Whether you’re starting an artsy project, creating a unique job application or need some inspiration for a brand new business idea, you need to get creative – and sometimes that’s not easy. Thankfully, we’ve come up with 20 ways to get your brain going…

1. Do something different Read a book from a genre you’ve never tried before. Watch a horror film even if you hate horror. If you’re not the sort of person who “takes walks” (because they can actually be a bit boring) then maybe try doing just that.

2. Go through old notepads/word documents Remember when you were really emo-depressed/legitimately sad because she/he dumped you? You might find a spark of creativity in those emotionally-typed cringe-nuggets.

3. Talk to someone you don’t know By “someone” we mean someone on the train, tube, bus, park bench (unless they’re flashing or drinking from a brown paper bag). If you’re not up for starting convos with strangers, the next time someone comments on the weather at you, instead of glaring at them, try responding.

4. Get a second opinion Asking someone to take a look at your work is a great idea, especially if they’re also in the same field as you. But even if they’re not, ask them anyway as it can help you to get a fresh perspective.

5. Do some ironing A task that requires little to no mental challenge, but still requires you to be engaged (like ironing) can help your creative juices mull over a problem.

6. Brainstorm Write down the aim in the middle of a huge sheet of paper, then write everything you think of when you think of that word or phrase. Literally anything. Don’t stop writing until the page is full and don’t worry if you start coming up with loads of crap – some of it will be useful.

7. Make a list A list of joy and dreams and hopes and desires. Lists like this are especially good when thinking about career goals, this one. Write down everything you want to happen if you had a magic wand and could work the mojo. Looking at your aims with the limitations removed can be quite eye opening. Now look at how to deal with those obstacles…

8. Have a nap Honestly! It works for some people. And if you dream something crazy you could turn it into a bestselling novel.

9. Turn off the TV and click off the Daily Mail sidebar . Just do this for fifteen minutes and, in those fifteen minutes, try to creatively solve that issue that’s been nagging at you. Or work on that project.

10. Sort your room out Not in a procrastinating way, but in a Let’s Get Serious way. Stick up some inspirational quotes and pictures (you don’t always have to go with “love like you’ve never loved before” etc. Inspiration can be anything – if you want to eventually work in New York, have a photo of the Empire State Building. If you want to be a vet, a before and after shot of a sad dog made happy by a vet etc) and make the place you’re working, or applying for work in, a nice place to be. Instant creativity boost.


three image paint

11. Picture your audience If you’re creating something for a target audience, or hope to, then really get to know that audience. Pretend you’re them. Have a chat with yourself. Do this in a quiet room where nobody can hear you.

12. Break your routine If you’re not a morning person, get up early. If you always wake up at 6am, try working in the evening. Always work at home? Go to a cafe. This will not only break your routine but it may also allow you to find the peak time when you’re the most creative so you can exploit that for all it’s worth!

13. Collaborate Getting a team together will give you the motivation to meet deadlines and keep generating ideas. If you’ve made a plan with others, you’re more likely to stick to it.

14. Mindmap the angles Like a brainstorm/thoughtshower but more focused and good for those who aren’t sure which route to take. Start with the key word and map all the options, angles and alternatives. For each angle, come up with the consequences. It’ll allow you to think clearly, rationally and more logically.

15. Be positive If you’re in a pessimistic mind frame nothing will seem possible and you’ll question everything negatively. Promise yourself you’re going to properly consider all the options and be open to anything your little mind suggests.

16. Hang out with people who are different to you Go for coffee and get advice from that guy who makes you go “WHAT? BUT NOBODY THINKS LIKE THAT WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU” except, this time, replace the “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU” with “why?” or “how?” or “hmm?”

17. Do something you did when you were last creative Weirdly, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes me pitch articles to people I’m scared of. Maybe because it hearkens back to last September when I was jobhunting and being crazily productive between Buffy marathons due to having moved back in with my parents. Who knows, it could work for you too. Or maybe it won’t.

18. Pinterest, blog and tumblr yourself silly Whatever you’re into, there’s an inspirational blog/tumblr/pinterest/actual website devoted to it. Graphics, writing, photography, illustration, sandwiches, it’s all there. And have a look at stuff not wholly related to what you’re focussing on; it could still spark something.

19. The dictionary technique Yep, you guessed it. Open a dictionary and try to formulate your idea around the first word you see. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ve got yourself thinking which can snowball into all sorts of other, maybe slightly better, ideas…

20. Ignore the nagging voice Fear of failure and fear of not being good enough is the killer of all creativity. Ignore anything telling you you’re not good enough/can’t do something.

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