Creativity. What a stubborn creature. When you need  it, you're empty, but when you don't need it, they're spewing out of your ears. Even though I'd like to consider myself quite a creative person, I still run on empty from time to time.  For someone who constantly needs to crank out creativity for a living, I need to find ways to keep my creative juices flowing. Over the years, I've collected quite a few tricks up my sleeve that can kindle up some much needed creativity when you most need it. Be cautious though--these may not work for everybody. What works for one may not work for another. Take these merely as suggestions. At least one or a few of these should get some gears grinding in your head.


Empty your mind

            We've all been stuck at a mental road-block--whether it be creatively or any other way. It keeps the traffic from going through our metal intersections. Much like a busy road-blocked street, a road-blocked mind is just as difficult to pass though. Once the obstacle is removed, ideas will free flow. Try to clear your head of the annoyances that come with not being able to create what you want. Don't force your imagination. Take a step back and resume the project in a few minutes. Taking a little breather will calm you down and free your mind for new ideas.


Past projects

            Sift through your past accomplishments. Look at what ideas you employed to complete those projects. Perhaps those ideas can help your new, current project. Even if the project is nowhere near the same, inspiration can stem from anywhere. Also, sift though incomplete projects as well. You might have gathered inspiration since then, but just forgot about it. You might even be able to revive and finish incomplete projects!


Hiking it

            Take a walk in the great outdoors. Whether it be a day trip at the nearest hiking trail, or just around the park, fresh air will do you good. Find inspiration from our very own Mother Nature. A lot of ideas we have today stem from nature. Take advantage of these resources. Also, while you're out there, exercise a bit. A lot of us haven't been taking the active route in our lifestyles. Skip the gym and run outdoors. The fresh air and movement will help our bodies create more endorphins. A happier you can shape a more creative you as well.


Crank some tunes

            Well, maybe not crank. Play some music you like to get your mood going. Try some music stations you have not heard before. Clear your mind and let the music be your guide. Music can often induce thoughts or emotions we weren't otherwise feeling. Try to stay away from songs you know that might provoke unpleasant thoughts. Here's a tip: if you're feeling lethargic, play some happier tunes. This will boost your mood up, and hopefully even boost your creativity.


Cruise around town

            I bet we're all fairly familiar with our work commute. We drive the same streets there, and we drive the same streets back. When we start to get really familiar with the route, we no longer pay attention to the surroundings. Oftentimes, we drive on autopilot. For example, I've driven to my friend's house hundreds of times over the years. This weekend, I drove by again, and suddenly realize there's a new house that's almost done being built down the block. When did that get there? What I realized was different was the fact that I was driving there in the dark instead of in the daylight. Driving with a slight little change will make you be more aware of your surroundings and notice new information. Try driving a different route to work. That way, you will prep your brain to find multiple ways to achieve the same result.


Watch the population

            This may seem a little out of the ordinary, but I think this tip really works. Whenever you're stumped and fresh out of ideas, try to leech ideas off other people. Now, I don't mean copying someone else's idea. What I'm suggesting is observing others. See how other people approach and execute mundane tasks in a casual setting. For example, when you're taking your lunch, look at people around you. How are people interacting with others? Take a mental note and see if the new perspectives can stimulate your own ideas.