Creative

5 Ways to Generate Inspiration On-Demand: How to Cultivate Your Creative Cave

BY Alicia Castro

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Need to crank out some mouse-clicking, OMG-that’s-amazing content on a deadline that’s approaching wayyy faster than you’d like?

Or ever feel like you’re wasting too much time staring at your computer screen, praying a magical genie will bless your fingertips with some linguistic inspiration…only to come face to face with a blank page hours later?

Or maybe Mercury’s in retrograde (again) and you are just not in the mood to write or design.

Well, your battle with inspiration has finally come to an end. Keep scrolling to find out all about a new process you can use to get inspired on the spot  – no praying to the gods of creativity required.

Cultivating Your Creative Cave

First things first: In order to build your own creative den and summon your inspiration-granting fairy godmother without fail, there are 5 things you'll need to leverage: your sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight. 

By engaging each one of these senses, you’ll be creating environmental triggers that will tell your brain, “time to go into flow mode.” In other words, you’re building creative habits that will eventually automatically turn on the creative light switch in your brain. So every time you smell, touch, taste, hear or see part of your newly constructed creative den, you’ll be able to get into the flow.

How to Leverage Your 5 Senses to Build Creative Habits

Sight

If your work requires a computer screen, you most likely don’t want a bunch of distractions. But there are ways to subtly remind yourself it's time to get down to business.

If you can, add some greenery to your desk.

Put up post-it's of creative affirmations on your wall or tape them on your laptop. Choose wallpapers that remind you of people, places and things that make you feel intensely inspired. Change your passwords to be inclusive of your goals or of your amazing ability to create.

Touch

One of the easiest ways? Pick a piece of jewelry that makes you feel super in touch with yourself. Do you have a ring, necklace, or a bangle bracelet that makes you feel a boss?

The next time you start designing slides for your upcoming webinar or are brainstorming new color palettes for your client’s rebranding, take a moment to really feel the jewelry. Its weight, its smoothness (or lack thereof), its engravings. Do this during a moment of intense flow several times.

Now this doesn’t have to be a piece of jewelry – it can be a stress ball, a fuzzy blanket, you name it. Just make sure it's portable.

Smell

Have you ever noticed how certain smells immediately transport you back to a certain place in time?

Your olfactory sense (your smell) has a super strong memory – thus making this one of the most reliable senses to prime your brain for maximum on-demand creativity.

Try these 3 inspiration-inducing ideas:

Candles

  • Put yourself in the mood with your favorite candles. Choose two or three for vaireto light consistently every time you’re working on a creative endeavor, and sooner or later, every time you get a whiff your brain will be reminded of the last time you smelled them and were in the zone.

Essential Oils

  • You know how lavender is associated with sleep? While each and every essential oil has their own properties, you can create your own associations by picking one to drop into the diffuser. Lemongrass works great for me – it’s super energizing.

Perfumes

  • The next time you’re whipping up a batch of sizzling hot content, dab a perfume that you absolutely love (but don’t use every day) on your wrists.

Every few minutes while you’re typing, designing, or painting, take a moment to put your wrists up to your nose and inhale. Do this a few times with the same scent and voila! Inspiration genie unleashed.

Taste

I don’t know about you, but I am a self-professed matcha lover and an avid tea drinker. The smell of freshly-brewed dragon pearl jasmine green tea … and the warm sensation from drinking a perfectly brewed cup of matcha melts away any stress or concerns.

I know every time I drink a certain brand of matcha that I’m going to write some seriously amazing content – so find your favorite drink (or snack – just make sure you’re snacking mindfully).

Almonds and nuts are a great option if you’re looking for some brain food you can snack on multiple times a week without the guilt.

Hearing

Okay, who here can relate to feeling like a total badass in the gym when certain songs come on? It's like you can run for a few extra minutes or get in a couple extra reps with the right music playing in the background. You can do the same with your creative process.

Ask yourself, what kind of music really gets me pumped and ready to knock out this content? Is it lofi hip-hop? Beyonce women-empowerment jams? Smooth jazz? Gather a bunch of playlists based on different moods and segment them by content type.

If you’re not into having music with lyrics playing in the background, you can also tune into sites like brain.fm or throw on some good ol’ Mozart or Chopin – studies have shown that classical music is the bomb.com for productivity and getting into your zone of genius.

But what if I need inspiration away from my desk?

While these tips are great for your home office, they're easily adaptable if you're on the road or if you're a coffee shop kind of gal. That's also a great tip to get the creative juices rolling again – a change in environment.

Do you have any creative habits to help snap you out of writer’s block? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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