

I always experience a “conference high” after attending live events. It’s a great environment to learn new things, meet new people, and trade info with others in the same industry.


11. Stop telling yourself you've run out of ideas.

It’s all psychological.


12. Doodle more.

Drawing is ideal for making ideas tangible. You don’t need to have the best drawing skills either.



13. Get feedback.

Ask a coworker or friend to look over your work. They may see things differently than you do! And, openly accept their criticism ... after all, you asked for it.


The next time you find yourself confronting the blank page, try one or all of these suggestions to help stay creative and become an idea-generating machine.



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Amy Dittman

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