Today’s Solutions: June 26, 2022

When the creative part of your brain just can’t come up with new ideas, sometimes it’s effective to try a new approach. With that in mind, here are four exercises that can help you get rid of the creative block in less than 10 minutes.

Shadowing

When you get stuck, think of a creative hero who inspires you. Then, find a sample of their work that you particularly like. Try to recreate its style or structure without copying it.

For instance, if Mark Twain inspires you, take a paragraph or two of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and rewrite them. You follow the same sentence structure and style but use different words and characters. This will give you a feel for how they craft prose.

Alternative uses

Pick an ordinary object, like a stapler or a shoe, and give yourself a time constraint. Five minutes will usually suffice. Then, list as many alternative uses for that item as you can imagine. For a shoe, the list may contain all kinds of wacky ideas like using it for the base of a lamp or as a planter for herbs.

The point is to develop divergent thinking, where you create lots of original ideas rather than seeking a single right answer (i.e., convergent thinking).

The five whys

When faced with a block, ask yourself, “Why?” five times in a row to sniff out the true source of your woes. Give a straight-to-the-point answer the first time and try to build upon that answer after each “Why”. Each time, you will get a little closer to the solution.

Switch up your medium

When you do the same type of creative work over and over, it gets harder to keep your mind fresh. By exercising a different part of your brain with a different medium, your creative block should fade away. For example, if you’re a writer, try drawing some doodles. Just 10 minutes of this could inspire new ideas.

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