As a writer and content marketer, I’m often tasked with coming up with hundreds of ideas for clients at any given time. And because, you know, they want us to deliver our stuff on time, I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block.
Some might say that I was born a creative person (thanks, Mom!), but I’m of the opinion that anyone—ANYONE—can learn to be more creative.
This fact is especially true for those of you who are tasked with writing your own Social posts, blog articles, or website content (though we can help with that, too).
So how can YOU be more creative? How can you start to train that brain o’ yours to start rapid-firing ideas like a pyromaniac who’s had too much caffeine?
Here are 15 ways to get started:
- Reframe: Set a new outlook on whatever problem or task you’ve been working on. Give it new parameters or look at it from another angle. This is a scientifically proven way of coming up with new solutions.
- Be Positive: Also scientifically proven? A positive outlook is the BEST way to think of new ideas. Get rid of self-limiting beliefs (“I’ll NEVER think of something new to say”) and try acting as if you KNOW you are capable of thinking of a solution.
- Get it out: There are no such things as “bad ideas”…only ideas that need to get out of the way. Write it all down, even the weird stuff. When you work on emptying your brain, it magically refills itself.
- Set Limits: This is a trick we use in improv a lot. When you have more rules, you actually have to be MORE creative. So set a time limit, or limit yourself to a number of words. PS—Twitter has some of the most creative writers working today. 140 characters or less will do that do you.
- Be Limitless: At the same time, allow yourself to think WAY OUT THERE. Again…there are no bad ideas, only good ideas waiting to happen.
- Ask “What if?”: That problem or blog post still staring at you in the face? Ask “What if…” and then try to approach it from your new angle. “What if…I made a joke?” “What if…I asked our customers?” “What if…our CEO made a video?”
- Practice: Yes, creativity CAN be practiced! So grab a notebook, a Google doc, or follow a writing prompt website. Write or create something every day. Become more creative. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Crowdsource: When in doubt, ask your audience what they want to see, hear and read from you. Facebook pages are great platforms, but you could also use your newsletter, blog or Twitter account.
- Try Something New: Chef Mario Batali takes a different route to work every morning. While routine is nice, it’s easy for the brain to use the opportunity to rest. Instead, try something new…a new dish for lunch, a new class, a new haircut. Get that brain moving and adjusting to something out of the routine.
- Move: Still stumped? Take a walk. Go for a run. Hit the gym. Get more blood flowing to your brain. Science has proven that while your brain is concentrating on not allowing you to die during Zumba, it’s working on the problem in the background (kind of like how you can choose to let an app run in the background on your smart phone). So go!
- Read: We’ve already talked about Feedly, but you can really use anything to aggregate articles, blogs and photos in one place. Either way, read something by someone else, whether it’s a favorite book, magazine or blog. Let other people’s creativity ignite your own.
- Collect information: Use Pinterest, Evernote or even just your bookmarks bar to save articles, photos and blogs that inspire you. Look through your collection when you’re truly stumped to trigger something new.
- Be inspired: Surround yourself with people who inspire you, whether it’s your kids, a friend, or even celebrity or leader. Hang out with people who are smarter than you, and more creative than you. You’ll rise to the occasion.
- Mind Map: Mind mapping is one of my favorite ways to brainstorm, because it follows the natural way our brains work to think through ideas. Google “mind map” and be inundated with amazing examples and tools…but a white board or pen and paper works just as well.
- Time it: Still can’t think of anything? Set a time limit. If you still haven’t thought of something in XX minutes, get up, do something else, tackle another problem. Return. Cut the previous time in half. Try again.
There you go! 15 ways to be more creative. I’ve used all of these ideas to be creative in the past, and utilize many of them regularly to come up with great ideas for our clients.
How do you inspire your own creativity? Any tips or tricks I should know about?