I’m always trying to develop and compile creative thinking starters. You can never have too many ways to dependably engage your creativity.
The fifty-five creative prompts have been kicking around for years. Originally, they felt like a book, or maybe a new eBook. They remained in the spreadsheet where I originally wrote them, though, and nothing happened. The other night, I looked for them, finally discovering that they only existed on an external USB drive.
I opened the Excel workbook, saw how I’d categorized the fifty-four (at that point) ideas, and decided they needed a fresh creative perspective. I pasted the list into ChatGPT, asking for a its categorization approach. Of course, I tweaked the AI output to get this list of fifty-five creative prompts (adding the final one about using AI as a creative collaborator).
When you’re stuck creatively, try one of these prompts to go further. If you want to move in a different direction, try a prompt. When your creative direction just bores you to death? You know what to do: try a prompt to inspire something that motivates you in a new way.
55 Creative Prompts!
Tweaking Your Creative Process
- Start with a little idea and get completely carried away with it.
- Add things to your creative ideas, then strip them away, then add others back in.
- Continually revise and tweak your work.
- Change things all the way up to the last minute.
- Use the creative moment right now to create everything possible before the moment disappears, never to return.
- Quit worrying so much about quality: create, finish it, ship it, and do another.
- Live with your creative ideas for some time before executing them.
- Force yourself to create in a narrow window of time.
- Create one version of something to test, then recreate it completely differently.
- Redo old creative output like you'd always intended it to be.
- Re-purpose things that have nothing to do with your creative area and create with them.
- Take more time to create than you usually do.
- Ask people to introduce you to potential creative partners.
- Gather a creative posse for inspiration.
- Share your creativity with someone else who adapts it, then adapt what you do based on what they did.
- Test your creative idea in front of many different people.
- Collaborate with someone unexpected and apparently unqualified who is really talented.
- Remove any boundaries between creative collaborators.
- Have someone dare you to turn their ideas into creative output.
- Put your collaborators in the position of guessing your creative expectations.
- Incorporate creative influences from those around you.
- Only create in a group.
Play The Numbers Game
- Execute a big idea as simply as possible by continuing to remove steps, parts, and complexity.
- Concentrate on one style of creativity while you abstain from others.
- Double the length, volume, or size of your creative output.
- Create a trilogy with a new theme you haven't used before.
- Arrange multiple creative works in a variety of ways.
- Create something in multiple genres/formats.
- Work in as many creative styles as possible all at once.
Use Differences for Inspiration
- Consume as much inspirational content from varied sources as possible to discover and "steal" ideas.
- Use outside influences that you reinterpret in your own style, playing to your capabilities.
- Put completely separate influences together in a way maybe no one else sees.
Put More of You in Your Creativity
- Create all by yourself.
- Create something opposite of everything else going on currently.
- Create something unlike anything you've created before.
- Study intensely to learn another creative medium/outlet.
- Replace a typical/familiar creative tool with something different that fulfills the needed task in a different way.
- Create in all the old-fashioned ways.
- Do something new creatively where it's fresh and unfamiliar so you can create a lot of content in a hurry.
- Create things that feel right, even if you don’t understand them.
- Ignore your audience and create something for you.
Immerse Yourself in Creative Environments
- Express everything about the place (physical, mental, etc.) that you are now.
- Open yourself to divine creative inspiration.
- Go somewhere completely new to create.
- Create a creative platform that inspires many additional works.
- Create for right now, not what you've created in the past.
- Always capture your creative output in case something brilliant happens by accident.
- Move to a new place (geographically) and immerse yourself in it.
Experience the Experience!
- Continually immerse yourself in new experiences.
- Create in an uproar.
- Create in peace and quiet.
- Get drunk and create.
- Never let boos deter you when people don't understand your new creative direction.
- Create in mystery.
- Use AI as your creative inspiration partner.
What inspired this list?
The inspiration for this list was an album-by-album recap of Bob Dylan’s career. I read all the stories and captured how Dylan tweaked his creative process as his career developed (other than number 55, but who knows, he’s probably used AI, too).
As my thanks for perusing the list, here are the best and second best guitar solos ever, IMO, for inspiration. From Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary tribute concert. Which was 30 years ago. Lord, time passes quickly.