Most entrepreneurs have a few tricks up their sleeves for getting out of a creative rut if they get stuck. They might do a little stream of consciousness writing, go for a walk, or take on a completely different activity in order to refocus, like hitting pause on an assignment to bake a dozen cupcakes.
Outside of doing, we’re curious about where ‘treps go when they feel uninspired. Do you head to a museum, go for a drive along the coast, or book a flight to get out of the state entirely? 61 entrepreneurial experts shared with us where they go and what gets their wheels cranking again when they need to get re-inspired all over again.
1. “I’m the designer behind VAUGHAN, a women’s brand specializing in classic silk shirting. I get inspiration all over the place: old films, art, streetwear and magazines. When I’m stuck in a rut, I try to relax and get away from fashion for a while. I might go outside for a walk with my dog or I may do something creative that isn’t related to fashion (writing, cooking, decorating my home).” — Lindsay Narain, Creative Director, VAUGHAN
2. “Everyone has a favorite spot for finding inspiration, but when you’re at work, it can be difficult to get away. The office might not be the best place for chilling out and channeling creativity, but I’ve found a few ways around it. Take time away from your desk and set up a work station in a new location. While you may be limited on options, simply moving into a different area of the office can work wonders for creativity. You also need to make time to go for a walk and get some fresh air or catch up with your work mates in a social area. If your schedule (and boss!) allows it, consider working remotely for a day or a week. This time could be dedicated to more creative tasks, like ideas generation and planning. When you return to the office, you’ll have plenty of new ideas and a fresh sense of inspiration.” — Amy Klivington, Content Marketing Manager, BlindsDirect
3. “For me the ‘when’ is most important. When I need to spark creativity, I opt for pre-dawn thinking and strive to create a pre-web world. That means an early morning walk to the gym sans smartphone. It gives me the quiet rush of knowing I’m working/working out when everyone else is sleeping and endorphins that spark bright ideas that usually hit on the way home when the sun comes up.” — Tim Toterhi, Founder, Plotline Leadership
4. “As a nature lover, a long drive into the back country or having the best spot in the park for the sunset works wonders. As John Muir said, ‘Keep close to Nature’s heart.’ I get super inspired when I am close to nature. My favorite place to get rejuvenated would be a national park close by which is totally cut off from the world and has this infinite power to fill me with creativity. We are often surrounded by endless disturbances and unwanted noises in our daily life. The perfectly still calming beauty of nature is what this park gives me when I want to get away from all that buzz. A few minutes spent in this place feels like the best elixir for my creative senses.” — Sireesha Narumanchi, Founder, Crowdworknews
5. “When at a loss for creating a new lesson or working on a new book, I head to the beach. There is something about the sun beating down on you and the white noise the waves and wind create that forces a silence of thoughts. That’s the key, to calm your mind from the everyday minutiae, allowing the freedom for your mind to roam, make new connections and reframe ideas.” — Katherine Scarim, Founder, Agent Strong Real Estate Coaching
6. “As a freelancer, I work from home most of the time. This can sometimes cause an inspiration plateau. Just a small change of scenery – working from a cafe or taking my dog for a walk – can really help. When I’m really in a rut, however, I’ll go for a long jog. Not only does the fresh air clear your head, the music you listen to or something you see on the trail can really spark creativity.” — Lauren Gilmore, Owner, PR & Prose
7. “My top 3 favorite destinations that help get my creative juices flowing: 1) Workcation: I often take a ‘workcation’ whereby I travel to a different country where I not only speak but take the time to relax and get inspired. For instance, l enjoyed my stay in Bali (Indonesia) and Dubai (UAE) last year where I was speaking at different events. Plus, meeting all kinds of people and the technology-free time I managed to spend during flights got me tons of ideas related to my work. 2) Jog in the park: I often go for a jog in the nearby park and while doing so, I either listen to some music or an audiobook. 3) A different office: While I do have a home office (our entire workforce works remotely from multiple countries), I have rented out a second ‘real’ office nearby where I do work from time to time. I find the solitude of it quite helpful in finding creative ideas for our content and innovative solutions for our problems.” — Syed Irfan Ajmal, Growth Marketing Manager, Ridester.com
8. “When creativity or inspiration is needed for a work-related problem, I go to the shower. This has always been my go-to place for fresh insights, new ideas, and ‘a-ha!’ moments. There are many theories to explain why a shower is the best environment for creativity, but for me it is one of the few places I can go in this world where the noise and bustle of the world are shut out. The subconscious mind is always working to solve problems — even when we don’t realize it — and there are certain times when those solutions are released. They usually pop into our head at a time when our mind is quiet, like when we are driving, in bed, or in the shower. The shower happens to be hands-down, the most effective location for my subconscious mind to release its creative results. As a matter of fact, so much inspiration is generated in the shower, it demanded a device that would allow for the capture of those ideas in this wet environment. Since no product existed, this problem served as the catalyst for a business which I started nine years ago that manufactures waterproof notepads called AquaNotes(r).” — Mark Knudsen, Owner, AquaNotes
