As creators building content-focused businesses, we spend a lot of time figuring out how to uplevel our business skills but neglect to sharpen our creator mind.

We learn new tools to find ways to optimize content creation processes. We explore new platforms, looking for new means of reaching our current and potential audiences. We review performance metrics regularly and try new tools for analyzing them to help optimize our content day-over-day, week-over-week, and beyond.

Lately, we probably also spend a good amount of time playing with AI tools to see how their auto-generated copy, images, and more might contribute to making our business more efficient and our processes smoother, cheaper, or faster. 

And all of that is key. But creators often neglect this one thing in our recurring quest for business improvement and growth – the most important tool in a creator business – your brain. 

Tune up your creative brain with these recommendations from @MDeziel and supercharge your #ContentBusiness. Click To Tweet

Producing creative work regularly can leave you feeling tired, uninspired, or even burned out, and that’s especially true if you’re not taking intentional time to cultivate creativity, learn new creative skills, sharpen your creator mind, and find new things to inspire and encourage you.  

These resources can support growth not just in your business but in your creator’s mind:

1. Inspired: Understanding Creativity (book)

A real treat for any creator who also likes history, science, sociology, or psychology, Inspired: Understanding Creativity by Matt Richtel, a science reporter at The New York Times. He takes readers back in time to explore the biological origins of creativity and the benefit it provides in the process of human evolution. 

Matt addresses what makes someone a successful creator and the various things that help (or hurt) creativity, citing a combination of scientific studies and real-life creator case studies. You can get the book from (or wherever you buy books). The Audible version also is worth a listen. 

2. Liminal thinking (skill)

Many creators face internal struggles that get in the way of them reaching their creative potential, and the concept of liminal thinking is a great way to combat those. Pioneered by Dave Gray, the skill of liminal thinking helps creators get out of their own way and consciously overcome stress, limiting beliefs, self-doubt, fear, and all the other things that can cloud your mind and keep you from creating your best work. To learn this skill, pick up a copy of Dave’s book, Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think, or explore his website to learn about the six principles, nine practices, and other resources on liminal thinking. 

#DaveGray's book on #LiminalThinking can help creators like you get out of your own way, says @MDeziel. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

3. The Creative Thinkers Toolkit (online course)

This 24-lecture series from The Great Courses breaks down the components of creative thinking and offers tons of exercises and frameworks to bring out your most creative ideas and stimulate your most divergent thinking. Downloading the video course will run about  $250, but the Audible version is more cost-efficient at just a single credit. (And if you don’t have an Audible account, you can download this course as part of a free trial, the most price-efficient option of all.) 

4. TED Talks: Kickstart Your Creativity (videos)

So many great TED Talks exist on creativity, creating, art, and original thought that it would be tough to choose just one to recommend. Luckily, TED compiled a lot of the best in this helpful video playlist: Kickstart Your Creativity. No matter what type of creative inspiration you’re looking for, this playlist has a talk for you: building creative confidence, finding your creative genius, embracing creative obstacles, and more. 

5. Creative Boost (playlist)

Sometimes doing your best creative work just requires setting the mood with a bit of auditory brain food, and this Creativity Boost playlist does the trick. Since Spotify curated and released this 330-minute playlist in January, it’s already amassed more than 375K likes, meaning you’ll be in good company listening to these songs while you’re creating. 

Quick brain boosts

And for those times when you can’t commit to a whole course, book, or playlist, these resources can be consumed for a quick-hit creative boost. Try any of the 32 quick, easy, and free exercises to activate your creativity from this Inc. list or fire up one of the many random prompt generators on this website for a kickstart. And when all else fails … take a walk, take a nap, take some deep breaths, and have a snack, because if your body isn’t in peak shape, your creative mind won’t be either

Regardless of where you find your inspiration or which format you prefer to consume that information, find a way to make feeding your creativity a regular activity. Add it to the calendar, put it on your to-do list, or find a fellow creator so you can keep each other accountable.

While the tools, platforms, and tactics we use to build our content-focused businesses may change over time, our creativity remains the core of all the work that we do as creators, so it should remain a core focus of our growth efforts too.

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About the author

As a keynote speaker, author, and award-winning branded content creator, Melanie has spent her career developing the skills to think differently and discover new ways to engage audiences through content.

She is the author of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas and Prove It: Exactly How Modern Marketers Earn Trust.”