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Websites and Apps That Can Boost Your Creativity

John Lahr
September 25, 2018

Even the most creative people sometimes get stuck, students and professionals alike. Luckily in the modern day of digital technology, the next time you hit a wall in your creative process there are some websites and mobile apps that can help dig you out. Whatever the cause of your creative block, something on this list can help.

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When You Are in a Rut

If writer's block (or any creative block) is a regular occurrence for you, the app Unstuck might be the solution. This app acts as a digital coach that over time can boost the user’s creativity by asking thought-provoking questions to get creative juices flowing. Thinking about a problem in a new way can give you the tools to both increase your problem-solving skills and creativity. This app is currently available on IOS.

Critical thinking and higher creativity are both linked with the ability to engage in constructive questioning. By asking you critical questions through the app, you are trained into becoming a more effective critical thinker and asking yourself those questions. The skill of asking different questions and looking at a problem from multiple angles is scientifically linked with higher creativity and criticality.

When You Can't Focus

When you get stuck in the creative process, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back and refocus. When you need a productive break try a little meditation. Meditation has been proven to help with refocusing and boost creativity.

The app Headspace makes it quick and easy to get a little break. It features a daily guided meditation session that can either be 3, 5, or 10 minutes long. Headspace meticulously creates meditation sessions designed so that users get all the benefits of meditating without taking too much timeout of their already busy day. It also features animated videos that explain how to develop the skills of meditation. While the basic app is free it also has in-app purchases available if you want to be a long time user and subscriber. 

The general meditation sessions of this app are a mix of both focus-attention and open-monitoring meditation. This means that within one session, the guide will both have you focus intently on something physical like breathing, but also occasionally allows you to let your mind wander and take note of passing thoughts and external stimulation like smells and noises.

Studies have shown that open-monitoring meditation is good for stimulating creative thought and new ideas, while focus-attention meditation is good for building the skill set needed to refocus. The combination of these two methods in one session means that Headspace will aid in getting creative thought flowing, and your ability to focus, expand, and hone that creative thought when the time comes.

When You Need Inspiration

Often times the key to creating something new is gathering a little inspiration. Inspiration comes in many forms and as such, there are a couple of websites that can be used depending on what kind you need.

The website 99U is centered around creatives and creative thinking. It has interviews, articles, and advice for those in the creative field. It offers articles on general career advice for designers and creatives. It provides insight into how one would get noticed, paid, and hired for their work. 99U also has articles on improving the creative process and staying motivated.

The second website is called The Creativity Post. The nice thing about this website is that while it focuses on innovative thinking, it spans many industries, from the arts to business. So even if you aren’t a creative, you might be able to find something related to your field.

It's important to remember that sometimes looking for inspiration within your industry can be discouraging, so check out some of the articles outside of your field if constantly reading about the successes of others in your own industry is getting you down. Inspiration that sparks a creative thought can come from anywhere.

If images inspire you more than articles, try Behance. It's a platform for sharing digital art of all kinds. You can scroll through the "best of" what people have shared or look by media type including graphic design, photography, video, game design concepts, creative advertisements, product design, and more.

When You Need to Compile Ideas

When inspiration strikes, no matter how small, it’s important to keep track of those ideas. One app that can help do this is Evernote. Users can keep track of notes, to-do lists, photos, and even clipped webpages. So you can keep track of your own ideas and if you find any inspiration from the websites above, you can keep track of those too. Additionally, you can sync it across multiple devices so you can have your notes at the tip of your fingers whether you’re at your desk or on the go. The last advantage to Evernote is that if you are working in a team you can share your ideas and collaborate on notes.

If you prefer to keep track of your ideas in a more artistic way, Autodesk Sketchbook might be for you. As the name suggests Sketchbook acts as a virtual sketchbook allowing users to keep track of artistic ideas, so they are all in one place. You can work through the app to doodle ideas and develop your favorite ones. The ability to upload photos from your phone is another big feature of Autodesk Sketchbook as it allows you to keep track of inspiring photos you take in your everyday life.

Both of these apps are available on the app store for iOS and Android. They can also be downloaded onto a computer.

Creativity comes in waves and sometimes you need an extra boost. Examine what is stopping you from moving on in your creative process. Whether it be a long-term rut, the inability to focus, lack of inspiration, or not being able to compile all the ideas in your head, there are steps you can take to combat any kind of creative block. Once you identify what is in your way, choose your website(s) or app(s) accordingly.

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