Or who knows, maybe you even think of such creativity theories such as the ‘A-ha moment’ or the creative flow developed by Csikszentmihalyi. Regardless, there are so many ways to look at creativity.
Yet, all of these ideas and theories can mean absolutely nothing when you’re desperately struggling to come up with fresh and innovative ideas and solutions. In that moment, all the theories in the world couldn’t help you.
Still, the question still stands. “What should you do when the creative juices run dry”?
It’s a valid question.
You could probably get a million different answers from a million different people. Because, to put it frankly, what works for one may not work for the other.
For me, this is the great thing about creativity. It’s individual, and personal and almost exclusive to the person being creative. Because each person has a creative process.
Still, without contradicting myself too much, there are some great ways to increase your creativity. Ways that can almost be seen as universal… almost.
So to speed things up, here are what you can do when the creative juices run dry.
Do your thing
Everybody has a thing. That thing that you to clear your mind, become more free and relaxed, and to ultimately feel creative. Whatever your thing is, if it works, then do it. Whether it’s knitting, going for a swim, skateboarding, writing to your high school pen pal, solving a rubix cube or all of the above. If it works, then it’s worth your time. So don’t be afraid to invest some time out to do it.
Perspective is a beautiful thing. Sometimes our brains can feel like an empty box with a tumbleweed meandering over its surface. So in times like this, getting another point of view or a look from a different perspective through discussion and feedback can be all you need.
Ask a colleague, a friend or anyone else who can help for their view on the problem. Just keep in mind that you’re not looking for a pat on the back and some over the top reassurance that you’re great and to not worry about it. So maybe stay away from asking your mum, unless you think she’ll be honest with you.
Or in other words, surround yourself with other creative people. Generally, people are happy to lend a helping hand. So a small collaboration or even a brainstorming session with another person can help for when your creative juices run dry. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a helping hand, so don’t be afraid to ask or accept if someone else needs your help!
Go for a walk
A cliché is a cliché for a reason, they work. And this is nothing different. Going outside for 20 minutes can work wonders. When you’re out there, again, just do your thing. If that be running your hand along the side of a building, taking in its history. Or going to a park and being surrounded by nature. Or maybe even using all of your awareness whilst crossing a busy intersection. It’s up to you. I’m a firm believer in the value of fresh air and exercise and I’m sure there are some scientists out there who agree with me.
Possibly an oversimplified solution, but not being hungry has been proven to nourish the body and power a strong mind. Of course the content of the food you’re eating matters too. However, eating something not that great can arguably be better than not eating at all. At least in the short term, while getting those creative juices flowing.
Still, I highly recommend a healthy meal over something not-so-healthy, any day.
Leave the computer
Much like going for a walk, leaving the computer screen for a few minutes can do you some good. Get up, take your mind off what you’re working on for 10-15 minutes and maybe have a bit of a stretch. This could even be a great time to eat or go for a walk.
Add colour into your life
This is going to sound a bit silly. Still, hear me out. Wearing something colourful and possibly out of character for you can help you stay creative enough to never have to experience when the creative juices run dry. If wearing funky socks, an out of character t-shirt, new scarf or bracelet, helps you stay sharp, then it’s worth a try. It’s even said that louder colours such as green, yellow, orange and purple can help you be more creative.
Write down your bad ideas
Writing down your bad ideas can really get the creative juices flowing. You can build on the ideas, or maybe realise that it wasn’t such a bad idea with a few tweaks.
Being creative is difficult. It takes time and work to become good at it. And given that there are so many ways to be creative, it’s easy to see how people can become ultra-creative or burn out. Hopefully, you’re part of the former. Yet, it’s very possible that you can be the latter; as we all have a tendency to burn out from time to time. For creativity, that can purely mean that you temporarily run out of ideas.
This is no problem, as there’re ways to get out of that particular funk. Every person can be creative and every person can have their own way to be so. Still, there are some universal ways to relieve yourself of your creative drought. So now you know how to combat when the creative juices run dry. May it be through food, walking or anything else you do, you can get back to your creative self, in no time.