How to Tap Into Your Creativity (When It Feels Like You Don’t Have Any) (2022)

No matter how creative you are, there are days when it feels as though the right side of your brain has switched itself off. This can feel frustrating, but especially so when your work requires you to have an innovative, forward-thinking mind—how can you embody that ideal without creativity on your side?

Fortunately, there are ways to turn it back on if your brain appears to have shut down that function.

Here are 10 Ways to Tap Into Your Creativity, Even if it Feels Like You Don’t Have Any:

1. Bounce Ideas off Someone

Technology has opened so many doors, but it can also isolate us from one another. This is true at work, too; an instant message-based conversation is much different than a face-to-face chat, after all.

You’ll find that you can drum up more ideas and re-spark your creativity if you take things back to the pre-computer days. Grab a conference room and at least one colleague and then start the discussion.

Brainstorming together will allow you to improve upon each others’ ideas so you walk away with something much better than what any of you could’ve drawn up on your own. Since having friends at work makes the whole job seem better, you’ll continue to feel the post-collaboration buzz after the meeting. Oh, and you’ll have plenty of new ideas, too.

2. Find Your Inspiration

Let’s face it—most office environments aren’t conducive to your creativity. The lighting is harsh, and the walls are bland. You don’t have to settle for a workspace that’s devoid of inspiration, though. Add personal touches to make the place yours, and better yet, a source of motivation for your work. This applies to both in-home and traditional office spaces.

Everyone’s inspiration is different, of course. You might have images of far-flung places you wish to visit, graphic designs that caught your eye, or something so well-written you aspire to work toward that level. No matter what it is that piqued your interest, use it to your advantage—use it as art.

(Video) Give yourself permission to be creative | Ethan Hawke

How to Tap Into Your Creativity (When It Feels Like You Don’t Have Any) (1)3. Listen to a New Voice

You know how you think, but how do others tackle their toughest dilemmas? Sometimes, asking for advice or motivation can do the trick and turn your creativity right back on.

Every business will have different financial resources, but one great way to reinvigorate staff is to bring in an expert who boosts creativity and innovation for a living. Speaker Erik Wahl specializes in creativity-centric seminars and speeches. He can help staffers think outside of the box—beyond business as usual, as he describes it.

In any environment, this type of thinking helps mold future leaders, since the business world requires its top players to be adaptable and forward-thinking. It’ll also make opportunities more alluring to potential new hires.

And, if a speaker isn’t on hand to share their brand of motivation, try speaking with a coworker whose creative work you admire. Ask for the tricks they use on days when they feel tapped out, and try applying their methods to your work.

4. Kick the Smartphone Habit

The first thing you do in the morning can inhibit your creativity for the rest of the day. Checking your email ASAP might seem productive, but it’s not waking up your mind. So, kick-start your brainstorming as soon as you wake up with a morning playlist, a favorite podcast, or log onto your favorite blog to read the latest post. Whether you get inspired by beats or clever turns of phrase, starting your day this way will get your brain moving by the time you’re at the office.

5. Go for a Walk

There’s something about being outside that’s so refreshing, and it’s not just because you’re breathing fresh air. Instead, you’re experiencing the brain-battering effects of nature; there’s research to prove this exists.

A 2015 study of Danish creative professionals revealed multiple connections between nature and the brain. Not only did researchers find that the outdoors can boost your sense of creativity, but spending time outside can inspire you to explore mentally and bend your original way of thinking. On top of that, nature helps you recharge. This gives you the push you need to analyze and hone the ideas that you’ve already put to paper. In other words, next time you’re feeling blocked mentally, take a walk outside and feel the boost it gives you.

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6. Grab a Clean Sheet of Paper

Sometimes, it’s not just your creativity that feels blocked. You might have trouble coming up with the next steps because the plan you’re pursuing isn’t quite right. If you feel that’s the case, grab a clean sheet of paper and a pen and get to brainstorming.

Starting from scratch might seem daunting, but it’ll undoubtedly reawaken the right side of your brain. You can incorporate the ideas you’ve already come up with, but a new course of action might spur the process forward and spark the creativity you know you have.

7. Mirror the Greats

Not every idea requires complete uniqueness. In fact, the models we tend to follow are models for a reason: They work. There’s no use reinventing the wheel, and choosing a familiar course can help you to expand your ideas in other ways without stress about the process you’re following.

