7 out-of-the-box ideas to boost creativity

Creative ruts are the worst. I know the feeling. Next time you feel stuck, why not try one of these 7 out-of-the-box ideas to boost your creativity?

Do a distraction audit

Recently I decided to write down everything I did during my workday. Everything, no matter how small. I was shocked to find out how often muscle memory led me to Instagram, or how often I wandered down unrelated Wikipedia rabbit holes while researching. Identifying these distractions helped to keep me focused on creating rather than scrolling.

Smell nice things

Yes, really! Studies have shown that good scents can alleviate stress and enhance alertness. Additionally, a recent workshop where participants smelled objects like books and fresh laundry showed that scents helped people to speak candidly and use more evocative, creative language.

Change up your working environment

There’s something about a new environment that makes our brains work differently. For me, writing in a coffeeshop always results in some interesting work. We can get so used to our workspaces, and creativity thrives on newness – so if it’s possible, try working in a different location now and then!

Keep a dream log

I wrote a novel that features a woman who has prophetic dreams, and I kept a dream log during the writing process. I ended up not using most of my dreams in the novel, but some of them did lead to interesting ideas for other projects – ideas my waking brain simply wouldn’t have thought of. Dreams can be so weird, so why not use it to your advantage?

Be nosey

As a writer, I’m endlessly inspired by regular people. In pre-pandemic days I spent many happy hours sitting in coffeeshops observing people, writing down what they do and say. Even if I never used any of it in my work, I could feel that creative part of my brain lighting up. You never know who your next great project idea will come from!

Get inspired by different fields

My artistic ability is a shade above stick-figure-drawing, but my conversations with my artist friend Susanna always inspire me to create. It’s always nice to talk to another creative about the way we approach projects and what motivates us. And because her field is so different from mine, I often find myself wondering how I can apply her creative techniques to my own work.

Restrict yourself a little

I used to be a short story writer, and one thing I loved about that particular medium was the restraint of length. With a short story, every word counts, and every character has to serve a purpose. What ways can you apply a minor restriction to your work in order to help you think about it differently?

Let me know if you have any other out-of-the-box ideas to help boost creativity!

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