How to be Creative, Especially When You Don’t Want to be

We’ve all been there. There’s a point when all you can do is stare at your screen (or your notepad) and hope an idea springs up from…anywhere. Usually it happens around 3 o’clock, but it can strike anytime: on the weekend, in front of your boss, even in the place where the best ideas are usually formed—the shower. Whether you call it writer’s block or “being stuck,” there are ways of combating that static feeling and recovering the creative spirit.

Look to others for support

Chances are you know other people who have similar interests to you. Use them to bounce ideas off of. You’ll probably be able to return the favor sometime down the road. If you have someone you admire, reach out to them and see where they would start.

Check out inspiring content

Similar to looking to others, looking or listening to content that you respect or enjoy can get you in a more creative mindset.

SnapShot-ers suggest: Behance, Dribbble, and some great Instagram accounts (which are highly recommended by Chris Paz, Animator and avid-canoeist).

Design Instagram accounts:
visforvector
designarf
rachelryle
andrewcolinbeck

Motion Instagram accounts:
Motionmarkus
ema_colombo
decorrespondent
fireart_studio
explain_ninja

Take a break

Taking a break gives you time to relax and think about other things. Even if you still feel stuck on an idea, taking a walk and getting away from a screen can help foster more ideas. Studies show that even a microbreak can help improve mental acuity and efficiency.

Exercise

Elle Woods probably said it best with “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Exercise can lower your stress levels and help you think more clearly. If you don’t have time for a full on exercise routine (somehow something else always comes up), a quick stretch helps you become more alert and relaxed.

Listen to Music

Let’s face it baseball (not to be confused with Softball Team), music is really America’s pastime. Whether you listen to the same song on repeat, podcasts, or Music for Programmers, a little concentration music can go a long way.

Grab a drink

No real description necessary.

SnapShot-ers suggest beer, margaritas and La Croix, in that order.

Just Get to It

A novelist once told me that she didn’t believe in writer’s block. Instead, she forced herself to write for at least 10 minutes each day. The days when she especially didn’t feel like writing sometimes led to some of her most useful ideas. At SnapShot, the suggestions range from word-vomitting to sketching until you get something interesting. If you just start throwing ideas on paper, eventually something good will jump out.

It isn’t always easy to burst out of a creative slump, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you’re looking for more inspiration, take a look at our work.

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