40 Ways to Stay Creative (2020 UPDATED)

Update March 2020: We are aware that some of these things may not be possible with the ever increasing lockdowns due to the Corona Virus

However, hopefully some of them can be used so that you can maintain your mental health and sanity during this crisis. Be safe, and stay creative.

How the heck do I stay Creative?

It happens to the best of designers, all is going well until you reach that plateau, or that mental block where you cease to produce any creativity (For example as a freelance designer you can’t choose the best font for your project!) and think all is lost.

Sometimes all It takes is a simple bit of inspiration and motivation to bring back the innovative ideas you once had inside your head!

This is a guide for people who need a bit of inspiration. In the form of a tasty infographic, we have come up with 40 Ways to Stay Creative

If you’re ever lacking in the creative department, you can always refer to this post or even purchase the poster (links are below and above the infographic on Etsy) in your studio or office so that you will never suffer from the dreaded creative block ever again.

Below is our Guide on How to Stay Creative (40 Ways/Techniques in Total!):


Create an Inspiration Board

create-an-inspiration-board

This is probably one of the easiest ways to remain creative in your craft. If you’re lacking in creativity then simply print off some of your favourite things and stick them on an inspiration board.

It may seem simple, but this can help spark that extra creativity that you need. Alternatively you can print off photos of people in your niche, or techniques / products, and pin them to your inspiration board.

Get out more

get-out-more

As of March 2020: this sounds rather ironic, but you still need to go out, despite the Corona Virus, this may simply mean a walk in your garden to de-stress from everything going on at the moment, or even a short bike ride, making sure to social distance.

However, stick to your country’s guidelines during this process, if you are on complete lockdown then just do the things in this article that are indoors, or at the very most stick to your garden.

Getting out of the house is a sure-fire way to increase your productivity, sometimes when you’re glued to the computer for too long it can be mentally exhausting.

Best Things to Do:

We recommend going for a walk in good old nature if you can, this is a fantastic way to reset yourself for when you next sit your bum back down in front of the computer, and walking outside in nature is actually fantastic for your mental health too.

Sketch more

sketch-more

Sketching is a great way to stay creative, whether its sketching your family pet, or even a typographic piece of your goals & aspirations, sketching is almost guaranteed to increase your creativity. Give it a go! ๐Ÿ˜€

If you’re into digital sketching, you may wish to purchase a standalone graphics tablet, which will allow you to easily delete your mistakes as you’re practising sketching techniques and theory. For more on digital sketching, check out our guide on the best drawing tablets for digital art.

Experiment!

how-to-stay-creative---experiment

Ok, so what do we mean by experiment?

In essence, try something completely new! If you’re an artist, singer, musician etc, then try something different to what you’d normally do.

Instead of sticking to your normal style, throw something different into the mix, and see if it helps your creativity, we think it most certainly will!

Socialize!

how to stay creative

Ok, so as of March 2020, we are currently in the Corona Virus Crisis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t socialise..

We live in a world of amazing technology at our disposal, and you should really be utilising it to speak with your family, friends and colleagues (if freelancing for example).

Of course, once the Corona Virus Crisis is over, you should ideally be socialising as much as possible, going to meet ups with like-minded people, events that your company puts on for you, and as mentioned, spending time with your loved ones!

Staying creative doesn’t need to be complicated, you can get your inspiration simply from talking to your best friend or getting advice from a family member. Do it!

Keep up with Trends

keep-up-with-trends

If you’re not keeping up with the latest trends in your area of work, then this one is definitely likely to inspire you!

In fields like Web Design and Graphic Design, trends are always changing, whether it’s a new javascript library or art style, sometimes its hard to keep up!

Learn a new skill!

A great way to learn new skills & techniques is courses, check out our recent article on The Best Udemy Graphic Design Courses

Not everybody knows everything, and theres always room to expand your skillset and learn some new techniques to improve your craft.

best-udemy-graphic-design-courses

Popular sites include ones like Skillshare and Udemy, so go check them out!