“9. “I leave my office and walk outside. We’re in the downtown area so it is refreshing for me to step outside and see a lot of action taking place around me. Sometimes when you’re working, you feel like you are so busy and overwhelmed but going outside in a busy downtown puts thing in perspective. Also, just walking relieves stress for me. Whenever I’m in a rut, I leave my phone in the office and walk for 15-20 minutes. I don’t know how I’d operate without doing this break!” — Stefanie Rosenfield, Co-Owner, Cleveland Marketing King
10. “I work in a home office with no windows. I love my space, but the lack of natural light wears on me after a few weeks. So, in the past, I’ve done a few things to keep my creativity going. If I’m working on a big story and having a hard time coming up with an outline for my article, I break out my whiteboard and dry erase markers and write out ideas. There’s something about the tactile nature of writing out ideas with a pen instead of a keyboard that injects some creativity into my thought process. Then, I move my work outside. I’m lucky enough to have a patio that I can work on, so I’ll head out there when I’m tired and need some fresh air to kick start inventiveness. I’ve also gone to my front yard, laid out a blanket and set up against a tree to work on my laptop. I’ve also got a mental lineup of coffee shops and cafes I go to for work. Sometimes it’s Starbucks, Panera, or a locally-owned coffee place. What’s funny is that I tend to choose my location based on the type of work I’m doing. If I’m doing a long-form article, I like going to Panera because the seating is more comfortable than the other spots. If I’m doing work that isn’t intense, I usually go to Starbucks and, if I’m working at night, I like to head to the locally owned place. All three options spark creativity when I’m tired of my office.” — J.R. Duren, Personal Finance Analyst, HighYa.com
11. “When I am in a creative rut, I usually go surf through creative photos on the internet. Seeing whacky, unusual, abstract photos and illustrations always helps light creative sparks. Just scroll through quirky images and watch your creative juices begin to flow.” — Jinal Shah, Brand and Marketing Strategist, If I Were Marketing
12. “For me, the best place that I can go to get out of a creative rut is to drive. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I must be present to drive and that takes my mind off whatever rut I might be in and occupies my mind so I’m not thinking about it. It doesn’t have to be anywhere specifically, but often it’s not where or when there’s a lot of traffic or lights. It usually where I can just drive without stress and take my mind off the rut. This allows me to come back to my creative rut with a new perspective.” — Gresham Harkless, Blogger-in-Chief, CEO Blog Nation
13. “I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago and to keep my creative juices flowing here are some things I do: 1) Take a vacation if I can, twice I have spent a month in Italy, 2) Drive: road trip on a back road or just in nature can clear your mind, 3) Exercise: anything from a walk around the block to a class, Tai Chi, bike ride, spa or retreat, 4) Eat: amazing what great meal can do, 5) Music: live is best, but earphones can be great too, 6) Shower or bath especially with hot water, 7) Magazines and trashy novels not literature though, 8) Sleep: even a power nap can help.” — Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls
14. “I like to travel for work, and the longer the flight the better. It’s my chance to unwind, stare out the window and think of ideas. I developed the idea and strategy for my business on a flight to San Francisco. When I was a kid my report card said, ‘Becky is a good student, but we had to move her away from the window. She stares outside and doesn’t pay attention.'” — Becky Bavli, CEO & Founder, T is for Tame
15. “When I’m stuck in a creative rut, one of my favorite places to visit is an electronics surplus store! It works for me every time! I just visited Skycraft yesterday! This store is basically a hole-in-the-wall, tucked into a side street less than a half-a-mile from the interstate. The identifying feature as you drive by looking for the building on the main street is a rocket, mounted onto the side of the building. What a rocket has to do with surplus electronics, beats me! Anyway, they buy all these surplus electronics parts and other surplus items from a multitude of companies. When I enter the store, it’s always with an air of anticipation as to what I might find, because I never know! As it turned out, yesterday I found a piece of laminate I’m going to use as a shelf, but I was looking for industrial-looking pieces of metal I could use for bases for a shelf. What’s interesting about this treasure hunt, I see things I never thought about before in new light. I saw this silver metal grid, that apparently used to be a part of an overhead fluorescent light fixture. I immediately thought, this would make the coolest table. The metallic grid could be the top of the table, and you’d have to put a piece of clear glass on top of the grid, but it would look amazing! Had I seen the grid in the ceiling as part of a light fixture, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but because it was laying on its side leaning next to something else, it caught my eye! That’s the amazing thing about this place! Since I don’t have any idea what I’m looking at, I can envision all kinds of uses! It really puts my grey cells to work! It’s a fun place that always challenges me and totally takes me out of my creative funk – every time!” — Allison Constantino, Owner, M. Productions, Inc.
16. “When I’m in a creative rut, or have writers block, I unplug from all devices, except for a good podcast or playlist, and head out into nature for a five or six-mile walk. At home, I head to the nature trails in Hartwood Acres Park. On vacation, to the beach — the earlier the better. Once I’m alone in nature, I seem to always see signs or notice seemingly unimportant details that once again spark my imagination or help me sort out my jumbled thoughts.” — Josephine Caminos Oria, President & Founder, La Dorita Cooks Kitchen Incubator and All-Natural Dulce de Leche Products
17. “My go-to places when I need to refill my creative well are the forest and the beach. If I can’t go on a longer trip, I’ll at least take an hour-long walk through a small forest near my house. There’s something about the organic, natural shapes that always inspire me to doodle and sketch new ideas so I always carry a sketchbook with me. I usually also take reference photos with my phone if I encounter an especially interesting flower, insect, or a small animal. I’m lucky enough to be living near the coast, so heading to the beach is another way for me to take a break from thinking about work, and just enjoy my surroundings. Another way for me to gather inspiration is to walk around the city looking up at the buildings, whether it’s in my hometown, or a new town that I’m visiting. Historical architecture, decorative elements, and signage has made a huge influence on me as a designer.” — Nela Dunato, Brand Designer, Nela Dunato Art & Design
18. “This is where I go to get unstuck: 1) hiking trails, as far away from the city as possible. This clears my mind and gets me in front of completely different challenges – crossing a river, climbing a hill or a mountain or pleasant quiet activities like birdwatching when all you need to do is be still and observe the beauty. Nature is quite inspiring. 2) Animal shelter, wildlife conservation center – I’m fond of causes related to animal welfare. I’m lucky that my company supports such endeavors and I’m able to get additional paid leave when I sometimes volunteer during the week. This allows me to be more active and avoid creativity crisis. Volunteering in the shelter and the conservation center gives me a new perspective, gets me out of my comfort zone and gives me urgent problems to solve. I think that both work for me partly because they give me new experiences, having nothing to do with urban lifestyle, the tasks and responsibilities of my position. So, once I return to the office, it feels like a fresh start.” — Diana Vicheva, Content Marketing Executive, ExpoBeds
19. “Where do I go? To the movies but not to the ‘fresh’ movies. I go to the cinematheque or a similar establishment, since I like old-school cinema and foreign cinema. To take myself out of my story, I go and watch somebody else’s story.” — Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager, Maple Holistics
20. “My favorite place to go to when I get stuck in a creative rut is to walk up the road to my nearest park. It’s a small green space with traffic on either side, but it’s well maintained with beautiful flower beds and shady trees. There’s quieter and larger parks nearby but this one is particularly popular with the local office workers so it’s my favorite place to people watch. Most of the time I just find 20 minutes of fresh air and observing others is enough to get me outside my own head and clear my mind, so I can go back to work with a fresh mindset. Sometimes I might overhear someone say something or watch someone do something that will spark a new idea or thought. In the summer I’ve also got into the habit of taking a picnic blanket with me so if I’ve had a particularly draining morning I can lie down, close my eyes and even take a quick power nap if I need it!” — Chloe Benfell, Graphics & Web Coordinator, CADoodle
21. “The quickest fix locally (in Atlanta, GA) is to head to a local spin studio called Burn where the classes feel like a disco dance party on a spin bike; getting lost in the great music, high energy and leader board that shows how you are doing in the class shuts down the work part of my brain and lets me just be in the moment. It always refreshes my perspective, allowing me to return to work with more gusto for writing, planning or issues management. If I’m looking for bigger inspiration, I go to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. First started going to that destination spa in 2007 on a Girl’s Trip and have been there eight times. Perhaps it is the desert location, which is so different from Atlanta or maybe it is the spiritual energy from vortexes onsite. While there, I take long cardio walks in the desert pathways and engage in spiritual experiences that have ranged from Shamanic Journey to Astrology. During those retreats, I found the inspiration to make a career change (four years ago) and last year, started writing a book (and am working on it now diligently). The clarity I get there unlocks my creativity, makes me more effective at work and keeps me focused on wellness. Love it so much that I had a painting commissioned inspired by Canyon Ranch that hangs in my office to help stoke my creativity.” — Shira Miller, Chief Communications Officer, National DCP
22. “Whenever I’m in a creative rut, I head to a museum. I’m fortunate that I travel frequently, so there’s always new museums to see, but I find that it’s very inspiring to see different kinds of art from different periods and different parts of the world. It gives you a perspective that you wouldn’t have otherwise.” — Tessa Clare, Author, DivinityBureau
23. “I’d go for a seaside trip, as being near the water has always felt like home to me (I was raised in a city near the coast). It’s amazing to go for a walk on the beach during the evening, as everything feels so peaceful — just me and the sound of the waves. I stare at the sea and it helps me regain inspiration.” — Ana Santos, Independent UX Consultant, UX Design
24. “When I feel like I’m in a creative rut, I sit by myself in Bryant Park. It’s a park I converted from a crime ridden, drug filled dangerous location in midtown Manhattan to the best urban park in the US. I did that by privatizing its management and finances. That task was so difficult that sitting there, watching so many smiling faces, reminds me that I can solve whatever problem is stumping me. The people and peaceful quiet and serenity inspire me!” — Dan Biederman, President, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures
25. “Rather than go somewhere familiar to get out of a creative rut, I like to go somewhere new. In New York, that often means a new coffee shop or restaurant, especially in neighborhoods I don’t go to much. I feel like the new surroundings spark my imagination more than a familiar setting would. I like to order something I’ve never had and take in my surroundings. Often, I’ll play a little mind game with myself where I list what I like about the place and what I don’t like about it and, more importantly, how I would improve the place if it were mine. That usually helps get the creative espresso flowing. (I have creative espresso rather than creative juices.)” — Jack Anzarouth, President, Digital Ink Marketing
26. “I head outside. The beauty of nature recharges me, whether it’s hiking, hitting the lake, or even something as simple as getting into the dirt in my garden — I find my inspiration again when taking in the sights, smells and peacefulness of the land.” — JP Jones, Creative Director, Collipsis Web Solutions/Paige1Media
27 “When I’m in a creative rut either writing or designing, my favorite place to go is an art museum in Houston called The Menil Collection. I love to go there because the art is so inspiring; it houses art from different centuries, geographic locations, and eras. I’ll even make myself draw some of the art that I see from my own perspective or write about how the art is making me feel (even if it’s making me feel nothing). Outside of the Menil, there’s a park with some interesting sculptures in the garden. I’ll go sit out there and just watch the park patrons; I find time to center myself and allow myself to just be there without feeling the pressure of trying to create. I think the Menil inspires me because I get to see the art of so many artists before me. And when I step outside into the park, I get to see the art of every day: trees, nature, families. It helps me to find my place in art and in the world and shows me that I can live simultaneously within both.” — Lauren Crain, Digital Marketer & Designer, HealthLabs.com
28. “As a person who alternately writes and thinks about writing for a living, it’s so easy to get burned out or to sit down at my laptop and realize I have nothing to say. When that happens, my absolute favorite place to go to be re-energized is the library close to my house. There’s something about being surrounded by the words of other people that to me is inspiring. Plus, I love the quiet, thoughtful atmosphere (and I’m one of those people who loves the smell of books!). It’s such a helpful reminder that a lot of authors have struggled with writer’s block or being stuck in a creative rut, but they were able to pull themselves out of it to create something amazing. Even after spending an hour in the library, I already feel ready to go back to work.” — Molly Powers, Editorial Manager, Relode
29. “When I am in a creative rut, I go to our music room and play piano. It’s fun, something I look forward to doing and playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices so it gets my mental capacity going. It’s like a mental full body workout. It has replaced many bad habits — such as smoking and eating candy — and certainly helps me relieve my stress.” — Gene Caballero, Co-Founder, GreenPal
30. “The beach: Fortunately, working in Wilmington, NC, I live minutes from some beautiful beaches. I sit in a beach chair and close my eyes. I listen to one wave after another roll up onto the shore. I imagine that each wave is a fresh idea and I am comforted knowing there will always be another wave… just like there will always be another idea. The realization that there are literally endless ideas frees up blockages in my mind and encourages my imagination to explore new angles and perspectives.” — Robin Salter, Chief Marketing Officer, KWIPPED
31. “Being in a fashion business requires a lot of creative energy and for me, the best way to recharge it is by visiting Italy. The fashion in the streets, the flavors of the food and wine, the old and new architecture are so beautiful that you just get back your creativity vibes. I guess that’s why Italy has so many famous fashion houses. It is a place that inspires you to create.” — Santare Slavinskiene, Co-Founder & CCO, DIZAIND Bags
32. “To kick start my creative juices when I’m in a rut, I shut down the computer, grab a book (any one off the shelf but nothing too heavy), and head a park. It must be a different one from last time. I’ll spend the first 20 minutes walking around, breathing the fresh air, and making up stories about the animals and people I see. Usually that’s enough to spark an idea that I can write down. I don’t stop there, I complete the 20 min and tend to finish with about 5-10 ideas. Now, I’ve warmed up to the outdoors and don’t want to go back home just yet. This is when I’ll pull out my book. Over the next hour I’ll read on a shaded bench and jot down ideas from the book and the ones that pop into my head upon reflection.” — Daniel Ndukwu, Founder & CEO, KyLeads
33. “New places always get the creative juices flowing. Go to a new city nearby, a restaurant you’ve never been to, or a museum you just haven’t made it to yet. Be sure to engage with the people there and try to get to understand what’s going on all around you from their perspective. – A yoga class: Sometimes your creative rut stems from stress, and I find that a yoga class is inspirational as well as stress relieving.” — Cory Sarrett, SEO/SEM Specialist, Online Optimism
34. “As the sole marketer in the company, I have struggled from time to time to keep the creativity flowing. Alas, I decided to apply for membership in The Wing, a network of co-working and community spaces designed for women. I am lucky to have the flexibility to be able to work remote and have found that even working just one day a week in an environment full of creative and entrepreneurial people somehow fills the air and the mind with excitement. Overhearing groups working on a start-up or listening to a founder being interviewed by the media, has given me creative inspiration to draw on when my mind starts to wander back in the office. It has been the best investment I have made for myself and a truly endless source of inspiration.” — Julie Falkanger Smith, Senior VP & Director of Marketing, Vanbridge LLC
35. “I put on running gear and head outside for a long run. The run can be anywhere although it helps to be on a path or surrounded by trees and nature as opposed to next to the road. It helps clear my brain, and the endorphins decrease my stress, making me happy and resetting my brain. Ideas often come as I run, and when I’m back I’m in my best thinking state.” — Stacy Caprio, Founder, Accelerated Growth Marketing
36. “My inspiration locations are endless because what I have found to be the most helpful when I am in a creative rut is to go somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a new state or anywhere extremely extravagant; it just must be somewhere I’ve never been before (and preferably outside but this isn’t always the case). The simplest of places proved to be an inspiration land mind just because they were new. Here are a couple of my favorite inspirational moments I found at a new place: 1) Doing yoga on a new hike: at the end of the trail was something called Elephant Rock, a massive rock you climb onto that overlooks the entire city and has an enormous drop off on every side. It was a simple hike that I hadn’t done before, and it turned out to be a flood of inspiration. 2) Driving through an unknown city: one day on my home from work I was frustrated with my lack of inspiration. I decided to wander into a city I had never been before. I flipped a coin to decide where to go (heads I went left, tails I went right) and I ended up at a simple duck park. I spent hours there doing nothing, and by the end of it I had filled out pages and pages of ideas.” — McCall Robinson, Content Marketing Strategist/Blog Manager, Best Company
37. “After spending many years working in a traditional office, I now work from home full time as a small business owner and consultant. Whenever I find that I need to break a creative rut, I go for a swim. This allows me to step away from email and technology, while getting a bit of exercise at the same time. It’s hard to think of much when you’re just focusing on your breathing, so it provides the perfect break before getting back to work.” — Antonella Pisani, Founder, FACT Goods
38. “My personal favorite place to go to keep myself out of creative ruts is actually a monthly event called CreativeMornings. It was founded in NYC 10 years ago, but there are chapters all around the world now. Lucky for me, there is an active chapter here in Nashville. I go once a month to get inspiration from a wide variety of speakers and to feel connected to our abundantly creative community. For over two years now, it has consistently filled my creative cup each month. I would recommend to anyone anywhere, that if their city has a chapter, they should go! One of their mottos is that ‘Everyone is Creative, Everyone is Welcome.'” — Maria Brannon, Owner, Lightning Flash Creative
39. “When I’m stuck in a creative rut, I need to remove myself from the task. Sometimes, taking a break can refresh your mind and give you a new point of view once you return. I like to either go for a drive or sit in a coffee shop with a good atmosphere. Something about the bustle of people paired with the calmness of work and study soothes me. I like to see other people working, have a good cup of coffee, and then get back to my project refreshed and inspired.” — Lauren Petermeyer, Manager, Digital Strategy & Planning, 301 Digital Media
40. “I go to an art gallery and try to pick things out of paintings like someone might point out a shape that a cloud in the sky is making. Instead of cloud-watching, I essentially go art-watching. There is such an intriguing and enlivening quality within people at their most creative, and when that zest appears in that artist’s work, it’s an inspiration to me. It puts me in the mindset to create and to say so I looked at this problem from a different angle than expected, and that’s exactly what I am supposed to do.” — Victoria Den Bleyker, Marketing Specialist, Social Motion Films
41. “I have a few techniques for getting out a creative rut: 1) Cleaning. It’s common to be in the middle of a mundane task and all of a sudden, the answer you were looking for earlier leaps into your mind. Ideas can come from anywhere, not only do you increase the potential of distracting your conscious mind to allow your unconscious to process all your ideas, but you get a clean house too which is incredibly beneficial for state of mind, 2) Listen to/watch/read something that is completely unrelated to your field. I often watch hip-hop videos because it has no relation to my field whatsoever. I’m not always looking for inspiration for photographs, sometimes I’m looking for funny Instagram captions or blog post topics. Having diverse interests allows you to pool ideas from multiple sources. Rappers create rhymes and flow, they also bend words and play with grammatical structure, understanding how an unrelated creative person manipulates their medium may unlock a means to bend the rules of your own field. 3) Watch a foreign language film. Narrative structure is well established in English speaking countries. Mainland Europe, Scandinavia, and The Middle East all have very different ways of composing a story. Not only do foreign language films challenge your perceptions and force you to consider alternative ways of doing things, but also by being forced to read every word of dialogue to follow the story you become completely engrossed in the story. 4) Exercising is a perfect remedy. The primary benefit is of course it gets your blood pumping and releases feel good chemicals. Working from home means you can go hours without speaking to another person. We are social creatures and being in public does wonders for wellbeing and state of mind.” — Liam Smith, Photographer, Liam Smith Photography
42. “When I get in a creative rut, I try to go a historic place — usually a place that a notable individual lived or a place where a historic event occurred. I find that the best way to get out of a creative rut is to step outside yourself for a moment. To me, there is no better way than stepping outside of our time in history and placing myself in the world that existed before. One of my favorite spots is the Cape Florida Lighthouse. A place where the real Florida natives, the Seminoles, exchanged rifle fire with early settlers. I sometimes picture myself in the perspective of the Seminoles, firing at an extension of my oppressors. Other times as James Thompson, or his assistant Aaron Carter, fighting for dear life as my existence in the New World is likely to cease. Another spot I frequent is the bay by one of Al Capone’s old houses in Sunny Isles Beach. Al Capone, AKA Scarface, had a lot of properties in Florida, from motels to mansion to islands. Any of them would work for these purposes. Though Al Capone’s main mansion near South Beach is usually what locals will tell you about, his smaller properties are more accessible. I try to imagine myself either as old Scarface himself, the prosecutor who took down Capone using tax evasion, one of Capone’s lackeys, and many others involved in his nefarious life. Al Capone was a notorious and dangerous individual who died from idiocy. As an attorney, it couldn’t be further from my life. Every employee I’ve ever hired or known, including myself, has their good and bad days. It’s important to catch yourself when you notice a bad trend and step away for a moment. Even if it’s only in your head.” — Mikhail Shvartsman, Esq. General Counsel, USB Memory Direct
43. “Sometimes, finding the right angle for a particular post can lead to writer’s block. There are two ways I tend to get things flowing. 1) The lazy writer’s way is to spin up similar but unrelated content on YouTube, or to crank my music up and do yet another round of research. Procrastination-research is a thing. 2) I go for a walk or run in the lush local parks in my area. I let all thoughts of the problem go. I believe the trees whisper inspiration to my subconscious. Even if I don’t arrive back shouting ‘Eureka!’ the cobwebs have been blown out.” — Arwen Brenneman, Content Writer, Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd.
44. “The water…anywhere on the water, but two of my favorite spots are Carkeek Park in Seattle and Rosario Beach in Anacortes. There is something about the movement of water, the light reflections and the textures that both soothe me and spark my creative fires. If the water doesn’t do it or I feel like I need to move beyond the creativity inspired there I go to a boat yard. Yes, I said boat yard. There are so many magical shapes, textures and colors in a boat yard and it gives me a chance to really stretch the creative muscle. I might need to look at “the big picture” to find a creative visual. Or, I might need to get up close and focus on the details. For me, getting out of a creative rut is about activating my ability to relax and “see” and also pushing my limits and stretching my imagination.” — Melissa McClain, Photographer/Artist, Melissa Anne COLORS
45. “Originally, I’d go to this amazing nursery, full of green and growing plants, with greenhouses of exotics and fields of more common flowers and trees. I’d come back energized, relaxed, calmed in spirit, and usually with new ideas. During my transition from software engineer to community leader, I found myself often hopping into my car and just driving… anywhere. This worked especially well to think of new tactics, slogans, catchphrases, and approaches to engaging people. Today, unfortunately, the price of fuel and the crowded roads make it impossible to just slide into the creative state of mind. At one point my bosses (yes, plural) realized that the best way to get creative and deep writing out of me was to put me on a long plane flight. I wrote blogs, I wrote product and market thesis, I wrote competitive strategy and tactics. Then plane travel became worse than traveling on a long-distance bus; no room for a laptop and even less elbow space. On today’s flights, the entire time is spent trying to best figure out how to stop traveling by plane. Today, I choose to go for a hike around some of the wonderful areas in the Bay Area of California. I frequent places like Edgewood Park, full of deer, butterflies, and wildflowers. I visit Portola Redwoods State Park, full of trees and birds. I’ll stop by creeks and think, inhale deeply and allow my mind to wander, filled with the sounds of nature. It relaxes me, allows me respite from the overstressed world and removes my thoughts from the rush of technology and people.” — Dave McAllister, Community & Dev Evangelist, Scalyr, Inc.
46. “While it’s a bit cliché, I find that a good old-fashioned hike will get your brain heading in completely new directions. I do this regularly with coworkers to get a fresh perspective. Mountains are my favorite, and they too give a change in perspective. We’re used to seeing the world from ground level. But, when you get high up in the mountains, everything takes on a new appearance. For me at least, this primes me to think outside of the box.” — Sam Warren, Director of Marketing, RankPay
47. “I take a virtual vacation. The demands of my job and family life don’t allow for a physical break as often as I need one, but a quick vacation in my mind can sometimes be enough to rejuvenate my creativity. This sometimes looks like researching a new vacation destination to add to my list when an annual vacation opportunity does arrive. Other times, it’s as simple as browsing Airbnb options in a city we’ll be working in and saving to a wish list. Or, it may be setting flight tracking information for our dream international destination, so I can keep my eye on a big sale in the future. A quick break to dream and create wish lists for future real-life breaks gives me something to look forward to, and a short vacation I can take on my lunch break.” — Erica Short, Production Manager, Overflow Storytelling Lab
48. “When I’m stuck in a creative rut, I find that moving my body and being in nature are the most helpful. Whether it’s taking my dog for a walk or rolling out my yoga mat, getting in touch with my body and my breath gives me a fresh perspective. Moving my body also begins to change my mindset from a sense of lack that comes with a creative rut, to a sense of gratitude and abundance. Once I begin to focus on gratitude by moving my body and connecting with nature, those creative juices begin to flow!” — Jessica Smith, Yogi/Vedic Yoga Thai Bodyworker/Writer/Body Positive Advocate
49. “I like to head to a quiet outdoor patio, preferably connected to a cafe. These spaces are notorious for housing creatives, like design and writing freelancers, so I find that being in that space is a good catalyst to get me to shake up my thinking. Spaces like that are also very collaborative, so I can talk to other creatives and professionals to help spark my ideas.” — Jennifer Moore, Marketing Specialist, Saatva
50. “I go to the waterfront a block from my apartment. I live in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a 10-minute ride from New York City and bordering the Hudson River. The view of the Manhattan skyline is spectacular. On most days you can see from the Verrazano Bridge to the George Washington Bridge and the promenade features benches and grassy places to sit. As a writer, it’s the best antidote for creative blocks or simply to take a break, sometimes with coffee in hand. I like the feeling of being by the water. Sometimes there are sailboats and ferries, other times cruise ships making their way to exotic locales. It soothes me and allows my creativity to percolate. I consider this an essential part of my life and often build in time in my schedule for it.” — Nancy Colasurdo, Self-Employed Writer/Life Coach
51. “Chaos is one of the biggest factors that inhibits my creative thoughts. Not only chaotic elements rob my creative juices, but also cause immense frustration. Shifting from a chaotic to tranquil environment gets my creative juices flowing again. Whenever I feel stuck, I take out my car keys to spend time in the woods or the riverside. The silent breeze and the serene environment unclogs the pores of my minds, injects a free flow of thoughts and then, I become creative again. The forward flow of the river reassures me that no matter how bad the creative rut is, I can come out of the slog and bounce back. This environment shift takes me out of my box or the closed shell that hinders my creative thoughts in a cluttered environment like workspaces or areas with too much noise.” — Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-Founder, Mettl
52. “When I need to overcome the inevitable creative block, I usually go somewhere I can hear subject matter experts talking… about anything. It could be directly related to my work — a presentation on design systems and usability — or something from a completely different field: a conductor discussing his approach to Arvo Pärt or a panel on citizen engagement. Douglas Hofstader has called analogy the fuel and fire of thinking, and I find that just listening to others speak passionately sends my synapses chasing parallels and metaphors that are often miraculously positioned to surface clues to whatever problem I’m working on.” — Chris Oquist, Director of User Experience, Dialogue Theory
53. “I spent 20 years writing songs for movies and television. In my heyday, I would have two TV series and a movie going on at the same time. Here are my special places: 1) The gym (clears the head and energizes you). 2) The beach or any place in nature that is filled with negative ions. (Waterfalls, rivers, windy hills etc.). 3) Driving (my theory is that when you are driving your conscious mind is busy so your creative subconscious is free to take over. 4) The toilet, for reasons mentioned above.” –Barry Coffing, CEO & Founder, Music Supervisor Inc.
