How to rekindle your creative spark by Kate James


I don’t know about you, but the busier I am, the less creative I am. When I’m working crazy hours with little time to rest, there’s no space in my brain for innovation.

After a recent stretch of long days and not enough down time, my partner and I had a weekend away. One of those quiet weekends down the coast with not much going on other than time to sit on the deck and listen to the birds and to walk along the rocks and look out at the horizon. Time to cook at a leisurely pace and sip a glass of wine rather than throwing it back as a prescription for stress management.

What I discovered after getting home was that those three days invited the flicker of creativity to return. I came back to work feeling as though I’d had a month away and everything that had previously felt insurmountable, now felt like a fresh challenge.

If you can’t get away for a mini-holiday easily (or even better, a three week trip to a destination with no wifi), try the following tips to reignite your creative spark.

Get outside

Leave your phone at home and reconnect with nature for an hour. Walk along the beach, lie under a tree in your local park or better still, spend a weekend in the mountains. Don’t try to think or come up with ideas while you’re away from your desk – just give yourself a mental break.

Watch a TED talk

Try this one from Tim Brown. You might even want to try the Bob McKim 30 circles challenge when you’ve finished watching. It’s not complicated – just take a sheet of paper and draw 30 circles on the page. Turn each circle into a diagram – a sun, a flower, a person or anything you can think of. The idea is to get as many ideas on the page in one minute as you can. For most adults, self-editing is one of the biggest creative blocks we create for ourselves.

Borrow from others

Nothing is really original so if you’re stuck for ideas, jump onto your favourite websites and blogs and seek out inspiration there. Look at paragraph openers, images, article ideas. Does anything create a spark of inspiration?

Move your body

Get up from your desk and do something physical. Practise yoga, go for a walk, clean the house – do anything as long as it gets you moving. Moving your body helps to shift blocked energy, which can help you reconnect with your creative spirit.

Force it

This might seem counterintuitive but some of the best articles I’ve written have been the ones where I started with nothing to say. Grab a pen and paper and push yourself to write or sketch or mind map any idea for at least fifteen minutes. Don’t stop until you have something on the page. Don’t expect this to feel comfortable. It’s the effort that counts not the quality of the output. Just getting started will get your neurons firing and while it feels unpleasant initially, you might be surprised at what you end up with.

Kate James is a coach, mindfulness teacher and the author of ‘Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love’. She works with people who want to develop the self-belief to transition into their own creative startup. Join Kate in Bali in June for her Yoga and Meditation Retreat. More information here.  Kate can be contacted at’



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