What to do when you run out of ideas?

Have you ever run out of ideas? It happens to all of us. You wake up one morning with a big project to work on and your mind is blank. So what do you do when you run out of ideas?

This happened to me the other day. I felt so much fear and anxiety. Like my career is over. People had been calling me creative at work and I’ve developed a reputation for being a creative person. Now I was stuck and pondering my own existence.

But a few things brought me back to reality. Here’s what you can do when you run out of creative ideas:

  1. Rest
  2. Affirm your true identity
  3. Do something different
  4. Hang out with creative people
  5. Tap into the stream


One of the first things you need to do is check and see if you’re getting enough rest. So many creative blocks come from being so busy and tired we can’t think. Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep? If not you could just be fatigued and this is what is keeping the ideas from coming.

If you can’t get enough rest at night consider taking a nap. Michael Hyatt swears by them. Winston Churchill took naps as part of his regular regimen while leading England during World War II.

Resting can help the creative ideas flow back to the surface

Affirm your true identity

Sometimes we are burdened by being a creative person. Well the truth is everyone is a creative person. Maybe your identity is too tied up in being creative.

All the pressure and anxiety from living up to other people’s expectation can choke your creative flow. Remember everyone is a creative person and you are your own unique person. Don’t let your identity get tied up in other people’s expectations.

Do Something Different

Do something different from the usual. Abandon your routine. Every week I try a different way to get to work. I read somewhere this helps your brain make new connections.

Whatever the science behind it breaking away from your normal routine can help you become more creative. If you’re a writer then start drawing. If you’re an artist then start making music.

Go try some new food. Play a sport you never played before. Watch TV or movies you wouldn’t normally watch.

Different is good.

Hang out with creative people

Your company definitely has an influence on you. It can be for good or for bad. Creative people can inspire you.

And try to mix it up. Just like doing something different. Hang with different types of creative people. If you’re a graphic designer and only hang with graphic designers you will stay within a limited world of graphic design.

No. Break out of the box and get new ideas by hanging with people who are different than you. And this goes for more than just career. Hang out with different ethnicities or people who are in a different social status.

The ideas will begin to flow because you are tapping into whole new lifestyles and ways of seeing the world.

Tap into the stream

What do I mean? Tap into the stream of consciousness. There is so much creativity lying beneath the surface of your conscious mind. How do you get to it?

Start journaling. But don’t think about it. Just write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation or even complete sentences.

Soon you will begin to see patterns or connections you never would have considered. Tapping into your stream of consciousness is the secret weapon of creativity.

So those are my 5 things to do when you run out of creative ideas. What do you do when you run out of creative ideas?