The worst time to think of ideas is when you’re trying to think of ideas.
Being creative on tap is a bit like being funny on tap. Put a gun against the average person’s head and shout “be funny now or I’ll shoot!” and you’ll end up with brains on your carpet.
To be creative you simply need more time.
If a problem is on your mind, your subconscious will chew through it constantly. Start by priming yourself. Look at the problem. Think about it deeply. Scribble some thoughts. Then leave it well alone.
Usually the best ideas will hit you when life is quiet – like in the shower, or at the edge of sleep. Where you’re tipping in and out of consciousness – during so-called hypnagogia – your creative inhibitions are set loose but you’re still awake to appreciate them. Keep a notepad by your side to capture the moment.
Write down everything that hits you. Most of your ideas will be sewage, and that’s ok. Better to have a constant flow of questionable ideas than to be gummed up and unable to start.
Don’t sweat the bad ideas. Everyone has bad ideas. We’re only ever remembered for our good ones.