6 Things I Do to Stay Creative

staying creative
Photo by Frederic della Faille

This post was written by Glen Allsop of PluginID.

Whether it was starting my first business or writing reports for clients, there have been a number of times when I need to get my creative juices flowing. Even today, in a situation where I work from home and get to work on my own projects, creativity is required in the majority of my projects.

Some of these tasks include:

  • Designing new websites (requiring a unique, fresh look)
  • Writing blog posts for myself and others
  • Coming up with ways to streamline my daily tasks

…and many more. I’m sure that if you look into your own daily schedule you’ll find a lot of areas where creativity is a necessity, rather than simply ‘a nice addition’. With that in mind, I want to share the 6 things I do that help me to stay creative, and hopefully they can help you in your daily life.

1. Find Inner Peace Before Starting Tasks

While I do try to be at peace and free of negative thoughts most of the time, on occasion I can get run down with incessant mind activity. If you can relate to feeling angry, frustrated or stressed at times, then you need to realise that being in this mode is not the best place to come from when you want to work on creative projects.

Instead, I use a number of techniques that help me relax, whether it be meditation, taking in my surroundings or simply focusing on my breathing. Anything that helps me get into a calm mood. From here, with an empty mind, I find it much easier to produce some creative output.

2. Be Willing to Explore New Ideas

If you ever get too stuck in a mindset that your way is the only way and you know everything about a topic that you need to know, then you could be missing out on some purely genius information. Even though I might have a good idea of how I think websites should look or even blog posts should be formatted, I’m always willing to explore new ideas.

If you stay fixed and isolated in one area of your life it can easily cross over into your more creative pursuits. This doesn’t mean you have to accept or agree with everything you see / read, but at least give new perspectives a chance before dismissing them.

3. Always Take Notes

Since I started taking a lot of notes in my daily life around eight months ago, I honestly have no idea how I lived without them in the past. Whether you are an artist, a writer, an engineer or anything that allows you to use your imagination at times, be ready to take notes whenever necessary.

I tend to read informative books rather than ones based on fantasy or science fiction, and always keep a small notepad with me to write down some real gems I get from the content. Similarly, if I’m out and about and something comes to mind, I’ll keep notes in my phone and then upload them to Google Docs later in the day.

These simple but useful notes have helped me massively when it comes to the likes of article ideas, design inspiration and more.

4. Outline a Core Structure for All Projects

I’m sure this is a case by case example, but for the life of me I can rarely sit down and write well structured content that just…flows. Whether I’m designing a new logo, an entire website or even just organising my finances, I keep a structure of what I want to stick to and then flesh out ideas from there.

Even for this blog post, on a piece of paper I wrote down the title and my six main points first. Only then did I open up a text editor and start turning the points into paragraphs. Not only does this help you stick to your goals, but I find having a structure first of all can greatly increase efficiency for any project I undertake.

5. Follow Other Creative People

This is by no means in order to steal pieces of their inspiration, but you could see it as stealing some of their workflow. I love seeing how people in my industry plan their work days and I can see certain bloggers’ posts on the topic tend to be some of their most popular.

If there are people you look up to in your niche, see if you can find out how they structure their days, where they get their inspiration from and what makes them ‘tick’. If they’re well known it’s likely someone has done an interview with them and asked them questions like this.

Then again, I guess if you’re reading LifeDev you’re already putting this tip into action ;).

6. Tidy Loose Ends Later

This especially applies to writing, but this tip can be used in many other creative outlets as well. I find that I work the best if I stick to a core structure, but then just let my imagination flow, not worrying about spelling mistakes or slight imperfections in design.

I believe that if you spent all the time you are trying to be creative, also being logical and fixing up mistakes, it not only leads to less inspiring results but it is a much slower process. Let your mind wander, see what you come up with, and tidy the loose ends when you are finished.

Those are my 6 tips! I would love to hear some of yours in the comments…

Glen Allsopp writes for PluginID on the subject of Personal Development. The site was created when he started to wake up to his own potential and wanted to be able to help others do the same.

Leave a Comment

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • fotbollströjor April 1, 2017, 10:54 pm

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  • fred_dela July 23, 2009, 11:16 am

    Thanks for using my photo for illustrating your really useful article.

    PS: Next time, please send an email to the photographer, so much better than discovering it while doing a random trekking on blogs.

    • fdfgtg February 10, 2011, 8:12 pm

      At least he gave you credit.

  • fred_dela July 23, 2009, 7:16 am

    Thanks for using my photo for illustrating your really useful article.

    PS: Next time, please send an email to the photographer, so much better than discovering it while doing a random trekking on blogs.

  • CrisTina May 25, 2009, 1:22 pm

    I love this list. it's what I used to do…
    Now I need a list of 'how to put my ideas in practice'.
    Thanks a lot.

  • Alex - Unleash Reality May 22, 2009, 10:30 am

    wow another glen guest post!!

    go team glen!!

    glen's a good friend of mine so awesome to see him getting up and owning the net :)

    i really like number 5 – i've always been big on finding mentors and people to look up to and emulate until you catch onto the mentality that works for them and make it your own – like with R in particular, learnt so much.

    …and number 3 is Huuuuge aswell. you've seen my notebook – single line annecdotes in a word document almost 50 pages long – 50 pages of single line notes. keep them in my phone and dump them every week. so helpful especially in terms of building a site because content ideas don't hit you when you're sitting in front of a blank document, they hit you while you're out living – and cool annecdotes and things that have happened. so powerful.

    great stuff man. and really cool choice of topic

  • axel g May 21, 2009, 1:13 am

    I find taking notes a wonderful way of collecting ideas for rainy days.

    Nice list!

  • ralphjp May 18, 2009, 9:11 pm

    Feedback! The misconception is that creative people like writers, musicians, and artist are recluse geniuses who create masterpieces in solitude. Although isolation can help creativity, collaboration, input, and feedback are all great ways to increase your creativity.

  • Anelly May 18, 2009, 4:06 am

    Rain makes me creative and lonliness. I must have my space and my time if i want to create someting.

  • LisaNewton May 16, 2009, 12:46 am

    I do all of this………….:)

    Thanks for the confirmation

  • Gino Cosme May 15, 2009, 1:23 pm

    Great list. One of the things I find most useful is to page through creative images and pages of inspiring books and regularly visit creatively-inspired websites – and then switch off. When I'm least expecting it, new ideas surface. It's amazing what fresh air and letting your mind work through its own creative juices can result it!

  • Steve | Bape May 15, 2009, 8:07 am

    Those tips are as precious for creativity as life instead of death. I think this is the toughest thing to do on this planet(i.e to be creative) and this is not business of everyone.

  • Glen Allsopp May 14, 2009, 11:45 am

    Thanks for the opportunity Glen, I hope readers enjoy the post!