How to get started when you don’t know what creative project to start

Coming up with ideas can be challenging. Luckily, we have some tips to help you overcome that mental block! 

How to get started when you don’t know what creative project to start

Don’t fear the blank page! It may look intimidating, with its plainness and mockingly simple appearance, but an empty page can be your friend if you let it. An empty page means that you can make all the creative decisions, get inspired by anything and get started on shaping something brand new. 

But how to get started if you have no idea where to begin? We’ve put together a list of handy tools and techniques you can use to eradicate the blank page.

Write down anything

Simply writing down any thoughts is a good start, it can loosen up your thoughts. 

Look for inspiration

Search books, YouTube, TikTok, your local library, and your friends' follow list on social media. Explore as many different artists as you can, and think about if you were to mimic it, what things would you change? 

Bullet-train list of ideas

Make a fast list, as fast as you can, of all the things you could do. It could be something silly, such as making paper hats in your local library. Or something enormous, like creating a giant mermaid statue out of all the rubbish dumped in your local area. Whatever comes to mind, be a yes-man to your ideas and let them live on the page. 

Mind-mapping tools

Create a mind map. You could use an online tool such as Mirco.com to help you, or do it the old-fashioned way and use a paper and pen. Mind maps are where you create a spider leg for each item, idea or thought you want to capture. When you’re happy you’ve written down every idea you can think of, stand back and see what you’ve got. 

Use an AI writing tool

There are hundreds of these online. Tell it the topic you’re thinking of working with, and let it write. It might just be the genius idea you’re looking for! 

Do a workshop

There are plenty of free online taster courses you could try or even free YouTube videos where artists want to share their skills. Why not try a few and see what you fancy?

Create a mood-board

Be it online, on paper or on your phone, use images instead of words to tell your story. Images can help loosen up your brain and get you thinking outside the box. 

Blue-sky thinking - what’s the big idea?

How big can you go? Refrain from feeling silly about your ideas and just go big. If money, resources and time were no issue, what would you really like to do? Make a note of it all. 

Chances are, you’re not in the position right now to make this idea happen. But, is there a miniature version of the big idea that you can initiate? What would need to happen to share this idea with others? 

What don’t you know?

Once you have your list/scrappy notes/images of what you want to achieve, think about all the different steps you need to take to get there. Ask yourself: 

  • Do you need to create something physical?

  • Do you need materials?

  • Do you need a budget?

  • Do you need sketches/drafts of what it will look like?

  • Do you need outside expert advice?

  • Do you need a marketing plan and an audience?

  • Do you need a venue?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the answers at this stage. Acknowledging what you don’t know can be just as useful as thinking about what you do. 

Talk to yourself

No, I’m not going mad. Talking about your project out loud can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Record yourself on a Whatsapp voice note or video app. You could even chat with a willing friend or participant and get them to take notes and ask questions as you go. Often, when we bounce ideas off others it helps us understand what we do and don’t want to do.

Header Image Credit: ​Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Author

Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the an editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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