Read Books

read-books

Books…A source of inspiration for decades!

Whether you’re looking for ways to stay creative, or simply want to get lost in a fantasy novel and escape from reality a bit, reading a good ole’ book is the perfect choice.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.โ€ โ€“ George R.R. Martin

Use Sticky Notes

use-sticky-notes

Sticky notes are a fantastic resource when thinking about how to stay creative. A simple pack of sticky notes can keep you inspired until you finish the pack!

Not only are sticky notes great for staying creative, but also they’re fantastic for keeping or “Sticking” to goals / targets that you have set out. OR if you’re anything like me and have a poor memory, then sticky notes are invaluable for remembering key dates and appointments!

Break your Routine!

break-your-routine

Some people are sticklers for routine and never break it, now…we’re not saying that’s a bad thing, but every now and again, it could be well worth your time to break that routine and switch things up.

Just like when you go to the Gym, switching up your routine can pay dividends in the long-run.

For example, if you normally work 8am to 6pm, wake up slightly earlier and start at 6am, finish at 3am and then go for a walk or workout, you may find that when you return to work the next day, you’re more energized or inspired.

Be around creative people!

be-around-creative-people

Ok, first you need to identify where you can find aforementioned “creative people”, there are many places to find them!

If you’re a Graphic Designer then look no further than Behance and Dribble, oh and don’t forget the old classic Deviantart!

These places are brilliant resources if you’re thinking about ways how to stay creative.

If the Design Industry isn’t your niche then simply head over to Pinterest or Instagram, and search for hashtags in your desired area, and have a quick scroll to see if there is something that catches your eye and sparks a bit of creativity!

Spy on the competition

spy-on-the-competition

This sounds a bit sinister, but you should take this more like “Take a look at your competitors and see what they’re doing differently / better than yourself.”

Sometimes taking a look around you in a business sense can pay dividends. Nobody is perfect and can do everything themselves, maybe there’s someone out there who’s already done what you’re thinking of doing, but perhaps you can do better? Who knows..

Visit Exhibitions

visit-exhibitions

Visiting an exhibition could be the perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge or speak to someone in the same industry as you who may end up inspiring you to do something new and exciting!

As I’m typing this, i’m realising that a lot of the points in this article pertain to expanding your knowledge & skills, and it really is at the core of keeping yourself creative and innovative. Be consistently expanding your skillsets in all areas of life.

Collaborate with others

collaborate-with-others

Collaborating is an extremely useful way to keep your inspiration and creativity at the best it can be.

When you collaborate, you combine ideas and strategies, and ultimately two heads are better than one! Maybe your own creativity is lacking but once you throw together a few like-minded people, the sky is the limit!

Travel

travel

Corona Hack: If you can’t travel, go on youtube and watch some 4K Street Tours of places you’ve never been but always wanted to go, then when the Corona crisis stops, go there!

Is there anyone that can travel to the Beaches of Thailand and not come back just a little bit more inspired?

Travel is one of those beautiful things in life, when you see new cultures, new lands & experiences new foods and customs, you instantly expand your mindset and become a more well rounded person (sorry if that sounds cliche but its true!)

Now..if you don’t have the luxury of jetting off to Thailand or some luxurious Caribbean island, can you still travel and be inspired? Absolutely.

Wherever you’re from, all you need to do is expand a little bit, if you’re in the UK for example and you’ve never been to Scotland, then jump in your dam car and get chowing-down on some Haggis!

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. โ€“ Saint Augustine

Get a new Hobby

get-a-new-hobby

Getting a new hobby can be the catalyst for endless amounts of creativity, all you need is the patience and the dedication to pursue such a thing.

A new hobby can be refreshing for your mind, and if you’ve been stuck in a bit of a creative rut recently then you may need to think about picking up a new craft. Start Salsa Dancing, go to Life-Drawing classes, or you could just try something similar to your niche. For example if you’re a graphic designer then try photography!

