brainstorming2When you’re a creative, there are times when you sit down to draw, write, design or whatever you do, and you just can’t think of a single thing. Like slamming into a creative brick wall with nowhere to go. This constantly happens to people who are expected to repeatedly push out fresh ideas.
For me it’s called writer’s block. Sometimes I sit down to write a blog post and I feel like I may as well smash my face into my desk repeatedly until an idea pops out. It’s annoying. But I know that our office isn’t the only one that has this problem. Imagine architects who are planning on designing a unique house that a buyer wants. What happens when they get creative block?

Tips and Tricks for Brainstorming

Everyone is different, so brainstorming tricks can vary from person to person. I asked around the office and found a plethora of different ideas.

Do something TOTALLY off topic.

  • Listen to music
    • Break out your headphones and go into your own little world. For Monica, Stacy and me, it’s country music. Tim and Tyler listen to rock and punk. And Jeff is a lone wolf and listens to hip-hop.
  • Take a walk
    • Go outside and get some fresh air. You’d be amazed at how refreshing it is after being stuck in one spot, mentally and physically. We usually take a stroll around the block downtown to let our brains relax.
  • Play
    • Yes, play. Grab your pencil and doodle. Throw a ball or play catch. Really, the possibilities are endless here. Monica made homemade play-doh for our office, which gets used quite regularly.
  • Take a shower
    • Of course you can’t do this at the office. But after a long day of brainstorming, and you still haven’t found the perfect creative idea, take a shower and let your thoughts explore. Tim admits that he usually has his creative breakthroughs while in the shower.
  • Run
    • Jeff suggests going out on a run. He will sometimes take a run after work around downtown and through campus. Other people may enjoy running on wooded paths. And if you’re like me, you think these people are crazy for running for fun, but who are we to judge?
  • Eat a snack
    • Personally, I can’t think when I’m hungry. I always have snacks on hand while in the office so I can function mentally. And I believe snacks should just be an everyday essential anyways, brainstorming or not.

Or you can actually focus on what you’re working on.

  • Read blogs
    • Whatever topic you’re working on, whether it’s writing, design, architecture or bathroom remodeling, most likely has a blog about it. Go read creative blogs to get new ideas and see how others might do what you’re trying to do.
  • Collaborate with coworkers
    • This is used in our office regularly. If you’re stuck on something, ask a coworker what they think about your idea. Or if you don’t even have an idea, maybe a coworker can help you come up with one. Teamwork makes the dream work!
  • List out your ideas
    • When Tyler is brainstorming, he writes down every idea that comes to mind. It could be the worst idea he’s ever had, but he still writes it down on his list. Once he gets to about 10 or 15, he begins to cross out the bad ideas, or the ones he knows won’t work. The ones that remain he sketches out and eventually his favorite will begin to become evident.
  • Fall back on your process
    • As a young creative you have to learn how to get your creative out.  The process for many projects can be the same steps.  (1) review project goals  (2) list out the must haves for the project (3) find inspiration and document (4) get to work!  Sometimes creative block happens because you haven’t spent enough time in the planning phases.  It’s like trying to run a sprint without warming up first.

In the end, it’s up to you.

If you can find a way to brainstorm that works for you, stick with it. Don’t be afraid to do something unordinary while brainstorming, because I’m sure you’ll get extraordinary results. If you haven’t found your way to brainstorm, try to experiment with some of the ones I mentioned. And if those don’t work, keep trying new things. Possibilities are endless for your creativity, so you shouldn’t let a blocked brain get in the way of that!

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