How to Tap Into Your Creative Spark

If all else fails, stop trying

Is your imagination switched on enough? When inspiration doesn’t flow, ignite your creative spark with these mental exercises.

Enjoy writing badly

Stop aiming for perfection — just for a while — and let your words flow with wild abandon. It doesn’t matter if what you produce is terrible at this point.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., “an associate editor at Psych Central,” states “when all else fails, just start. Write whatever’s on your mind. Write the self-doubts. Write the confused, anxious feelings. ‘Write the truest sentence that you know,’ as Hemingway says in A Moveable Feast. Write anything.”

Searching for a solution? Forget limiting beliefs

Creativity stops flowing when you face similar circumstances to when you felt blocked previously.

One occasion when innovation is out of reach can result in many more to follow.

The problem stems from the memory of not succeeding, which you apply to the new situation. The recollection triggers a belief you aren’t creative.

When seeking solutions to familiar problems, imagine you’ve not met comparable circumstances before. Look through fresh eyes, perhaps even pretending you are another person.

Consider how Einstein, Gandhi, or another iconic figure may respond to the situation. What solutions would they discover by thinking differently than you think?

Solve a problem

Stefan Mumaw, “Callahan Creek Creative Director and Creative Boot Camp author,” sees creativity as finding a solution:

“Creativity is problem solving with relevance and novelty, nothing more, nothing less. Creativity cannot be present without a problem to solve. When an artist paints a beautiful painting, they are being artistic. When they paint a beautiful painting while solving even the smallest of problems (perhaps the desire for photo-realism, or the restriction of only using palette knives, or limiting the number of paints used), they are being artistic and creative. It is the problem that defines creativity, not the art.”

As a writer, you could find a problem as a starting point before marking your page with words. Recognize crafting your emotions into a poem is a difficulty and start there for instance.

Relax and do something else

Straining cuts off your creative spark. When you try to come up with ideas or be artistic, the creativity-generator within shuts down, hence the notion of writer’s block.

No obstruction exists; the difficulty arises because you need to relax.

When you want to be creative, go for a stroll. Many artists, writers, and great thinkers attribute their successes to long walks. A study carried out by Stanford researchers backs the idea.

Where you walk doesn’t even matter; it’s the act of wandering that counts. So, you might increase creativity by pottering around the house or garden rather than hiking in the hills if you prefer.

Or take your mind off the need to generate ideas by doing something unrelated to creative expression. As a result, your resourcefulness will grow.

Kindle creativity

You think you can’t be creative, yet use a few simple props and sparks will fly. Pick three items or aspects of your environment and weave them into a story.

Your dog, computer, and lunch, for instance: “The dog leaped out of the computer screen and grabbed the sandwich off the desk.”

Alternatively, think of what you would have done differently today if you had super powers.

Maybe, you’d have spread your wings and soared over that traffic jam on the way to work, or made your whining boss lose his voice for the day. Once you plug into creativity, ideas will stream.

Let other’s creativity rub off on you

Have you noticed how being with other creative people or seeing their work inspires you? Visit an art gallery, read poetry, or search for your muse online.

Also, join an art, pottery, or creative writing class, or watch a children’s movie.

Remember, everything in your home or office was once a mere thought. Look at the items in your surroundings and think about the process entailed in their development to elicit inspiration.

Mess up your blank sheet

Social psychologist Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. suggests you “dirty your canvas” if you experience a creative block. Place something on the blank page or drawing board to straighten out.

If you’re a writer, write absolutely anything that comes into your head. Then stand back and evaluate what you’ve written. Tweak it here and there. You’ll have begun, and sometimes that’s all you need to get creativity flowing.


Make-believe your pen is alive and see what it draws; rest it on paper and allow swirls and squiggles, or whatever else arises, to pour forth.

Cambridge Network report a study “co-authored by Dr David Pearson of Anglia Ruskin University,” that shows “sketching can be seen as a motivating influence on the creative process which could encourage perseverance and increase enjoyment in the task.”

You might like to imagine a great painter from history has taken over your hand and watch what’s created on the page.

If beginning is hard, phone a pal and sketch as you talk. The pressure to create marks on the paper will lift when you’re engrossed in a conversation.

Don’t worry. Your creative spark hasn’t disappeared. You can plug back into your imagination by not trying hard.

Be playful, or pretend you are someone else who is super-creative and ideas will flow.

See creativity as problem-solving, and perhaps your new perspective will help sparks fly. Make sure you forget about perfection too and give yourself a messy canvas to solve.

If all else fails, stop trying. Do something less taxing like walking and let your muse chase you rather than running after it with flailing arms.