Five Different Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Many suggestions for encouraging creativity involve writing prompts. While writing can clear out the mental clutter, sometimes a different kind of activity is needed to ground you. The following post offers different ways to engage your creativity other than the written word.


Legos have become a major toy franchise, with co-branding, several movies, and now a television show. They come in a dizzying array of colors, combination packs, and builder kits.

But they still hurt like the dickens when you step on them in your bare feet. At least something hasn’t changed.

Legos offer two options for engagement. One is to take a basic set and build whatever your imagination conjures. Another is to take a basic kit such as a car or a house and build that, with or without directions.

If you lack a colorful Lego set, try building with something else around the house, such as ear swabs, popsicle sticks, or toothpicks.

Story Cubes

Rory’s Story Cubes are six-sided dice with images such as an animal, a person, an object, a building, and more.

One dice, for example, includes a camera, a bubbling cauldron, glasses, a pill capsule, a figure pointing, and an elephant. Most of the dice sets center around a theme, such as space exploration, sports, dinosaurs, and mysteries.

Take some cubes, roll them, and then make up a story using the images that appear. The story can be told out loud with other people, or it can be written down or recorded if you are alone.

Newspaper Blackout

This idea comes from Austin Kleon, a creativity expert who has written extensively and enthusiastically about the subject.

Newspaper blackout involves creating poetry by blacking out a newspaper with a black marker to leave only select words readable. The activity involves working with the words available, and no more.

Kleon shares examples of his blackout poetry on his blog.

In addition to newspapers, try magazines, newsletters, or, if you can stomach it, old books.


We often think drawing belongs only to those born with the skill, but arguably anyone can learn to draw with instruction and practice. Mark Kistler makes this point in his book You Can Draw in 30 Days, wherein he breaks down processes and skill in accessible ways.

Use markers and paper, or use one of the wide variety of apps available. Procreate’s Pocket app is a nice one for the iPhone, for example. It has a lot of fun brushes to try.

The point with drawing is not to create something perfect, but to create something. Experiment. See where the lines go. Go where the pen takes you.

Memory Boxes

Joseph Cornell created themed boxes from found objects. His work has been valued as art and inspired others to create their own boxes.

One approach to creating your own box might be visiting a thrift store and looking for objects, either toward a theme that you have in mind or toward a theme that emerges among the findings.

Another approach might be to take objects from within your own home and arrange them in a box that way.

While the items in more traditional memory boxes are affixed, you need not go for the glue if you don’t want to. The collection and selection are the key activities here.

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