You know the feeling. You sit down to work on a creative project and your brain just goes blank. When creative inspiration is stubbornly elusive, most of us turn to the internet for distraction... only to come back to our project three hours later just as stuck as we were before.
But the internet can be your creative ally, not your foe — if you know where to look, that is. These inspiring websites, videos, podcasts, and other resources are sure to rekindle your creative spark.
Browse These Websites for Creative Inspiration
1. Language Is A Virus
A site to cure writer’s block. Daily writing prompts, interactive creative writing games, experiments and exercises, a character name generator, articles on the creativity techniques of famous authors, and more resources to pull you out of a creative rut.
2. Writing Prompts Subreddit
A steady stream of wildly creative, user-submitted writing prompts. Click through to the comments to read other peoples' responses, or just pick your favorite prompt, grab a pen and paper, and start scribbling.
3. Selfless Portraits
Strangers across the world draw each other's portraits. Doodling has been shown to stimulate creativity, so activate a new part of your brain, break through that creative block, and get a cool new Facebook profile photo to boot.
4. The Acoustic Guitar Project
Are you a musician stuck on a set of lyrics or struggling to find your next melody? Plug in to The Acoustic Guitar Project. You’ll get a guitar, a handheld recorder, and one week to record an original song. Use the deadline as motivation, and when you’re done, sign the guitar. It’ll be forwarded to the next musician for inspiration.
If you’re not musically inclined, listen to the soundtrack of previously recorded songs to get in a creative mood as you write, illustrate, edit, etc.
5. Damn Interesting
Fascinating true stories from history, science, and technology to stuff your brain with interesting tidbits. Learn about the furious race between two scientists to achieve absolute zero, the mysterious tragedy of a 1930s ocean cruiser that caught fire after the suspicious death of its paranoid captain, and more strange-but-true stories. Read longform articles (with optional sound effects!) or listen to the podcast versions — either way, you'll pick up some creative ammunition.
6. BrainPickings' Literary Jukebox
A side project of Maria Popova of BrainPickings.org, famous quotes from classic books are thematically paired with a song. Find inspiration and an accompanying soundtrack to fuel your creativity in one beautifully-designed spot.
7. Times Haikus
This site is home to a computer algorithm that periodically checks the New York Times home page, scanning sentences to create spontaneous haikus. Human curators then select the best results to post on the blog. Browse the surprisingly poignant results to get in a reflective or inventive mood, then get your creative juices flowing by picking up a nearby newspaper or magazine (or opening one in a new browser tab) and trying it out for yourself.
8. Do Nothing for Two Minutes
Exactly what it sounds like. This site will force you to take a short break to reset your brain. Don't touch your keyboard or your mouse, or the timer will reset. Just sit back, listen to the wave sounds, and come back to your project refreshed and focused.
Watch These Videos for New Creative Ideas
9. TED Talk: Play This Game to Come Up With Original Ideas
Toy designer Shimpei Takahashi's game shiritori is his foolproof way to come up with new solutions and original ideas. Learn how to play, then see how it can help you tap into greater creativity.
10. How to Boost Your Creativity
Did you know that listening to your favorite music at work can actually make you less productive? This short video is full of quick things you can do in a matter of minutes to boost your creativity.
11. Watch Whose Line Is It, Anyway? clips
Use the zany skits and prompts to get in the right mindset for generating a bunch of new, off-the-wall ideas. Plus you're sure to laugh, which will put you in a good mood and make you more productive.
12. TED Talk: How to Get Out of the Box and Generate Ideas
When someone tells you to "just think outside of the box," do you get the urge to punch something? Easier said than done! Giovanni Corazza steps in with techniques for actually getting outside that proverbial box to promote innovative thinking.
Listen to These Podcasts for New Creative Habits
13. The Accidental Creative
Author and host Todd Henry interviews artists, authors, and other creative professionals for tips on how to succeed in life and work. Each short podcast is 20 minutes or less and features well-known leaders in the creative community, including Seth Godin, David Allen, Gretchen Rubin, Steven Pressfield, and more.
14. Radiolab: Me, Myself, and Muse
Staring at your creative project and drawing a big, fat, blank? Talk to it, out loud, as though it were a person. Ask it what it wants. Tell it to meet you halfway. If a new idea comes to you while you're stuck in traffic, no pen in sight, tell it to buzz off and come back later. This is the technique embraced by famous creatives like Elizabeth Gilbert, Tom Waits, and Oliver Sacks. Learn why it works in this short, 15-minute podcast.
The Best Techniques for Better Creativity
What are your go-to methods for fighting creative blocks? Share your favorites in the comments!