This can turn into an even more creative practice. Come up with a list of your heroes, whether they’re in your industry or not. Have a look at this list every time you’re stumped and consider how the person you admire might tackle the same challenge. Would Picasso give up? Probably not. He’d likely come up with an incredible way to express what you’re trying to say, so put yourself in his shoes and do the same.

8. Take It Step by Step

Speed is everything in today’s world, whether you’re talking about food delivery services or how quickly you can log onto the Internet. But, sometimes, we get caught up in the go-go-go and find ourselves multitasking to get everything done ASAP.

This tendency seems productive, but it’s a trap. You get more accomplished when you focus on just one thing at a time. But, creatively speaking, your mind will feel cluttered if you’re trying to complete multiple tasks at once. So, keep your eye on the current step in your creative process and don’t jumble it with any future must-dos. Get this part finished, and keep it the only thing on your mind—and watch how much more clearly you’re able to think it through.

How to Tap Into Your Creativity (When It Feels Like You Don’t Have Any) (2)

9. Make It Come Alive

You’ve been visualizing an upcoming project in your head for months now, but you still can’t seem to finish it. Perhaps you need to see what you’ve got in real life to make the final decisions. Whether you’re drawing up a proposal or you’ve invented a new piece of technology, it’s time to get a physical prototype in your hands so you can start improving it.

(Video) Tap Into Your Creativity (Here's How)

This will make it so much easier for you to come up with ways to improve and enhance your project because it will be sitting right in front of you. Plus, you can hand it off to clients or trusted colleagues who can provide their critiques, too. Their opinions will only spur your creative process forward, especially if their creative ideas are the last pieces of your puzzle.

10. Be Consistent

Even if your creativity doesn’t kick in today, don’t give up tomorrow. Instead, make out-of-the-box thinking part of your daily to-do list, and you’ll experience how it becomes more and more natural for you. Over time, you’ll have no problem triggering that side of your brain when you need it, and you’ll see just how much you can offer to a project, whether it’s a professional or personal one. All it takes is a daily effort to get to your creative peak.

Conclusion.

You don’t have to be traditionally creative to come up with fresh ideas or new angles with which to approach your work. And, even if you are a right-brained individual, you don’t have to stay on 24/7/365 to succeed. Instead, you need tools to help you unlock the brightest, best thoughts within your brain. Now you have ten to choose from—so all that’s left to do is start creating.

FAQs

How do you be creative when you don't feel like it? ›

How To Be Creative When You're Feeling Drained And Uninspired
  1. Change Your Environment. The very first thing I do when I feel uninspired is to change my physical environment. ...
  2. Take A Walk. ...
  3. Make Something For Play. ...
  4. Try Something New. ...
  5. Take A Trip. ...
  6. Have A Mentor. ...
  7. Read A Book. ...
  8. Listen To A Podcast.
Nov 30, 2015

Why did I lose my creativity? ›

Of course there are many reasons. For a lot of my clients, creativity has been lost because there is no space for it. Other things have been prioritised or workload doesn't seem to allow it. However creativity can add a sense of richness that can make life feel far more fulfilling.

How do I find my inner creative? ›

How to Find Your Inner Creativity
  1. Create lists. “Listing” can be liberating for the mind and free up space for more creative thoughts and ideas. ...
  2. Always have a notebook close by. ...
  3. Write even when you don't have to. ...
  4. Sip coffee. ...
  5. Be open. ...
  6. Ask for feedback. ...
  7. Surround yourself with interesting people. ...
  8. Make mistakes.
Jun 19, 2020

How do I get inspired to create? ›

Turn your inspiration into creation!
...
How to Get Inspired? Check Out These 17 Ideas
  1. Shake Up Your Routine. ...
  2. Take a Hike. ...
  3. Make Time to Rest. ...
  4. Spend Time Connecting With Other Artists. ...
  5. Outsource or Streamline Things When You Can. ...
  6. Try Free Journaling. ...
  7. Just Get Started. ...
  8. Rearrange Your Home.
Mar 17, 2021

Can you force creativity? ›

Creativity is a natural process that can be nurtured, harnessed, and cultivated. Forcing creativity rarely works. Staring at a blank page will not only stress you out, but it's highly likely that you won't be able to come up with anything useful. Nothing special comes out of forcing creativity.

