5 Tips to Jump Start Your Creativity

Being a “Creative” is not always easy. The muse isn’t always there when you need her. But whether you are trying to come up with a new song or a new business plan, having the ability to release the flow of the creative juices is an important trick to know.

Here are some ways I jump start those juices.

1. Tap into another source. In other words go for ideas in a place you don’t usually go. As a songwriter sometimes I look at something mundane or mechanical and think of a lyric for that. This is against the usual flowery, romantic thoughts of a “lyricist”, but it is that very abrupt change that sometimes sparks a new idea.

2. Play a different instrument. This works for musicians who usually create on guitar – just sit down at the keyboard and things seem new again. But this can also work for any creative endeavor, if you are a school teacher and trying to come up with a new math project for students, look to your art supplies. Perhaps you can create a painted flow chart that helps explain how to tackle a problem.

3. Find your time. Everyone has a time of the day when they are the most creative. Maybe it is when you first get up in the morning. Maybe it is on your drive to work, or even late at night after the family goes to bed. That is the time you should focus on being creative because it is the time when you will naturally gravitate towards creative things.

4. Collaborate. When possible, bouncing ideas off of another person can help spur on new ideas. It doesn’t even matter if the other person is in tune with your creative objective. Sometimes just telling your ideas out loud to someone helps you see them in a different way.

5. Change your perspective. Creativity expert Edward De Bono in his book “Lateral Thinking” says that you sometimes have to change the way you are looking at what you are trying to do. So unlike numbers 1 and 2 where we use a different source or play a different instrument, changing your perspective keeps the pieces of the puzzle the same but forces you to use them in a way that is not normal. Ask yourself how else could I accomplish this?

Being creative at the drop of a hat isn’t always easy, but if you use these tools to spark a new idea, you will find that you won’t always just have to sit on the couch and wait for the muse to drop by!

Comment below – How do you get your creative juices flowing?


 

  • I like your suggestions. Another one, that is kind of a merge of 2, 4, and 5, is to seek out information from other creative minds, either within your field, or completely outside of it. Experiencing the creative writings or interviews of folks who are creative and see things in a way you may either need to be reminded of, or made aware of can spark the excitement of a new perspective, or awaken one that’s been dormant. Drawing inspiration from reading or listening to others is; similar to playing another instrument, in that you are seeking a source different from your typical one; sort of a collaboration, but not quite, since they aren’t in conversation directly with you; likely presenting a new perspective as you use their words and experiences to draw upon for your situation. I look forward to your future blog posts.

    Deneane

  • Kris

    Sometimes I will use alternate tunings with my guitars. It seems that
    when I tune to an open tuning such as DADGAD for example that it seems
    to put a whole new twist on writing new music. Another idea is to use
    different techniques such as banjo rolls while playing the guitar. In
    fact I think I will try this – Travis picking with alt tuning. Who knows
    I could throw in a Mandolin in the mix, I guess the possibilities are
    endless. Thanks for the positive ideas for a different approach. I
    always enjoy sharing new or different ideas with other artists.

  • Skaught

    I use #1 a lot. One thing I’ll do is to look at a movie and write a song about a character or based on their perspective. I generalize it so no one will say, “Bilbo and Gollum? This is about the Hobbit!” It would be more general, like a song about thieving or trickery or loss or whatever.

    Another method is to take something mundane in my life and anthropomorphize it or make it more personal. For example, if my vacuum cleaner isn’t working, I could turn that into a song about a relationship going sour (“after all these years, you let me down”).

    Really great stuff, Jeff!

  • jeffscheetz

    Great ideas all! Deneane, I love the idea of reading others thoughts on it as well as using other “tools” to help – I am writing a post on some of the tools that I use to help the process. Skaught – I often write instrumental music with a picture in mind. On my Pawn Shop CD I wrote “Soaring” after picturing an Eagle flying over the mountains – love using imagery and music combined! Kris – Different tunings ALWAYS puts me in a different “place” when I am playing guitar – instant new ideas!! Great suggestion!

  • Jeff, I live in a area of Pennsylvania that has a good amout of radio stations emitting there signal and as I drive in certain areas I know to turn the dial to a place where certain stations overlap and I get to hear 2 stations playing at the same time in my area this usaully means a small college station playing something a litle outside of the formula, with maybe, some old George Duke or Return to Forever and the other station will be a classical station and I will sometimes even pull over the car to hear something completely different.
    Then I will base a small story around what I’m hearing and that will then lead me to picturing a world or place that might exist where that type of music exist I’ve found that instrumental music feeds my creativity while drawing or painting and by hearing music weaving in and out of other music I get to hear on expected intervals or time signatures in a completely different way. This will get my imagination firing in different thoughts.
    The other thing I do is listen to people and how they say something, my wife loves animals and me being a visaul artist she once asked me why I never paint animals SO……I took her quite literally and based a series of paintings on her very question I would show a painter out in the world with brush in hand literally painting the animals around him.
    Or I hear someone say Crazy Train and I picture a train with a face looking out to lunch.
    It’s a great question to ask of other artist and thanks for posting your thoughts on the matter.

    • jeffscheetz

      Nice Paul! I love how visualization is such a key to all arts – and how many different arts – ie music, painting, poetry etc – can all be used to inspire and influence the other disciplines!

  • Get a new pedal!

  • Ron Holcomb

    Sometimes after I listen to a recorded result of my creative juices, I think, “WOW! I should have had a V-8!” 🙂
    On the serious side, I like to take change my environment a little even if it just means sitting in the back yard.