Challenge Yourself

challenge-yourself

You should be challenging yourself on a daily or weekly basis if you can, to help spark creativity. If you’re looking for ways how to stay creative, then what you need to do is throw something into the mix than will ultimately challenge you like nothing before.

Later on in life, I discovered that in order for me to be successful, I had to have a challenge. I can’t do a nine to five job. – Wilma Rudolph

It sounds extreme, but climb a mountain! There are many companies out there today that offer training and packages where you’ll climb Mount Kilimanjaro together as part as a team, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

However, you don’t need to always push things to the limit like this, you could simply try and beat your best Gym Cardio Times, or try to beat your old half marathon time! Just be constantly striving and reaching to achieve more, and the creativity will come.

Make Lists

make-lists

Making a list is a fantastic way to structure the mess of ideas in your head into some sort of actionable plan or outline.

List building is certainly one of the best ways to keep yourself creative in the long run, whenever you have a decent idea, make a list!

Meditate

meditate

Meditation is a tried and tested technique that is almost guaranteed to boost your creativity in some regard.

When you meditate you essentially “de-clutter” your brain from all the chaos going on inside, and you can focus on the tasks that you need to accomplish.

Some good apps to download if you’re thinking of getting into meditation are Calm and Headspace.

Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight.โ€“ Ajahn Brahm

Get feedback from Peers

feedback-from-peers

How do you know if you’re going in the right direction unless you occasionally get feedback on your work from like minded people?

This is essential for growth in your area of work, and of course for creativity.

Does this mean you need feedback from everyone and everybody? No! Absolutely not, what we mean here is get feedback from the people that matter, fellow designers, and people in your team that are working towards the same goal.

Listen to Music

listen-to-music

When thinking of how to stay creative, listening to music has to be one of the easiest methods.

Classical music has been proven to increase productivity and imaginative thinking, but simply pick a relaxed playlist and get cracking on your craft of choice; there will surely be some creative results!

Watch Films

watch-films

Similar to the above point, watching a good ole’ film is a bloomin’ brilliant way to get inspired.

Netflix is an absolute goldmine of creativity, and if you can find something relevant to your niche, maybe watch a documentary and you may stumble across something that pertains to your own skillset!

Everything I learned I learned from the movies. โ€• Audrey Hepburn

Take Risks

take-risks

How else can you expand your horizons if you don’t take a risk every now and again?

When you restrict yourself to the same mindset you always have, or what society deems it to be, you do not leave room for growth; and it’s essential that at some point in your life, you ignore the rules and take a few risks.

They say love is the source of a lot of inspiration for the old poets & philosophers, so if you’re reading this and you’re single, then next time you see that guy/girl in the coffee shop you always go to, maybe while you’re waiting in the queue go and say hi, you never know what will become of it!

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. โ€• Helen Keller

Write stuff down

write-stuff-down

This is slightly different to some of the points we’ve already mentioned above ^ Writing stuff down doesn’t need to mean writing specific lists, it just means that whenever you encounter a bright idea, write it down!

It doesn’t matter where you are, grab a piece of paper, a pencil or pen and write down that potentially killer idea!

Declutter your workspace

declutter-your-workspace

Its often said in the world of graphic design that a decluttered workspace leads to a decluttered thought process, aka: More creativity! And it makes sense, especially considering the Meditation example we gave above ^

In essence, we’re talking about minimalism, and the ability to life live with slightly less “clutter”.

So how does decluttering make you more creative?

Well the brain, while amazing, has a tendency to get distracted often throughout the day, and when you remove aforementioned “distractions” from your workspace, you kind of let your brain know that there’s a task at hand (aka: the computer) that needs your full attention, and not one of the 20 gadgets or gizmos you have lying around on your desk!

Love what you do

love-what-you-do---how-to-stay-creative

This one kind of goes without saying! Love what you do and the rest will fall into place!

When you love the work you do, you are less stressed, more relaxed and the ideas come more naturally when you’re having fun. So follow what you love to do in life, and you’ll thank yourself in the long run!

