Unleash Your Creativity by Doing the Opposite

Creativity is the lifeblood of artists and writers and we often seek ways to generate fresh, original ideas. Sometimes, however, our gut instincts can lead us in the wrong direction, rehashing concepts that we’ve explored to death. Instead, we can explore uncharted territory by deliberately going against our internal instincts. Doing the opposite of what you plan to do can generate more original ideas.

Flip the Script

Doctors do this all the time. When the usual prescription fails to produce results, they switch to opposite remedies. If you’ve been strict with your writing and hit a brick wall, perhaps little time off will do the trick. If you’re used to working in a certain style, delve into a radically different style. The unfamiliarity provides a fertile ground for unique and unexpected ideas to flourish.

Make the Worst Idea

When the well of inspiration runs dry, it’s time to consider if we have the wrong approach. Often we want new ideas to come out fully formed and brilliant on the first iteration. Yet that’s not how our brains work. There’s a difference between sloppy creation and analytical editing. 

Instead, try to generate the worst possible idea. One that totally sucks. Something a hack or beginner writer or artist would come up with. Then you simply revise and improve it. Or even use it as an example of what you don’t want. Pushing against the creative roadblocks can lead to breakthroughs and renewed artistic energy.

Embrace Risk

Creation is about taking chances and not being afraid to fail. Often we stick with the ideas that have worked in the past rather than risk exposing ourselves to criticism and rejection. Better to walk the safe and sure path. 

However, forging out into the wilderness is the only way to become a trailblazer. It is within these vulnerable moments that true growth and creativity can flourish. It’s the only way to break free from the influence of trends and external expectations, and cultivate a more genuine creative voice.


The next time you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, consider going against your gut. Because, if every instinct is guiding you down the wrong path, then the opposite would have to be right. Who knows what brilliance may await on the other side of conventionality?

Tim Kane

Monthly Mental Kitchen

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