Like true love, the best ideas have a tendency to appear when you’re least expecting them – showering, drifting off to sleep, enjoying a hard-earned box of doughnuts… But when you need to summon some inspiration, all too often creativity pulls a classic ghosting move.
Unlike your typical Tinder date, though, there is a way to make creativity reappear in your time of need. Try these apps to get your bright ideas flowing again.
Sometimes all you need to get creativity back in your corner is to stretch your mind in a different direction. Enter: HaikuJAM. This minimalist app for iPhone and Android allows three users to collaborate on a haiku poem. One user starts with a sentence of five syllables, the next contributes seven syllables or more, leaving a third to complete the “jam”. Seeing how strangers and friends take your idea in a different direction is practically guaranteed to get your sluggish brain firing.
Convinced you’ve got a bestselling novel in you, but can’t get started? This app is your new BFF. It’ll give you prompts to start writing a narrative, then throw ideas at you whenever you hit a stumbling block: think ‘add a character who…’ and ‘create a scene in…’ You might not end up the next J.K. Rowling, but it will give your creativity muscles a flex. You can adjust the time between prompts and, if you’re brave, share your stories, too.
If you suffer severe decision fatigue, try Unstuck – it’s designed to help you with any kind of brain freeze, whether it’s a relationship problem or an inspiration funk. The iPad app will ask you questions to pinpoint the problem, help you diagnose your particular brand of stuckness, then offer tools to get you motivated and finding new possibilities. Creativity can go missing for all sorts of reasons, so this methodical approach is a smart way to move forward.
4. Meditate Me
You might have heard a rumour that meditation is crazy good for creativity – it’s all true. This app, though, adds a little extra somethin’ to the standard guided meditation service: binaural beats. They’re sound waves that “tune” the brain into the ideal state of consciousness for relaxation, learning, sleep and, yes, creativity. Choose your preferred state from the guided meditations in this app (tip: alpha’s the one you want for a stroke of genius) and spend your daily om-time prepping your mind for a breakthrough.
Like the sound of 200 shiny new ideas in the palm of your hand? This genius little app will become your creativity incubator. Choose from inspirational prompts like trigger words, quotes, questions and images to generate a cascade of ideas. You can use it as a brainstorming tool when you’re stuck on a problem, or schedule a daily “brainsparker” to get into a creativity habit. It’s just for iPhone for now – there’s an Android version in the works – but you can find plenty of free creativity tools on the Brainsparker website.
Forget sticky notes and whiteboards, when your thoughts are in a scramble this elegant app will help you find the clearest way forward. SimpleMind is a mind-mapping app for desktop, iPhone and Android users that allows you to analyse your thoughts in a freeform virtual brainstorm. You can add images, photos and voice recordings and keep multiple mind maps on the one (never-ending) page. Perfect for working your way out of a creative muddle or taking a spark of inspiration to new levels.