10 Ways to Beat a Creative Slump and Find Inspiration

28th August 2017 Jess Kadel Study

A creative subject is difficult. Not only is it tricky due to the natural subjectivity of the arts, but it’s also hard to find inspiration when it comes to creating something. Whether you’ve got writers’ block or are unsure of what to design, paint or sculpt, the inspiration won’t come from simply sitting at your desk waiting. To help beat your creative slump and find inspiration, you should try one of the following tips.

1. Get outdoors to find inspiration

Sometimes it helps to just get away from that desk in your student room. Embarking on a picturesque walk in nature or exploring a new area can help you de-stress while stimulating your mind. In a 2012 study, neuroscientist David Strayer found that backpackers were 50% more creative after spending times on a hiking trail. If it worked for the likes of Wordsworth and Turner why not give it a go?

Image of path through a glade

2. Pick Up A Camera

This one’s especially useful to those studying an art-based subject and also goes hand in hand with the first tip. Snapping pictures of interesting places or objects you’ve come across can allow you to later reflect on the pictures and find inspiration. For example, your photograph may have captured an intricate pattern that could instigate a painting.

Check out these top photography apps.

3. Meditate

When working towards a deadline, stress can cloud any creativity. This is why it’s so important to clear your mind and wind down now and then. Meditation is one of the best ways to do this. Remember to take deep breaths and relax, listening to the sounds of nature can also be beneficial during meditation. See tips on how to meditate here.

Image of woman meditating

 4. Watch a TED video

The whole basis of TED is that it is devoted to spreading ideas in the form of inspirational talks. What better source for your creativity? This is best used when exploring topics related to your work. For example, they have topics such as art, writing, dance, design, and theatre, all crammed with various videos. They also have topics that will help settle your mind, for example mindfulness or happiness.

 5. Read a book

This tip is especially useful for targeting writer’s block and helping you find inspiration. Reading what other people have written might spark an idea regarding plot, writing style or even certain words used. A study by University of Toronto scholars and professor Maja Djikic found that readers of literary fiction are more creative and exercise better judgement.

Image of book and glasses

6. Use social media (productively)

While we all love to scroll through Facebook as a means of procrastination, social media is actually crammed full of inspiration, but only if used efficiently. For example, Twitter is handy if you search the hashtag ‘#inspiration’. Or you could use Instagram to search for interesting artists or designers and browse their styles.

7. Creative vision board

If you’ve had a fish around the internet and have seen certain works which inspire you, place them all together on a vision board so you can see overall colours, themes, fonts, etc. If you’re struggling to write, try jotting in a notebook the ideas and themes you want to portray. Having a vague plan can help you slowly visualise what you want to create.

Check out a TED talk, it could spark that creative something.

Image of someone doodling, trying to find inspiration

8. Get talking to people

If your fountain of knowledge is drying up, try taking from other peoples’! Having a quick chat with friends, family or tutors can help you get back on track, and they might even offer new ideas you hadn’t even thought of.

Check out these Instagram accounts for inspiration.

 9. Nap

While we don’t want to add to the stereotype that students are lazy, a nap could help you out of your creative slump. Napping reduces stress and increases productivity. On top of that, Da Vinci, Dali and JFK were known for taking regular naps. Try a 30-minute kip and then start afresh.

Image of woman napping

 10. Try something new

A final tip is to try something you’ve never done before. What we create is often based on our personal experiences. If your creative juices aren’t flowing, maybe it’s time to gather some new experiences.  This can include the likes of skydiving, visiting a foreign country, or simply something as easy as taking a different route to your lectures. Need some inspiration for new things to try? Keynote Speaker Allan Karl has a list.

How do you beat your creative slump and find inspiration? Let us know in the comments!

Jess Kadel

Jess Kadel

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