Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How to be massively more creative

Today, I’m going to share an idea with you, which I found amazingly valuable. It can help you become massively more creative, improve your problem solving skills and make you far more productive too.

inspiration, creativity

I’d like to start, by asking you a few quick questions.

  • Where do you tend to be, when you have your best ideas?
  • What activities are you doing, when you get your best ideas?
  • What time of the day or night, do your best ideas come?

You don’t wait for inspiration – you command it

If you take some time to think about your answers, it’s possible that, like me, you will spot some common factors that cause you to be at your creative best. By utilising these factors so they are working for you, it’s easier for you to get into a creative mindset. The alternative is to wait for inspiration, but that’s a very risky, unnecessary approach for business owners, who constantly need to solve problems or write for their blogs or newsletters.

The following quote sums up the professional approach to creative inspiration:

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 every morning.” Peter De Vries.

Deliberately summoning inspiration

Here’s how I summon inspiration, followed by an example from a copywriter.

Whilst I can get a useful idea at any time, I tend to be most creative in the mornings and usually when I am walking around the village where I live. So, if I have a particularly challenging problem (or puzzle) to solve, I grab a voice recorder and get walking. This gives me the best opportunity of finding the answer I need, exactly when I need it. It places me in an inspiring location, doing an inspirational activity at my most inspired time of day.

I remember talking about this to a friend of mine, who is a copywriter. I asked her those questions and she replied that she tended to get their best ideas, when enjoying a break from her office in a local coffee shop. I suggested that the next time she was feeling unproductive, she should take her notebook with her to the local coffee shop and start writing. She called me a few weeks later, to say that she has never been so productive. By deliberately putting herself into a ‘space’ where she felt creative, she had found a way to eliminate writer’s block. Now, when she get stuck with a challenge, she takes it to the coffee shop.

Your inspired recipe

There are 3 things you need to be mindful of, when developing and implementing your recipe for inspiration.

  1. There is no right or wrong. We are all different and as a result, you may find yourself more creative at 8pm than 8am. You may find that you feel most creative after going to the gym, going for a drive, tap dancing, skating, playing a musical instrument or flying a kite. Don’t rule something out. If it works for you, it works.
  2. You need to start off, expecting it to work. Go into the process fully expecting to feel inspired, then relax and see what comes into your mind.
  3. Record your inspired ideas. Make sure that you have either a smart phone, digital recorder or notebook with you. Then, as the ideas come, get them out of your head and save them. This helps you become even more creative, because you have the freedom to think freely – rather than have one idea then have to try and remember it until you back to the office.

When I used to wait for inspiration

I wasted years, assuming that inspiration was something that happened randomly. In the late 1990’s I started a marketing newsletter, which I published 3 times a month. It was an enormous struggle for me to dig deep and come up with something for my readers 36 times a year. Today, I often write 30 posts or articles a month across my 4 sites, thanks to learning and then practising what I have just shared with you.

I hope you find this idea as useful as I did. If you do, remember to share it with your friends using the buttons below.

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  1. I often find that a change of environment helps to spark creativity – so a stroll out works for me. And, although I spend a lot of time writing copy, my ideas often come from something visual – I take my camera out when walking and photograph all sorts of things. I try to capture the ideas away from the desk and that means I can focus on finding the right words when at the computer.

  2. Happy New Year and Great Post Jim. Taking a break is something I have found to be helpful. It seems like some tips I have heard over the years for helping with writer’s block also seem to help with increasing creativity in general not just overcoming writer’s block. I like the idea of recording my ideas. I have so many different ideas in my head that it can be hard to get them sorted out and jotting them down helps me tremendously.

    • Happy New Year to you too, David.

      Recording your ideas as soon as they come is powerful. It lets you then focus on fleshing the ideas out OR on the next idea.

      Thanks for the feedback, sir.

  3. Some solid advice here Jim, thanks for sharing. There are two resources I think you’d really like: the first is “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, a great look into how she commands creativity whenever she needs it most. The other is an app I created for the iPhone called Oflow, it’s full of more than 100 ways to feel inspired whenever you want. Both worth checking out.

    • Thanks Tanner. I’m not an iPhone user but I know many of my readers are. Do they just search for ‘Oflow’ in iTunes or do you have a link? You’re welcome to share it here.

  4. Like lots of exercise routines, walking is a good way of clearing clutter from your mind. Your body become busy focusing on the ‘not tripping over’ procedure (harder for some of us) that your mind gets a chance to wander and mull over your goals. If I can’t get out (sometimes they won’t let me), I’ll have a five minute meditation, just keeping myself busy focusing on breathing and relaxing muscles has the same affect, after a few minutes I can approach the puzzle with a clear mind. Good point you made about recording your thoughts… clear minds don’t last long.

  5. Wonderful article, thanks for sharing it with us, at least it makes us think, what part of our day, can we be more creative, guess what, a few months ago, i learn this from myself. I usually get blocked when i need to write something, but one day, i decided to take my notebook with me, while i´m at the beach with my dog, the images the letters start to fly on my mind, that i can´t write them all, eh eh eh, nowadays when i need to write something i walk to near the ocean, and let it flow.

  6. For me peace and quiet are essential if I am to get creative. I need time to myself to reflect and ponder, that is when my creative juices begin to flow.

  7. I’ve really got to get running again. When I was younger, I used to run about 60-80 miles a week in training for marathons and ultra marathons. It was at this time that I was at my creative best. Got to get back to that and pronto.

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