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

Finish Projects!

finish-projects

If you’re anything like me, then you’re the person that starts a million and one projects, but hardly finishes them! This isn’t always a bad thing as just the act of starting new projects can spark creativity, but ideally you want to be completing your projects and moving on to the next one!

This sets a pattern for your brain of intense focus, working on the task at had until its complete, then focusing on the next one, as opposed to thinking about all the projects you are currently distracted with.

Visit Museums & Galleries

visit-museums-and-galleries

Corona Hack: Most likely during this crisis Museums will be closed, so head to Youtube and search for a Walking Tour of your favourite museum.

If you’re anywhere near a major city, you should really be heading to one of your local museums to stay inspired! Especially if you’re from places like Paris, London, Barcelona or any of the top 10 museums in the world.

Why does this work so amazingly for staying creative? Well these places have some of the greatest artwork in the entire world, from artists like Picasso, Renoir, DaVinci, Michelangelo and wayyy more!

They also tend to be quite relaxed places, so what you should do is just take a leisurely stroll around your local museum, and let the inspiration come!

Keep a Dream Diary

keep-a-dream-diary

Keeping dream diaries are an effective way to jot down crazy or surreal things that have happened in your dreams that may be useful for creative inspiration, whether its for artwork, a sculpture you’re doing, or music you’re composing!

What’s key to remember here is that you typically only remember dreams right away when you wake up after REM Sleep, so keep a notepad next to your bed, and then when you wake up, boom! Note down that crazy dream! ๐Ÿ˜€

When you stop having dreams and ideals – well, you might as well stop altogether. – Marian Anderson

Have Sex!

have-sex

Ok so this is definitely the naughtiest item we have on this list! We don’t want to degrade the quality of the article, but there is plenty of research to suggest that doing the nasty can actually result in huge increases in neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, with plenty of famous people in the past coming up with fantastic ideas post-coitus!

Is it guaranteed to make you creative?

Well, it depends on the position! (joke!) – It’s probably not guaranteed, but its worth noting that many sources of inspiration come from love, and if you’re with someone you love then there is no limit to how inspired you can potentially be.

The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead.- Marilyn Monroe

Take Naps

take-naps

Taking regular naps, or at the very least getting a good nights sleep is a sure-fire way on how to stay creative. Just make sure that the nap doesn’t turn into 4 hours with you then waking up like a zombie!

With everybody leading such stressful lives at the moment, it’s worth taking a little time out of your day, even just to grab 15-20 minutes of micro sleep, which in theory should leave you refreshed and ready to take on the world.

People who are more stressed typically have poor levels of sleep or at the very least infrequent sleeping patterns, so by making sure you get good quality sleep, you’re one step ahead of everybody in the creativity game!

Watch motivational speeches

motivational-speeches

Watching motivational speeches is a brilliant way to stay creative, because they conjure up inspiration in the heart of the viewer.

There are so many speeches on youtube, but as a safe bet, search for some speeches by people like Alan Watts and you wont be disappointed, this guy has been the source of thousands of motivational videos on the youtube platform.

Go to the theatre

go-to-the-theatre

At the time of writing this, we are of course going through the Corona Virus Crisis, but when this all blows over (fingers crossed), going to the theatre can be an incredible source of creativity.

Plays are often written by stupidly creative people, and some of this is bound to rub off on you if you plonk your bottom in a theatre and watch all of the amazing plays they have to offer.

If in doubt, read Shakespeare!

All the worldโ€™s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts. โ€“William Shakespeare

Practice!

practice

Practicing your craft is essential for growth, and you should always be practicing in order to get better at what you do. As the famous quote goes:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Eat Different Cuisine

eat-different-cuisine-how-to-stay-creative

Corona Hack: If you cannot go to restaurants, then simply use Hellofresh or a similar service to get different cuisine delivered straight to your door!

The beauty of travelling like we mentioned earlier is that you get to sample different cuisine, but even if you don’t travel that much, you can still try different cuisine at home.

