How to be more creative.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


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How do you keep the creativity flowing?

If you work in a creative field, then you know how important it is to find ways to spark your creative flow. Every profession these days could use a little creativity if that person or firm wants to prosper and grow. Sometimes to create the life we want we need to be more creative in our homes and leisure as well.

So how do those super creative people do it? No, the answer is not drugs, nor is it working longer hours. More effort put into doing something the routine way will not result in creativity or new approaches. If you need some inspiration to spark that creative fire of yours, here are a few suggestions.

Look for inspiration in new places.

If you keep looking in the same place you keep seeing the same things. Two possible solutions, look in new places or look in the same place with new vision. Travel exposes you to new surroundings and customs. It can give you a fresh perspective.  Visit a place you haven’t been to before or a place you haven’t been to recently.

Consider how someone from another occupation might look at the problem your working on.  Writers are encouraged to read other genres. A designer might look at natural history specimens to find inspiration.  A walk in nature can inspire other ways of looking at things.

If you continue to go to the same places, with the same people, you see the same things. Expose yourself to novelty to see the world with a new set of eyes.

Spend time with creative people.

Creative people in any discipline are on the lookout for new ideas and they are almost always willing to share. Some great ideas for innovation in business came from watching what was going on in other industries.

Artists in one medium can find inspiration by looking at the work of artists in other mediums.  A photograph can be an inspiration for a short story or setting for a novel. Getting out of your comfort zone and having new experiences can free up the mind from the same old way of seeing things and get that novel way of looking at the problem to come into focus.

Ask better questions.

Having a problem with a creative issue? Try asking other questions. How might a biologist approach this question? How would an accountant or lawyer see the creature you are creating? If you are not getting answers to questions requiring creativity ask different questions.

Work the process, put in the hours.

Some creative projects require you to get moving and do something. Writers with so-called “writer’s block” are well advised to write, write anything. That first effort may not even be worth saving but it will get you started working in the direction of the finished result.

Sometimes creativity includes experimenting with things that won’t work until you have eliminated all those possibilities. Approach each new attempt at creativity with the mindset that you will discover all you can in this process.

Take some breaks. Shift gears.

If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over and getting nowhere, try working on another project. Take some short breaks and do something else. While you are washing the dishes or emptying the refrigerator the solution to your who-did-it or how the murder needs to take place may pop into your brain as if by magic.

This taking the break is not an exception to the rule before putting in the hours. Taking short breaks to shift your thoughts is part of the putting in the effort process. Be careful here to avoid things that are just distractions and find ways to get your mind into neutral during these breaks.

Identify the things getting in your way.

Identify roadblocks to creativity. Are there distracting noises? Change locations.  What others things might be impeding your creativity.  Is your work area uncomfortable?  Consider what other supplies or equipment might help you improve your creativity.

Are you lacking the information you need to do the job you’re trying to do?  What other information might be helpful and how will you go about finding it?

Sometimes it’s as simple as your mind is occupied with something else you will need to do at another time.  Plan for when you will do these other activities or consider writing them down and making a list so you can free up space in your brain to get back to the task at hand.

Forget the rules and use what you have.

Rules about how things need to be done get in the way of being creative and inventing a new better way to do or make them.  The overly rigid about how things have to be done, what tools are needed or how to use them can get in the way of creativity.

Try using new tools in new ways.

Often creativity comes from trying out new tools, ones you’ve never seen or used before.  Try to get out of your reaching mindset and use the tool you do have in new or different ways.  Tools and working your tools can be used in a great many ways beyond what we initially think.

Consider what new tools you might want to try or how you might want to use your existing tools in a new way.

Creativity is all about moving outside your comfort zone, seeing things in new ways while being willing to try new options.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at


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