10 ways to spark your creativity

Creative spaces like this definitely inspire me.
As a copywriter, I have to be able to ignite my creativity almost instantly. I understand that feeling of panic when it seems like all the words have left your brain and everything you are trying to write sounds forced. You want to get back into that flow of creativity but need something to inspire you and help you stay creative.

I have listed below my top ten tricks that I rely on to get me out of my writer's block. Overall, I have created a good system, I have found methods to prepare me for my next creative block instead of panicking for when that moment hits. Sort of preventative, if you will.

Never again have to google "how to spark creativity" with my list of ten simple exercises.

1. Read a lot
I read everything and anything. If I find myself questioning a particular topic, I immediately look up the best books regarding it and request a hold at my local library. The more distant the theme is from the project I am working on, the better results I get. I don't just do this when I am stuck though; I am always reading. Reading on such varied topics allows me to make new connections with the knowledge I already have. It keeps the "wheels greased."

2. Take a break
This is so cliche, but it works. It doesn't matter what you do on your break as long as it is actually a break. Go out to eat, grab some coffee, go pick up your library books, go for a workout, or watch a YouTube video. You'll come back to your project refreshed and ready to try again.

3. Write about something else
Sometimes I am just stuck with my current topic, and it seems as if all the creative thoughts in my head have disappeared. When this happens, I open a google doc or head to this blog and start writing. I usually have a list of blog topics waiting to be written, and I pick one and go for it. This helps to completely disconnect from the text I was stuck on and get back into the flow of writing. Once I notice the ideas are rushing towards me, I make my way back to my original project.

4. Save words/phrases/works that spark your interest
I tend to write about resorts and travel a lot, so whenever I am writing, I will note down any words or phrases that spark my interest. For example, whenever I am doing research on a new destination, and I learn that this destination is known for being "a tranquil seaside escape among the jungle" I will take that beautifully written phrase/copy and paste it into the notes app on my computer and leave it. Whenever I am stuck, I refer to this notes section and read bits and pieces I have loved, and they usually inspire new trains of thought.

I would never have a creative block if my place looked like this.
5. Get curious
Whenever you are stuck, do some research. You may not care at all about the topic of this project, but your boss needs it by the end of today, so you HAVE to become interested. I am not saying you have to love it, but you must have some questions/curiosities about your topic.  Research answers to those questions, even if those answers don't help you to write, they will keep you engaged with the project, and after a couple of searches, you'll find yourself with new information that has sparked your creative side. Follow your curiosity; it can be a significant lead to creativity.

6. Learn something new
I have learned that I will perpetually be bored, it was a curse until I discovered a cure; keep learning. I am always enrolled in a class either at my community college, online, or even taking local courses in my city.  Plenty of sites like Udemy, Lynda, Skillshare, CodeAcademy, Khan Academy, and hundreds more provide free courses. Now, these classes don't have to have anything to do with your industry. Again, this is another preventative measure, but it is a good one. Ever since I have dedicated myself to continued education, my creativity and ideas are through the roof. This can be anything from taking a different kind of workout class to picking up a drawing class, just learn something new. This can be the perfect opportunity to take on that hobby you've always been dying to try but never "had time." Now you have to because your best creative work depends on it.

7. Power through
Sometimes, I just keep writing even when I know it is absolute garbage. I write until the project is complete. I just do it, just get it done. Then I step away and work on other things. Sometimes I even let a day go back (when you have the luxury to do so and no looming deadline), and I come back and read it. To my surprise, it is not always crap. Some of it may be bad, but it inspires new thoughts and new ways to say things. It takes me out of my comfort zone when I am reading not so great copy and transforming it instead of just editing. Sometimes crap copy turns out to be my best copy after reworking it.

8. Change your location
As a copywriter, all I need is a laptop and a sitting area. I know other creatives may require more elaborate spaces but do what you can to change your work area. Sometimes it is as simple as going to a coffee shop instead of working from home for me. If you usually work in a loud and bustling place try secluding yourself in a cubicle at your local library and vice versa. Breaking that creative rut is sometimes about breaking your daily routine.

This workspace is perfect. Creativity, CHECK!
9. Play music while you work
I can't just play any music when I am working it has to be instrumental. When I find that my focus is drifting and I am in need of a spark I'll head on over to Spotify. Spotify creates awesome curated playlist, search by "mood" and you are sure to find one that speaks to you. This one is a favorite of mine. I also love the rainstorm/thunder playlists.

10. Draw a mind map
There are plenty of different versions and uses for this tool, but I love using it to help me come up with catchy slogans or campaign themes. The idea is to write down words and their immediate associations, connecting them in a web-like shape. I usually write down a few words that I think capture the essence of what I want to achieve and go from there. It won't lead you directly to your next genius idea, but it helps you see connections that are not immediate. It doesn't have to look like a map; sometimes I write a long list of my ideas.

What are your favorite tricks for getting out of a creative rut? Do you already do some of these? I would love to know your tricks for sparking your creativity.

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