Get All Access for $5/mo

5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Creativity — Even When It's Running Low Creativity is a prerequisite for almost any job today, though it comes in many forms. Whatever form you use in your job role, you're sure to find yourself feeling uninspired and unmotivated at times. Here's what one creative content developer does to reignite her flame when it goes out.

By Emily Reynolds Bergh Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • To help nudge your creativity forward, try these techniques to spur on your internal motor and stimulate right-brain thinking.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're at your desk. It's the last place you want to be right now, amid a crazy-busy week, with hundreds of unopened emails in your inbox and a nagging headache budding around your temples. And yet you have a pitch due. You've got to get your brain to work, and you've got to get your creativity flowing to make that happen.

These days, it hardly matters what industry you're in. Creativity is called for whether you're in car manufacturing, down comforters, IT, or property management. Finding creative solutions to challenges. Designing creative sales campaigns. Thinking of a way to creatively present and promote your business that hasn't been done a thousand times before. And, of course, generating creative content. That's the name of the game in today's marketplace across almost every sector, and that's what I do a lot at my boutique PR firm.

But sometimes, I get stuck, uninspired, and run out of juice. Here's what I do to rev up my engine of creativity when it's stalling.

Strategy #1: Consume brain food

When your mind isn't working like you want it to, it often indicates that your body is low on energy. How can your engine run without gas, right? So pump it up with some fuel. I'm not talking about daily supplements to boost memory and cognitive function long-term; I'm talking about short-term bursts of high-energy foods and drinks that will give you a little jolt to recharge your dead battery.

My go-to is a matcha-infused beverage (the more refreshing and yummy, the better), but you can get similar effects with a bowlful of seasonal berries, hard-boiled eggs, a handful of mixed nuts, avocado toast, a fat tuna salad sandwich, or a lovely chunk of dark chocolate. It sounds easy (not to mention tasty!), but it works. First things first: Nourish yourself so you can then feed your work.

Related: EntrepreneurTV Is Now Streaming – and It's Free! Watch to Find Your Inspiration.

Strategy #2: Listen to your favorite playlist

Whether you leave your office to take a walk outside with your headphones on or you just stand up from your desk to groove to some of your favorite tunes — the ones that always make you dance — I promise you that inputting music you love into your brain will help unclog what you're trying to get to come out of your brain.

Switching senses or brain pathways is a long-accepted approach to getting "unstuck." This actually works both ways: Some practices are concentrated on getting out of your head and into your body (think aroma therapy or taking a hot bath), and others are aimed at detaching from physical discomfort by moving into your higher self (like meditation and mindfulness exercises). Either way, switching the focus from your empty gas tank to a revitalizing activity is an effective way to shift gears and get you back on track.

Strategy #3: Scroll, read, repeat

It's been said by Mark Twain (among others) that there are no new ideas, no new stories — only refurbished ones made of the same original elements, rearranged in infinitely new combinations. If you look as far back as Shakespeare, this adage seems to hold true: Even his timeless and historically lauded plays of the English Renaissance presumably relied on and reimagined works from the Italian Renaissance.

Point being: Painters get inspired by looking at other paintings. Blueprints take root in architects as they view other buildings. Graphic artists flip through publications and design boards to generate ideas for new layouts. So I have no problem admitting that when my well of creative content is running dry, I hop on the web and start reading everything interesting I can find on the topic I'm trying to cover myself. It's my version of R&D in my field. I feel confident it would apply to any field, and it rarely fails. Find inspiration outside yourself, then put your own signature spin on it when you internalize it.

Related: 3 Ways to Use ChatGPT to Spark Your Own Creativity

Strategy #4: Have a conversation with someone you admire

A talking-it-out approach can also serve as a source of inspiration. You don't have to necessarily "talk out" your dilemma with someone, you just have to talk with someone you find inspiring. That's what admiration is at bottom, right? You admire someone because they inspire something in you.

So when your creativity sponge is feeling dry, pick up the phone and reach out to someone who's a proven resource for problem-solving and decision-making. They'll likely have ideas you haven't thought of; they'll naturally say something in the conversation that lights a match for you. I recently chatted with a friend about a new app she'd just downloaded to her phone … and voilà! The app's purpose led me down a trail of thinking that unblocked my brain!

Strategy #5: Freewrite in a journal

You can read what others have written to spark your creativity, yes, but you can also write your own way to productive pathways. When I can't think of a new idea, I open my online journal and just start typing away. Sometimes what comes out is nonsense. Sometimes it makes sense, but not for the particular job at hand.

So once you get a few thoughts down on the page, just to get them out of your head (garbage thoughts like, Why the heck can't I get anywhere with this project today?), keep typing, keep writing. Slowly work loosely and freely toward a bit more structure until something starts taking shape.

Example: Last month, I was trying to come up with a tagline for a brand-new promotional campaign for one of my clients. When full statements weren't working, I simply typed their name at the top of the page and then started listing single individual words that came to mind about this client, stream-of-consciousness style. Within 10 minutes, two words leaped out at me as fresh and on-point. I slapped a noun here and a verb there and before I knew it, I had a tagline that was good enough to anchor the whole campaign. I took the last sip of my matcha smoothie through my straw with utter contentment!

Related: 5 Creativity Exercises to Keep You Sharp While Working From Home

With everything we all have on our plates today — with the many hats entrepreneurs wear and the multiple roles we juggle — it's no wonder our brains often don't have room for creativity and innovation to move in on demand. To help nudge it forward, try some of these techniques to spur on your internal motor and stimulate right-brain thinking. Sometimes, I feed my soul, sometimes, I boogie to ABBA, and sometimes, I borrow from others, but once my engine reignites, I can drive off on my own again, in my direction.

Emily Reynolds Bergh

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder at R Public Relations Firm

Emily Reynolds Bergh — vintage-shoe hoarder, cycling junkie, & lover of pink drinks — is a marketing & PR pro with 15+ years of experience under her belt. Now the founder & owner of the award-winning R Public Relations based in New York, she’s been featured in numerous publications & podcasts.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Some Car Dealerships Are Selling Cars the Old Fashioned Way Following Massive Cyberattack

CDK software services an estimated 15,000 dealerships in the U.S.

Business News

50 Cent Once Sued Taco Bell for $4 Million. Here's How the Fast-Food Giant Got on the Rapper's Bad Side.

The brand suggested that 50 Cent change his name to match its "Why Pay More?" value menu promotion prices. The rapper was not amused.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Jack Dorsey Says It Will Soon Be 'Impossible to Tell' if Deepfakes Are Real: 'Like You're in a Simulation'

Dorsey said we will "not know what is real and what is fake" in the next five to 10 years.

Business News

Mark Cuban's Google Account Was Hacked By 'Sophisticated' Bad Actors

The "Shark Tank" star said someone "called and said I had an intruder and spoofed [Google's] recovery methods."

Business News

Apple Is Working on Making Its $3,499 Vision Pro More Affordable — and Mainstream. Here's How.

Apple's product is at least three times more expensive than Meta's version.