As someone who thrives on creativity, both in my professional and personal interests, I know that inspiration can be hard to come by. On Monday, I am pumped with ingenious ideas for a naming project that I am working on, and by Tuesday, I have flatlined. Whilst I know that the peaks and troughs boil down to feeling uninspired, the crux of the problem is that I often do not know where to find inspiration. So, I decided to put together a nifty list, for both your benefit and mine, for those times when everything seems dull, lackluster and stale.
01. Solve a crossword puzzle.
02. Come up with at least one risqué idea that would result in loss of the client/project/mandate. Tone it down.
03. Go for a run and do not stop until your abdomen is hurting.
04. Use Visual Thesaurus. I am absolutely hooked to this wonderful tool.
05. Head over to the local art gallery and feast your eyes upon the latest exhibition – the less famous the artist is, the better. Allow yourself to be provoked, pleased and prompted.
06. Read through your old poetry, uncompleted novels and teenage journals.
07. Eat an entire packet of gummy bears and bask in the sugar rush that follows.
08. Switch up your medium. If you write on your laptop, switch to pen and paper. If you sketch out your thoughts, try painting them onto canvas.
09. Shoot hoops.
10. Play with a child.
11. Walk into a grocery store and only purchase products with appealing packaging.
12. Urban Dictionary. Start by searching for your own name.
13. Wear your least favourite colour. Give it the benefit of the doubt.
14. Treat yourself to an embellished manicure. The more outrageous, the better.
15. Get your hands on Alphabet Soup and whip up a bowl of the stuff. It’s amazing what staring into a bowl of letters can do for the imagination, especially for writers and namers.
16. How would your mum do it?
18. Say yes.
19. Reach your office half an hour early. In the midst of the quiet before the hustle and bustle begins, allow your mind to wonder and wander.
20. Pull a book off your shelf at random and start reading. Sometimes, one word can set off an entire chain of thoughts, not only for writers but also designers, marketers, strategists et al.
21. Is your exhaustion getting in the way of your creativity? Take a power nap.
22. Make the funniest face you can. Click a picture and send it to your favourite people.
23. Refer to yourself in third person for an afternoon.
24. Take yourself out to brunch.
25. Switch your phone off for 24 hours.
26. Have your palm read or, better yet, try to read it yourself! In the past, I have used the wacky predictions to craft the lives of fictional characters in my stories. Fun, fun!
27. Make something out of paper using origami techniques.
28. Read one page of the dictionary.
29. Coffee (with an extra shot of espresso, please).
30. Buy yourself a bouquet of ridiculously expensive flowers. Blue hydrangeas, anyone?
31. Find yourself a pen pal.
32. Take up a free course at Open Culture.
33. Climb a tree. As a child, I spent a lot of time thinking on the highest branches of my favourite tree in our backyard in Melbourne. Oh, how I miss those days.
34. Try thinking out loud. Record it so that you can revisit your brainstorm and catch golden tidbits that you may have missed before.
35. Eat something and then try again.
36. Read about the history of someone, something or somewhere. History is a great place to find some creative inspiration.
37. Free writing. Forget about structure, spelling, syntax and grammar; set a timer for five minutes and start writing. Let it flow out of you.
38. Use your hands to make something – a meal, a painting, a necklace or even a sweater.
39. Revisit your favourite novel.
40. Listen to new music. It’s amazing what a change of sound can do for your creative soul.
41. Finish an old, long-forgotten project.
42. Create a mood board and update it regularly.
43. Write a story of ten sentences without using the letter ‘e’.
44. Watch a Woody Allen movie. Seriously. I always have something brilliant to write about afterward.
45. Create a comic strip.
46. Stare at a blank page (or canvas, presentation template etc.) I guarantee that if you stare long enough, something will come to you.
47. Write a letter to yourself.
48. Draw on a fake beauty spot a la Marilyn Monroe.
49. Start a book club.
50. Be curious.