It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, sometimes it can be difficult to get a new idea or the inspiration to create something.

Getting creatively stuck like this can be hugely frustrating, especially if you don’t know how to break out of the rut, but luckily there are some great examples of how the best creative minds in history got their best ideas.

Here are the stories behind their tips for finding inspiration, which ones will you try first?

1. Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky was one of the greatest composers of all time, but even he occasionally found himself unsure of where to go next. And when he did? He stood on his head. Stravinsky found that headstands were the perfect solution, saying that it: “Rests the head and clears the brain.”

2. Salvador Dali

Dali used to go to sleep in a chair, holding a metal key over a plate, and as he drifted off, he’d drop it and wake himself up, fresh with the memories of the freaky visions he’d seen in between sleep and waking.

3. Honoré de Balzac

Writers and coffee is hardly a new association, but this French romantic novelist took things to completely new levels.

To fire his imagination, he’d drink 50 cups of coffee a day, which presumably at the very least stopped him falling asleep at his desk.

4. Nakamatsu Yoshirō

When you’re the kind of inventor who has over 400 patents and numerous products to your name, it must be difficult to think of something new, so Yoshirō has taken to a rather drastic approach to fire his creative muscles. He goes underwater to think up an idea and doesn’t come up til he’s either found one or is about to die, because apparently that helps him think.

5. Steve Jobs

As you’ve just seen, not all of these ideas are ones you should try at home, and here’s another one you might want to swerve.

Steve Jobs helped establish Apple as digital giants with the iPhone and iPad, and the way he used to help himself come up with such ideas was to splash his feet with water from the toilets at work.

6. Truman Capote

If you’ve ever been hunched over your writing desk, waiting for inspiration to come, maybe you just need to change your posture. It worked for Truman Capote, who used to write while lying down, with a glass of sherry in hand, describing himself as “A completely horizontal writer.”

7. Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel’s most famous creation was a Cat In A Hat, but it was a Writer In A Hat who came up with the ideas.

He actually had hundreds of hats that he wore to give him inspiration and he spent 60 years adding to his collection as well as writing some of the best-loved children’s books.

8. Agatha Christie

Taking a bath to relax is a good way to stimulate the brain, and that’s how Agatha Christie came up with her legendary detective novels. She added to the experience by eating apples in the bath and leaving the cores on the rim of the tub.

9. Nikola Tesla

We’re not sure how scientifically sound this method of brain-boosting might be, but Nikola Tesla used to prepare his mind for the amazing work he did by using a bedtime routine of curling and uncurling his toes 100 times on each foot every night.

Written By
John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. He is a digital nomad specialised in leadership, digital media and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.Linkedin Twitter