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7 Ideas To Get Your Creativity Unstuck

Ahh, writer’s block. Something many content creators know all too well. When the words flow from our brains through our fingers on the keyboard to the screen, all is right in the world. But when you no longer find inspiration, it can feel as though you’ve lost all your creative juices.

It’s frustrating, and some may start to feel imposter syndrome – like you never knew what you were doing – and you’ll never write an engaging piece of content again.

Ultimately, you know this isn’t true. But at the moment you’re searching for the next great idea? It’s time to turn to these brainstorming techniques to get you back to what you do best – writing.

1. What if

Simply ask (and answer) some creative what-if questions, such as:

  • What if your idea had a theme song?
  • What if your idea made noise?
  • What if your idea was a person?

Don’t limit yourself to a single answer.

Whtifs is a free tool to help you generate ideas. You input your creative challenge, set a timeframe for thinking, then choose from a list of perspectives (time travel, childish, etc.) The idea generator will give you a related question to answer in the allotted time.

Need to ponder more ideas? Check out Don “The Idea Guy” Snyder’s book 100-Whats of Creativity: Questions to Spark Your Creativity, Unmuck Your Mind, and Break Through Your Mental Blocks.

2. Rapid ideation

The goal is to develop as many ideas as quickly as possible. Set a timer for five minutes. Write as many ideas as you can before the timer sounds.

For example, let’s say your established brand needs to come up with marketing for a new line of spa facial products. In rapid ideation, you may come up with a list of ideas like this:

  • Connect with influencers and bloggers
  • Write an article about the benefits of facial care
  • Shoot a how-to-use video
  • Do an event at a shopping mall and distribute samples
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 18 Ideas to Overcome Your Writer’s Block

3. Associative brainstorming

The association technique helps break through your typical thought patterns. There are a few ways to come up with fresh ideas using this approach:

  • Word storm: Start with a couple of words based on your challenge or project. Then, write down words that come to mind. When you’re finished, you can group words according to how they relate to one another.
  • Word association: This is the same as a word storm, except don’t bother grouping the words. Don’t overthink. Ideally, you’re looking for the “hidden” words associated with a topic that do not usually come to mind.
  • Visual association: Instead of looking at starter words for inspiration, look at images related to your topic. What ideas come to mind?

4. Reverse brainstorming

In this exercise, you don’t focus on creative solutions to a problem, you think about how to cause a problem.

Ask, “How could we cause this?” The list of ideas will make it easier to think of ways to solve them.

5. Reverse thinking

With the reverse thinking method, you think about what someone else in your situation would do. Then, imagine doing the opposite. Would that work? Why or why not? Are there better options than what the typical approach offers?

6. Starbursting

Start the starbursting exercise with a six-pointed star. In the middle of the star, write the topic. Then, at each point of the star, write one of the following words:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Use these words to generate questions, such as:

  • Who are our happiest clients?
  • What is it about our product/service that makes them happy?
  • Where do our happiest clients come from?
  • How can we improve to keep those clients happy?
  • What can we do to make more of our customers happy?

7. Change of setting

Do you feel like you come up with your best ideas when you’re in the shower, trying to wind down to sleep for the night, or otherwise away from your desk? That’s likely because of the change of setting.

When you’re struggling to generate ideas, get away from your usual setting. Go outside and take a walk. Work from the local library or coffee shop instead of your office or dining room. Keep a pen and paper handy for all those new ideas you come up with.

Keeping writer’s block at bay

If you’re dealing with writer’s block regularly, set aside some time every day or week for brainstorming. Run through a few of these exercises in a structured manner. You’ll end up with a fresh perspective that allows you to breathe new life into your writing.

All tools mentioned in this article were suggested by the author. If you’d like to suggest a tool, share the article on social media with a comment.


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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute