Here’s A Quick Way To Stimulate Creativity

Creativity is recklessness. I mean that in the most lofty use of the term. As in the way Henry Brooks Adams uses it here: “The spring is here, young and beautiful as ever, and absolutely shocking in its display of reckless maternity.”

Here are ten quick ways guaranteed (or your money back!) to stimulate creative deconstruction.

1. Find an old book and grab a felt marker and doodle over the top of:

⸋ The Cover

⸋ The Title Page

⸋ The Copyright Page

⸋ Find random beautiful words or phrases, circle them and turn down the corners of those pages

2. Find an old piece of notebook paper, tear it into strips and make a paper chain.

3. Make artistic prints using an ink pad and cut vegetables. (i.e. cut a bell pepper in half and dip the edges in the ink pad for a beautiful pattern)

4. Infuse a random piece of paper with a smell of your choosing.

5. Find a piece of paper and trace your hand.

6. Gather all your pocket lint, grab some glue and create a masterpiece.

7. Draw with glue.

8. Glue a photo of yourself you dislike in a random place and deface.

9. Write or draw with your left hand—or right if you are a lefty. (see graphic)

10. What deconstructively creative and delightful idea can YOU brainstorm as #10?

*These 9 ways are “creatively” adapted from a delightful book by Keri Smith called Wreck This Journal.

34 Responses to “Here’s A Quick Way To Stimulate Creativity”

  1. Jimmy Williams March 21, 2011 at 09:36

    Love it! (btw, your left handed writing is way better than mine. )

  2. if i tried writing with my left hand, it would look like a whole other made up language!

  3. Sit somewhere alone outdoors (in a city park, or garden, or your backyard, etc.). Take plain non-ruled paper and write the sounds you hear WITHOUT using real words. Only write in onomatopoeia-like sounds.

    Then, build a small altar and burn your notes, allowing the sounds to return to the primal warblings from which they came.

  4. Juggle. It gives your body something to do and engages a portion of the brain for the hand/eye coordination but the rest of the brain is free to work and wander and connect the disconnections.

  5. Man, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Currently having a mental block with a pitch letter that I’m trying to write . . . going to try the first one – maybe I’ll randomly circle a word that will unlock the clutter that is my brain this Monday!

    Actually – making a phone call usually can unblock me from torpor. Not returning a call, but initiating one. It seems to trigger forward momentum for me – something about being active rather than passive. Not sure if that’s an issue for others . . . but it sure is for me.

    Hmm – I used the word “torpor” above. Nice word. Maybe the unblocking has begun . . .


  6. Randy,

    I like to get out of the house or office, that in and of itself can make a big difference. At the office we schedule time out several times a week to get ice cream play with RC cars, etc. I find that those times can be very freeing creatively! I will also have office “surprises” from time to time. They are a big hit. In our business, I need and our clients want the creative juices flowing.

  7. Wine, cooking, espresso, stogie, amazing song… In that order:-)

  8. I do SO agree my brotha!

  9. i find it interesting that most of these are things that small children would not have a problem doing with glee… i think that says something about needing an inner child.

    personally sometime i take random objects from my “found” box and work on a piece of jewelry or doodad.

    this post also reminds me of a young college student taking “art for elementary school teachers” who was distraut because her instructor required that the class pour out their brand new crayons, throw away the box, break EVERY ONE, and take the paper off a certain number of the parts…. the teacher wanted to give them freedom from the tyranny of the perfect.

    you just make me think “wow,” randy…..

  10. I will often head over to and use a set of flashcards to stimulate or unstick my brain. Sometimes a choose a set from an appropriate category, sometimes I choose randomly. The point is to move away from my set patterns into other ways of thinking.

    I took the idea from the Methodology app on my I-phone, before I went back to Blackberry.

  11. Number 10. Break Rules!

    I once invented a whole new and better job by doing this. I was a sales rep in our company (and hating it!), so when we began carrying a new product line, I learned it better than anyone else. Soon, other sales reps were calling me to see if I could “sneak” into their territory to demonstrate it for their customers too! I did so, until my manager found out, slapped me on the hand… and then asked if I’d like to leave sales and do this full time! : ) We had never had a product specialist before and we ended up creating a whole new department which I got to lead, and for 2 years, we were the number one reseller of that product in the nation. THAT was fun!

    I’ve recently done it again, by spending too much time with video cameras, and have since created an online TV Channel for our company. The company is now building me a studio! Ha!

    Nothing really gets started without pushing the envelope as it were : )

  12. I love that journal! And I love your lefty drawing!

    Great tips, Randy. Thanks for spurring us on.

  13. With 3 of these requiring glue, I’d be pretty, um, “creative” after whiffing those fumes.

Created by Randy Elrod

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