What to do when you are not feeling inspired? ›

  1. Act as If You Feel Motivated.
  2. Argue the Opposite.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion.
  4. Use the 10-Minute Rule.
  5. Go For a Walk in Nature.
  6. Pair a Dreaded Task With Something You Enjoy.
  7. Manage Your To-Do List.
  8. Practice Self-Care.
May 23, 2022

At what age are you most creative? ›

Psychologists who study creative accomplishments throughout the life cycle generally find that creativity peaks between the ages of mid- to late 30s or early 40s.

What is creative burnout? ›

Creative burnout is the feeling that you've drained all of your creativity, and there is nothing left. If you're dreading to start work, feel tired and stressed all the time and suspect you'll never be able to create something good ever again, you might be experiencing a creative burnout.

Why is being creative so hard? ›

One of the main reasons creativity seems so hard is that we desire it so much. When you really want to "be creative," it's hard to see that what you're doing IS creative. It may seem derivative, boring, or just not very good, when in fact it's quite creative.

How do artists spark creativity? ›

7 Tips to Spark Artistic Creativity
  1. Clean up your workspace. “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” ...
  2. Keep an inspiration box. “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” ...
  3. Be observant. ...
  4. Sleep on it. ...
  5. There are no mistakes. ...
  6. Believe in yourself.
Jun 30, 2016

At what age does creativity decline? ›

At least not if creativity is assessed by productivity or by making original and valuable contributions to fields such as science and art. By that measure, output first increases in our mid-20s, climaxes around our late 30s or early 40s, and then undergoes a slow decline as we age.

Is everyone born with creativity? ›

Short Answer: No, Creatives aren't born, they're created over time and in the right environment.

Does everyone have creativity? ›

Everyone can be creative, where they realize it or not. A lot of people tend to think creativity is binary: Either you have it, or you don't. But in reality, we do all have it. It's just a matter of how we interpret it.

Why do I never have energy or motivation? ›

A lack of energy and motivation can be a sign of depression. Reach out to a mental health professional if you need help. They may be able to tell you if something else is causing your low mood.

Why do I never have any motivation to do anything? ›

Low and no motivation can be a sign of a serious problem like depression or anxiety. For example, for people who are chronically anxious, everything they need to do can feel scary and hard because they're constantly thinking of what could go wrong or ways they're inadequate.

How did I get so lazy? ›

Not enough sleep or staying up too late can cause tiredness. It is important to get adequate sleep in your day. Not sleeping enough can result in exhaustion and make you feel lazy, yawning and sleepy all day. This is also harmful to your body and skin.

How do I reconnect with my creative side? ›

Here are 10 ways to reconnect with your creative, authentic self:
  1. Ask yourself, what did you love to do as a child? Write stories? ...
  2. Don't over think it. Creativity can be found in many forms. ...
  3. Include others. ...
  4. Set the scene. ...
  5. Remove limits. ...
  6. Don't worry about the outcome. ...
  7. Remind yourself that you are talented.

What do you do when you lose your creativity? ›

Lost your creative spark? These superb insider tricks by freelancers will help
  1. Keep going. ...
  2. Try another creative activity. ...
  3. Clean your house or office. ...
  4. Get outside. ...
  5. Be inspired elsewhere. ...
  6. Rest, rest, and rest some more. ...
  7. Travel to somewhere new. ...
  8. Set yourself a fitness challenge.
Jul 11, 2018

At what age are you most creative? ›

Psychologists who study creative accomplishments throughout the life cycle generally find that creativity peaks between the ages of mid- to late 30s or early 40s.

What is creative burnout? ›

Creative burnout is the feeling that you've drained all of your creativity, and there is nothing left. If you're dreading to start work, feel tired and stressed all the time and suspect you'll never be able to create something good ever again, you might be experiencing a creative burnout.

Videos

1. 3 Easy Exercises to Tap Into Your Creativity- LIVE with Peggy Dean
(The Happy Ever Crafter)
2. A powerful way to unleash your natural creativity | Tim Harford
(TED)
3. Tap Into Your Creativity
(GrowingBolder)
4. How to Tap into Your Creativity with Author & Illustrator Crystal McIntyre
(Caroline Ofenstein)
5. 5 Signs You're Tapped Into Your Creative Genius
(ItsCrystalSun)
6. How to Tap Into Your Creativity
(Jamie Rowland)

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