There are times when you might find your ability to come up with ideas has been squelched. You might be stuck in the middle of a project, or you might find yourself with trying to find a place to start a new project. When your routine isn’t helping you get unstuck, you need to find inspiration and refill your creative well. Here are five tips to help you get inspired and find your next level of creativity.
1. Take a Walk
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” While anecdotal evidence has always held that walking is a great time to get inspired with new ideas, oftentimes, that inspiration was tied to experiencing the outdoors. However, in a 2014 Stanford study, scientists found that walking, whether indoors or outdoors, increased creative inspiration up to 60 percent. Those who walked on a treadmill in a plain room saw the same kind of increase as those who went outdoors. It was the act of walking that was important and not the place where the walking happened. There are many creative people who used walking as part of their creative routine, including Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Jobs, and Beethoven. Claudette Dudley said, “I love walking because it clears your mind, enriches the soul, takes away stress and opens up your eyes to a whole new world.”
2. Take a Nap (Almost)
Hypnagogia is that state between sleeping and wakefulness. According to Mayo Oshin, Salvador Dali would use this state when he worked. He sat in a chair with a heavy metal key in his hand. On the floor beside the chair was an upside-down plate. With the key hanging from his hand over the plate, when Dali would nod off, he’d drop the key and it would wake him up. While this type of nap worked for Dali and inspiration, researchers at UC San Diego have found that naps of 60 minutes that complete a REM cycle helped to improve creativity.
3. Take Note
In John Boitnott’s “Inc.” article, his first suggestion for finding inspiration is to write down everything. Good ideas, bad ideas, new information, and if you write it all down in one place, you’ll have a book of inspiration. Some things you’ll be able to discard, but even the crazy ideas might work for solving a problem creatively or for inspiring your next work of art. Notebooks have helped thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Alva Edison. Francis Bacon said, “Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”
4. Read Something
“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation…It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.
“This is more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness,” said researcher and cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis.
It’s important to read with intention, and choosing a novel is better than reading blogs and short stories on the Internet.
When you find inspiration, you’ve only started the process. Make sure that you put the habits and work ethic in place to see those inspirations all the way through to completion.