Once a week, if you can afford it of course, try going to a different restaurant with your significant other. Then the following week or month, try making a similar dish at home with store-bought ingredients.

If in doubt, simply go to an Italian restaurant, they are such charismatic people, and you’re bound to come away inspired by the atmosphere.

Stop comparing yourself to others

stop-comparing-yourself-how-to-stay-creative

So the problem with constantly comparing yourself to others is that you will never fully be creative. If you’re always comparing your work to other people in your industry then you’ll most likely end up copying them in some way in the future, unintentionally.

The best way to stay creative is literally to drop the instagram feeds, stop looking at Facebook so much and just do what you love to do, the creativity will naturally come.

Question Things!

question-things

Questioning things in all aspects of life is something we should do a lot more, however it pays dividends with creative crafts such as graphic design & web design.

With web design and programming, the best developers are always questioning things, can i simplify this function, does that method have to be executed in X Y Z fashion, how can i optimise things?

Always question things and think of different ways to achieve the same goal, this is how to stay creative and make progress in your chosen craft.

Turn off Distractions

turn-off-distractions

This isn’t even a difficult one to achieve, yet in our modern day world we struggle so hard with this!

TURN OFF YOUR DAM PHONE!

Sure, scrolling aimlessly through instagram can be inspiration in itself sometimes, but your brain just isn’t as engaged as you think it is when you’re doing these things.

Turning off your devices and taking time to sketch, walk in nature, or do the things we’ve talked about in this article can pay dividends for your levels of creativity. You don’t need to be glued to your screen all the time, take a step back and try to go device-free to boost those levels of inspiration.

Let go of Fear

let-go-of-fear

If you’re constantly worrying about things or afraid to expand your horizons, then you wont go far in life, it’s simple.

Letting go of your fears can allow you to tap into reserves of creativity that you never thought existed! So next time you’re scared, just think about how you’re going to reflect on life in 50 years time, and the things you wish you’d done, and then simply act in the moment! Go and book that holiday, or that skydive!

Be Curious

be-curious

This final point kind of links in to letting go of fear, but yeah…always be curious.

Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what’s on the other side?
โ€• George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Curiosity can lead to many adventures, many unseen things and without it, you’re always going to be on the same path, never branching far away from amazing opportunities that could be just around the corner! So be more curious!

How to Stay Creative – Conclusion

There we have it! 40 ways how to stay creative in this crazy world we live in at the moment!

I hope this can be a useful resource to you in the current climate, and that you can use this list to create something wonderful!

Purchase Poster on Redbubble

40 Ways to Stay Creative

  1. Create an inspiration Board
  2. Get out more!
  3. Sketch More
  4. Experiment!
  5. Socialise
  6. Keep up with trends
  7. Learn a new skill!
  8. Read Books!
  9. Use Sticky notes
  10. Break your routine!
  11. Be around creative people!
  12. Spy on the competition
  13. Visit Exhibitions
  14. Collaborate with others
  15. Travel!
  16. Get a new hobby
  17. Challenge yourself!
  18. Make lists!.
  19. Meditate
  20. Get feedback from peers
  21. Listen to music
  22. Watch films
  23. Take risks!
  24. Write stuff down
  25. Declutter your workspace
  26. Love what you do
  27. Finish projects!
  28. Visit museums and galleries
  29. Keep a dream diary
  30. Have sex!
  31. Take naps
  32. Watch motivational speeches
  33. Go to the theatre
  34. Practice!
  35. Eat different cuisine
  36. Stop comparing yourself to others
  37. Question things!
  38. Turn off distractions
  39. Let go of fear
  40. Be curious

Without further delay, we present to you, 40 Ways How to Stay Creative – An infographic by Layerform.com.

Purchase Poster on Redbubble

ways to stay creative

ways to stay creative

ways to stay creative

ways to stay creative

Purchase Poster on Redbubble

We hope you enjoyed this list on how to stay creative, it’s not easy for us creative types! So stay positive, and keep on creating amazing content!

Leave a Reply

Best Graphic Design Courses for 2020