5 Creativity Boosters for the Next Time You're Stuck
Got writer's block? Sick of brainstorming? Try these creativity boosters.
We've all been there. You're working on something, whether it's a piece of writing, a problem you need to solve, artwork, or literally anything else — things are going along smoothly, and then you just hit a wall. That's it. No more thoughts, words, pictures, or ideas are coming to you.
Just kidding! The ideas will come back, sooner or later. But it's super frustrating to stare down the blockage — particularly if you're also staring down a deadline. What's a person to do? Here are five ideas that might help reboot your creativity the next time you're stuck, designed to get your brain thinking in a different way, and to give yourself a break from toiling away at the problem at hand.
The Circle Game
I made this name up; I have no idea what it's really called. A friend of mine told me about this activity; I then did it with my team at work and everyone enjoyed it. Draw eight circles on a piece of paper (I did two columns of four). Instruct everyone (or just instruct yourself) to make something different out of each circle — i.e. a smiley face, a balloon, a lollipop, the sun, etc. It gets your brain thinking about a boring old circle in a different —or eight different — and fun ways.
Try a writing prompt
Even if your current task isn't writing related, a writing prompt could get your juices flowing — juices you didn't even know would help with the work you need to do. I'm going to stop talking about juices now, but my point still stands. You could look up a writing prompt online, or just make one up for yourself. Then write, stream of consciousness style, for a set amount of time, just to see what comes out (probably no literal juices will appear, just saying). It may spark an idea you never would've had otherwise.
It's no secret that I love Mad Libs. Why not try a Mad Lib to get silly and get you out of your slump? It's a fun distraction that still forces you to think — and might even get you to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine! Even for idea blockage. Probably. #science.
The Question Game
Again, this is not an official name for this activity. I read about this question "game" in Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, an awesome and insightful book I recommend you pick up, STAT. All you have to do to get your mind to a more curious and questioning place is pick an everyday object — a stapler, a pen, a mug — and make yourself write down 20 questions about it. Any questions. Where was it made? How much does it cost to make? Why was it designed that way? You don't have to answer any of the questions, you just have to ask them. This activity makes you look at everyday objects in an inquisitive and different light, changing your perspective slightly and opening up your mind to curiosity.
According to a recent study, explained helpfully in a quick video on New York Magazine's science blog here, the best thing for you block might just be to keep working at it. You'll eventually come up with more ideas, solutions, words, etc., if you just...keep brainstorming. So never give up, guys, even if it seems like the wall you've hit is the hardest, most indestructible wall there is. It isn't.
Work away, my friends — your next great idea is right around the corner!