Coming up with new ideas is not always an easy task, especially true if you work in a creative field where you are expected to come up with new things as a matter of course.
After a while, even the most creative person will naturally run out of new ideas. Thankfully, creativity can be sparked.
Here are eight ways to brainstorm new ideas, even when you are drawing a blank:
1. Make A List
The first thing I like to do is make a list. Lists may not seem very creative, but they can actually be very helpful at sparking new ideas. When I make lists I write down everything I can think of.
These can be unfinished titles and ideas, completed concepts, even just a word or two that flits through my mind.
These lists help me to keep track of things I have already come up with and add on to unfinished ideas at a later date. Some of the most creative concepts have been born by combining lists together to form complete ideas.
Lists also help me because they allow me to get ideas out of my head. Sometimes I find myself trying to hold onto ideas that are ephemeral, and that keeps me from coming up with anything new. By forcing myself to get it down on paper I open up my mind to make room for new ideas.
Even trying to keep track of normal things I have to do, like taking out the trash or walking the dog, can cloud my thinking. Making a list and setting aside a time frame to do each task allows me the space I need to be creative, without having to remember the more mundane tasks I need to accomplish.
2. Read New Things
Another great way to get new ideas is by reading new things. I am constantly inspired to write timely articles based on the news and new studies that are published.
Not only does keeping up with the news help me to stay current, it also helps inspire me to think about subjects in a new light. As they say, no man is an island, and this is true for creativity too. We all build on each other and inspire someone else’s creativity, sometimes without even knowing it.
Well-written pieces can inspire me, regardless of their content. I might like a quote or a turn of phrase that makes me think of something entirely new. Great novels inspire me also. The works of fiction that are classics often open my eyes to common concepts in new ways.
Biographies and non-fiction contain inspirational messages many times as well. They can remind me of things from my past or open my eyes to experiences I would have never considered. All these things can help to spark new ideas.
3. Start Something New
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to mix things up. I start new hobbies very often and love to learn about new things. From playing sports with my children to taking classes to improve my business to engaging in relaxing activities during my down time.
I am always looking for something new to do. This has helped me a lot with brainstorming new ideas. I also try to make friends and talk to others who are interested in those activities.
Many times they will have questions or suggestions that I can easily transfer into a new idea for my work. Sometimes the activities themselves make for great fodder for new ideas and can be incorporated into existing themes with great results.
You can also go to a new restaurant or event to get new ideas. Opening your eyes to new cultures, concepts and people can be a great way to spur your creativity.
4. Look At Things From A New Perspective
Sometimes all it takes to spark creativity is a new perspective. We get in the habit of taking sides on an issue, which can be a big hindrance to our creativity. Just like a newspaperman, you should try remain objective in your work.
Take a look at something you are passionate about. Now look again from the other side’s perspective.
What is different? This switch in point of view can be eye opening and a great way to think creatively. What holes does your position have? What improvements can be made? How can you help someone else understand your point of view? On a more practical note, you can also flip ideas around.
If you, for example, always write on what not to do, write on what to do. Or if you write about dangers, try writing about benefits. Flipping your typical response around can be a great way to inspire your brain to new creative heights.
5. Talk To Someone
Although many creative people tend to be loners, it always helps to talk to someone else. Talking with someone gets ideas out of your head and into the real world. Often these ideas are not fully formed, and the other person can ask insightful questions that help you refine your thoughts.
Sometimes it is good just to have someone to listen, and your brain will work the ideas out as you talk. It doesn’t matter if the other person has intimate knowledge of the subject. What matters is that they listen and respond. Sometimes people who know less about a subject can be more insightful and ask the kind of questions that really need to be answered.
You can also ask the other person what they are interested in at the moment. You may be surprised at the difference in your experiences and your interests, even if you are close to the other person. This difference can be a great way to get new ideas.
6. Combine Your Interests
Speaking of interests, sometimes we think that our home life and our work life have nothing to do with each other. We may think that what we do for enjoyment is irrelevant to our work. However, that simply isn’t true.
Often you can combine your interests to get creative ideas. From knitting to fishing to origami, these everyday fun activities can teach you things that you can apply to your creative work. By combining things you are interested in, like family, children, pets and so on, with your work you will be inspired to be creative.
7. Use Your Senses
Even though our sense of sight is the one we use most often with creative works online, there are other senses that can come into play too.
Have you ever heard someone talk about the flavor of a work? Or the sound? People often get a feel for a creative work beyond just the way it looks visually. Thinking about your other senses can help you come up with new ideas.
8. Use Old Ideas
Last but not least, a great way to come up with new ideas is to use old ones. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked back at the title of something I have written and been inspired to write it all over again from scratch.
As your life evolves, so do your viewpoints. Just because you use the same basic idea or title or concept does not mean you will do the same thing all over again.
We as people change all the time, so why wouldn’t our work change as well? Being creative often means using the same old ideas in new ways. New ideas do not have to come from nothing. Instead, you can be inspired by your old work to create new thoughts.
As you can see, getting new ideas on a consistent basis takes some work, but it can be done. You just have to be receptive to seeing things from a new perspective and willing to try new things yourself.
We all grow and change as people, and our work should grow and change too.