I mentioned in a previous post that providing awesome content doesn’t just help your audience, it’s key to your success. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, creating valuable content for your audience builds trust in you and your brand, and trust leads to sales. However, sometimes you just don’t know what to create! Let’s face it, we all get stuck every now and then. Whether you are writing a blog, creating videos, a podcast, or infographics, sometimes you just don’t know where to start.
This happened to me last weekend. I sat down in front of my computer Sunday morning ready to write my next blog post and just stared at a blank white screen. I had no idea what to write about. So I started checking email, Facebook, Google+, etc. and ended up dorking around for a while, never writing a word. I knew I had to do something to break the spell, so I headed to the gym for a swim. For me, getting away from the computer and going for a run or a swim works wonders. Exercise gets my blood and adrenaline flowing and it opens my mind to possibilities I might not be aware of when I’m just sitting there trying to be creative. For me, creativity doesn’t always happen on cue, sometimes it needs room to blossom.
[Tweet “Creativity doesn’t always happen on cue, sometimes it needs room to blossom”]
At some point during those 40 laps in the pool I had my “aha” moment and the idea for my blog post came to me – If I’m struggling with coming up with something to write about, chances are others are experiencing this too. I should share my ideas for getting unstuck! And so “5 Quick Tips to Help Get Your Creative Juices Flowing” was born.
Here are 5 quick tips to help get your creative juices flowing when you get stuck
Brainstorming is a great way to get ideas out of your head and onto a page. I use Evernote to capture all of my ideas. I use it on my iPhone, iPad, and my computer, so it’s available no matter where I am. Mind mapping is another great way to diagram your ideas, and there are some awesome programs out there like Coggle or XMind that makes this very easy to do. The important thing to remember when brainstorming is to get everything onto the page. No matter how stupid or irrelevant it sounds, just write it all down. You will inevitably uncover something that inspires you to create.
2. Search for ideas
Seeing what others are creating always sparks something in me. I go to Google or Twitter and search for topics I might want to write about to see how others are doing it. I can usually find something that inspires me. I did this on an epic scale recently. I wanted to come up with 50 potential blog post titles, so I sat down and searched through the interwebs for ideas. It took a couple of hours, but I was able to write down 50 ideas for blog posts. Now I have ideas for the rest of this year and beyond!
3. Listen to the pros
I read a lot of books about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I also listen to business and marketing podcasts whenever I am in the car. I get a ton of great ideas from reading or hearing about how others have become successful in their businesses. Whether you like to read, listen while you’re working out, or watch videos on YouTube, the important thing is to find the pros in your field and start paying attention to them. This has been a huge source of inspiration for me in my business.
4. Ask your audience
Want to know the best way to get ideas for creating valuable content that your audience will love? Ask them! I send out an email every now and then asking people what they are struggling with or what they would like to know more about. It’s really as simple as that! One of my most popular posts – How to Get People to Open (and Actually Read) Your Emails came about by just sending an email to my audience asking what I should write about.
5. Step away from the computer
My preferred method for getting the creative juices flowing is to step away from the computer. Go for a walk, take a hike, play with your kids outside, whatever works for you. I go for a run, hit the gym, or swim laps in the pool. This gets me out of my head and focused on something else for a while. I always come up with great ideas while working out and I feel much better about myself in the process. It’s a win-win.
What would you add to this list? What helps get your creative juices flowing? Take a minute and share your thoughts on the subject in the comments. Get involved in the discussion!