It can be seriously stressful when you’re trying to come up with an idea for your next project, but the creative well seems to have run dry. As the self-imposed pressure builds to find your Next Big Thing, it can feel like you’re grasping at straws – clawing for something, anything, that will kick-start your creative juices and get the inspiration flowing again.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to ease the angst and make peace with the process.
The following tips are part spiritual, part practical, and they’ve all worked wonders in my own life. If you’ve run out of ideas, and been struggling for a flash of insight or a bolt of brilliance, this is for you…
When you’re desperate for an idea, there’s a tendency to tighten up and start gripping and grabbing onto every stray thought that flies past you. But this can actually be counterproductive and end up keeping you stuck and stagnant.
See, the world of energy and inspiration cannot be forced, it can only be felt. There’s a whole process that must unfold before your idea can nestle in and start taking shape. Rushing this initial spark-gathering phase isn’t going to help you find the right idea, and it certainly won’t result in a better product at the other end. Relaxing is the best way to allow this process to unfurl naturally and organically.
2. Focus on your current work.
Whatever it is that you’re immersed in right now, follow it through. Wholeheartedly. If your focus is scattered, and your attention bouncing around at whiplash speed, not only will you splinter your presence, you’ll miss any gems that are right in front of you.
3. Step up your self-care.
Inspiration and creativity are dampened when you’re tired or running on empty. Providing yourself with top quality food, moving your booty, and prioritising rest will go a long way to optimising your internal environment, which in turn, helps you produce your best insights.
4. Feed yourself excellent quality information.
The work we produce is only as good as the information we consume. Make sure you’re stoking your fires with excellent quality kindling – great writers, challenging concepts, and soul-stirring art of any kind.
5. Allow yourself plenty of switched-off down time.
Although the quality of what we put in our systems is incredibly important, it’s also essential not to overload yourself with information. Too much consumption stifles our creativity. Don’t fill up all your spaces with other people’s noise – blog posts, books, podcasts, whatever. It’s in the gaps and the nothingness that your own insights will start to spark and coalesce.
6. Explore the world outside of your own.
True innovation comes from fusing seemingly disparate pieces of information into a new thing altogether; connecting dots that have never been connected before. But to do that, you’ve got to step outside of your current comfort zone.
So: venture beyond the confines of your industry or genre. Put down those business books or self help books, or whatever it is that you’re usually drawn to, and start exploring — poetry, fiction, history, anthropology, wellness, design, *whatever*.
7. Recognise that all creative work has seasons.
There is a time for planning and brainstorming, there is a time for hard work, there is a time for sitting back and enjoying the fruits of your labour…
And when the cycle starts all over again, there’s a time where it miiiiight not seem like there’s a whole lot going on.
But under the surface, your brain is thrumming, your synapses singing, and your creative juices replenishing themselves for the journey that is to come. If your creative field is currently fallow, know that spring is just around the corner.
8. Look after your life-force.
Keeping your energy clear and uncluttered will help you tune in to your intuition and identify the bolts of brilliance when you see them. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, kinesiology – whatever works for you – embrace it, devote to it, commit to it.
9. Take advantage of the power of your subconscious mind.
The time when you’re not actively engaging in work and creation – like when you’re going for a run, in the shower, or sleeping – is when our brain does most of its processing and sorting of information. That’s why the big aha’s most often strike when you’re not actually at your desk with a pen and paper in hand.
Use this process to your advantage – finish your day’s work looking over a complex problem, then let your subconscious mind mull over it in your sleep.
The next day, doing your ‘morning pages’ is an excellent way to capture any new insights that have sparked overnight.
10. Trust that your idea will find you.
Ideas have an energy of their own. They want to be found, just as much as you want to find them. The journey towards each other is not always straightforward or linear, and it’s definitely not always easy.
But let it be said: what is meant for you will not pass you by. Your idea is winging it’s way towards you, as fast as it can. Trust, and it will arrive.
So there you have it – my tried-and-true system for fostering new ideas and opening myself up to new insights. Do you have any strategies of your own to spark ideas? I’d love to hear them. Let ‘er rip in the comments below!
And have you found this article useful? I’d be ever so grateful if you shared it with your friends or on your social media channels.