The Best Way to Come Up With Creative Ideas is to Stop Trying to Find Them

Creative work requires ideas.

Whether you are a writer, artist, filmmaker, or musician, you know the feeling of getting stuck and lacking ideas to produce good work.

It is frustrating at times. You experience creative block for days, weeks, or months. Every day, you struggle to find the inspiration. You might find an idea and work on it.

But the same cycle repeats.

So, how do you find creative ideas and not drown yourself in frustration?

They appear when you zone out of your regular work and do something else that’s exciting.

It can be any recreational activity like walking in the park, running, exercising, meditating, listening to music, swimming, etc.

When you do these activities instead of thinking intensely about ideas, your mind wanders in different places. It prompts memories and other thoughts. This helps you make connections related to the problem you are trying to solve.

Ryan Holiday’s best writing advice is to go do interesting things instead of trying to identify yourself as a writer. When you do something that excites you, you have stories and experiences to share. You can reflect them in your writing and have something to say.

Benjamin Hardy says in his book 10x Is Easier Than 2x,

“Your best and most innovative ideas will occur while you’re unplugged from the busyness of work and able to really expand and contract your thinking — going hyper-micro and hyper-macro — expanding the vision, coming up with new ideas, etc.”

As a creator or entrepreneur, you need something called Recovery Time. Bill Gates often takes Think Weeks, where he disconnects from the outside world and focuses on reading, thinking, analyzing, and visualizing. He physically moves out and spends a week alone. It’s one of the reasons he has succeeded in so many aspects of his life and business.

You don’t need to do what Bill does. Instead, you can take a day off and do something unrelated to your work.

You can also go on a short vacation with your family and enjoy your time disconnecting from work.

If you can’t take a day off, disconnect for a few hours and do other activities like exercise, running, walking in nature, or catching up with an old friend.

Put yourself in a new situation — something different than your regular ones. This might feel uncomfortable. You might not want to do it. But you need to push yourself and embrace discomfort.

Many brilliant ideas have appeared when people weren’t thinking of them. Several historical examples are there to prove it.

These ideas came through real-life experiences.

Entrepreneurs don’t find business ideas by sitting at their desks and thinking about them. Instead, they go into the real world and identify problems (usually through their experience or that of others).

Refrain from trying to find creative ideas.

Stop trying hard to find them. Instead, go out and live your life. Do things that excite you.

I’ve experienced it several times when trying to find writing ideas. Whenever I sit and think of topics for my articles, I fail to come up with anything good. I’ve gone from days to weeks because I had nothing to write about.

Surprisingly, the ideas for my best-performing articles came when I was:

  • Meditating
  • Talking with my friends
  • Reading books and articles
  • Watching videos online
  • Journaling

Stop trying to find ideas and start doing more exciting things. Ideas come when you least expect them.

Honestly, you don’t even have to think of doing something exciting. Instead, zone out from your work for a while. You can do it any way you like. Don’t do things that are related to your work.

Make it a habit to zone out at least once a week. Do it daily if you like. It can be as little as 30 minutes. Take this time to do something you enjoy that doesn’t involve work.

Try this for a few days and see how ideas flow naturally.