54. “I don’t actually have to go far to find my creativity again. I don’t need a weekend. I just must walk the dog. Something about taking a ten to twenty minute walk with the dog clears out the garbage from my mind, unsticks the debris, and gets me to the next plateau. Maybe it’s the rhythm of the steps, maybe it’s breathing again. Whatever it is, it’s a lot cheaper than a vacation!” — Adam Cole, Founder, Adam Cole Works, LLC
55. “As a creative writer, getting a change of scenery is key when I find myself in a slump. I prefer to surround myself with natural beauty. There’s something about being in nature that is so refreshing. A walk at the local park, a lunch break at the beach, or even renting a lakeside cabin for a quick retreat really helps clear my mind.” — Jessica Dais, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist, TakeLessons Live
56. “There are a couple of places I go when I’m stuck in a creative rut. One of the best places to go is to another city, state or country. Just simply driving down a different street in your neighborhood will force you to see new things, but going to a different city, state or country really forces your brain out of its rut. It’s especially good to get far enough away that you are immersed in a different culture. Don’t forget to bring a notebook with you to record anything that inspires you.” — Julie Austin, CEO, Creative Innovation Group
57. “I’ve been designing websites since 2011, and in that time, I’ve learned that a trip to my local outdoor mall is totally what I need to chill in my head. The walking there combined with the fresh oxygen (and maybe – the sale rack) clears my head, gets rid of the clutter, and totally chills me out. So whatever overthinking I did to cause my own rut is completely left at bay. After a couple hours, I can return to my desk with new steam, get back to flow, and feel total, mental clarity.” — Liz Theresa, Coach/Web Designer/Copywriter
58. “When I find myself out of creative juice for guiding our operations towards continued growth, I tend to: Run. I run very long distances, most recently 69 miles for charity. It is the single most important source of clarity when I am lacking direction in where we are moving as a company, or how to overcome a roadblock.” — Adam Heath, Operations Manager, Meridian Specialty Packaging Ltd.
59. “Call it cliché, but when I get stuck in a creative rut, I find a park or coffee shop to be the best cure. As entrepreneurs, creators, business leaders, and so on, it’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day tasks and business. It’s even easier to forget why we do what we do. Seeing people enjoying their coffee while tapping into their favorite apps or overhearing a conversation about a new game that just came out, all remind me that I’m here because I love delivering something that adds to the lives of others. I’m not just hammering away at code – I’m working toward an experience someone will one day get to enjoy. If that isn’t enough motivation, then I’ve found the Mariana Trench of creative ruts.” — Joseph Cooper, CEO, KintoHub
60. “A change of scenery can help give your brain a break and get you out of a thinking rut. Great ideas often happen when you’re thinking about something other than the problem at hand. When your creative juices aren’t percolating at the pace you’d like, and you think stepping away will help, choose a venue where your mind will be engaged-in something unrelated to the task at hand. For example, don’t take a walk in your favorite park as you continue to ruminate on the problem. Don’t lie in your hammock fretting. Instead, take that walk with your earbuds tuned into your favorite podcast. Sip a glass of wine while you relax in your hammock listening to lyric-filled music. Stay up late so your brain isn’t functioning at peak-because you won’t be as good at focusing, which makes it easier for your mind to form unique connections. Some favorite spots for a creativity break: 1) Drive through a part of town (or a nearby small town) you’re not familiar with but have always been interested in seeing. 2) Meet a chatty friend at a new restaurant or coffee shop and really listen to his or her stories and ask questions 3) If you like to cook, head to your own kitchen and chop and sauté your way through a new recipe 4) Head to the library and read a how to book about something you’re interested in learning. I recently read WE: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement, a book filled with some thought-provoking ideas. 5) Go to an art museum and take your time in just one or two rooms really looking at and considering how the artist made the piece. Creativity often happens when our brains are given the space to combine interesting information in new ways. So, when you’re looking for a change of scenery, choose places that help you get your mind off the problem or task.” — Michele Markey, Vice President of Training Operations, SkillPath
61. “When I am looking for inspiration, I like to visit the South Shore on Long Island. It’s not far from where I work. I love walking along the boardwalk with the view of the white sand beaches. My favorite time of the year is spring or fall, when the area isn’t full of tourists and the weather is still pleasant. The South Shore reminds me how small humans are compared to the vastness of the ocean. It opens my mind to new possibilities.” — James Feldstein, President & Owner, Audio Den
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