4 sure-fire ways to stimulate creativity

Simon Slade, Contributor
Willie B. Thomas | Getty Images

Creativity block is familiar to most everyone. It's frustrating when the good ideas just won't come. Luckily, there are solutions. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a business owner or something else entirely, these strategies are sure to help get you out of an inspiration rut.

Change your environment

One of the quickest and easiest ways to spur new ideas is to change your scenery. While a vacation can be an excellent remedy for creativity block, most of us can't just jet-set off to the beach when we're uninspired. Fortunately, we don't have to go that far to get the benefits of a new, fresh environment.

Your office might be strangling your creativity. Try taking your laptop or a notebook to a new place — a coffee shop, a different part of your office building or outside. Sometimes, ditching the sterile office environment in favor of the hustle bustle of a public place or the serenity of a natural setting can be just what our brain needs.

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I've touted the benefits of journaling before and one of the reasons it is such a productive exercise is because it creates mental space for creativity.

It's possible that there is something else on your mind that is choking your creativity, so try stream-of-conscious journaling. The practice of removing thoughts from your brain and leaving them on the paper will create more room for being creative.

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Sometimes, your brain needs a break and your body needs some attention. It can be easy to trap ourselves in a mental back-and-forth when creativity is elusive. Exercise and physical movement can remove us from our mental rut and even create new brain cells.

I exercise daily on my lunch break, which really helps break up my day and refresh my creativity for the afternoon (the time when most of us experience a productivity slump). Even if exercise isn't part of your daily routine, a few jumping jacks or some stretching might shake loose some creative ideas.

Talk it out

Like journaling, talking to someone about your block can help to sharpen your creative senses. However a person can also offer a new perspective. An alternative lens through which to view your problem or project can dramatically affect your creativity.

Whenever business owners are trying to make a large-scale decision, I encourage them to consult their employees. People with different positions within a company offer unique viewpoints that can be enlightening. In the same way, your friends and family can offer an interpretation of your creative endeavor that might be exactly what you needed to hear.

Know it happens to everyone

Creative block is not a failure. It's a natural part of any creative process. This type of struggle validates that you are applying effort to a project that is challenging and worthwhile. Creative blocks offer an opportunity for growth. And by using one or all of the above strategies, your creative dry spell isn't likely to last very long.

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Simon Slade is CEO and co-founder of SaleHoo.