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31 Ways to Spark Your Imagination

Whether you need some inspiration for an upcoming project—a poem, a painting, a short story—or simply want to play, here’s a list of various prompts to spark your imagination.

  1. Let your mind daydream, and go to silly, strange places.
  2. Buy a small notebook. Think of yourself as a detective whose job it is to pay attention to the teeniest, tiniest details, and record them. At the end of the month, use your random observations as prompts to create something.
  3. Read children’s books.
  4. Put yourself in different people’s shoes, and write mini memoirs from their perspective.
  5. Think about what’s happening in another universe.
  6. Draw yourself as 10 different animals.
  7. Keep a list of inspiring sentences or images (photographs, paintings, sculpture) that make you want to create right now.
  8. Don’t immediately reach for your phone or tablet, and let yourself be bored.
  9. Read a book every day for just 10 minutes (or more, if you have it).
  10. Play with wooden blocks.
  11. Think of something that annoyed you today, and create an invention that makes the annoyance obsolete.
  12. Listen to music you’ve never listened to before. Doodle as you do.
  13. Carry a small magnifying glass with you, and really examine things, like blades of grass, the covers of books, your own hands.
  14. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and draw what you did today.
  15. Pretend your closet is a time-traveling machine. Where does it take you this time?
  16. Look in the dictionary for different names for colors. Then use those names as names for new characters in your new story.
  17. Watch a child draw anything, and mimic them.
  18. Make up your own varieties of plants.
  19. Draw what’s happening right now in the rainforest.
  20. Come up with your own names for “rain.” Here are some examples from the wonderful book Leap Write In! Adventures in Creative Writing to Stretch and Surprise Your One-of-a-Kind Mind: “Soft and Steady on the Steel Blue Roof” “The Mourners Who Left for the Mountains” “The Song of Missing Him” “The Bringing Down of Summer Leaves” “The Smell of Pine Trees” “The Whoosh of Walking through Sand” and “What the Sun Will Never Know.”
  21. Draw the stars in the sky. Make up your own constellations.
  22. Snap pictures of something super boring in interesting ways.
  23. Get paint on your fingers.
  24. Create a menu for a 10-course meal.
  25. Write a letter to a 5-year-old explaining why you write.
  26. Come up with your own names for the moonlight, for love, and for creativity.
  27. Make a list of synonyms for “magical.”
  28. Create your own field guide about anything. Birds. Trees. Animals. Love. Life.
  29. Create an imaginary world by writing about it, or painting it, or doing something else entirely.
  30. Pretend you’re an artist exhibiting your work at a new museum. What is your exhibit all about? What is its message? What are your creations? Maybe even create on or two this week.
  31. Sketch 100 self-portraits in 100 days.

Your imagination is limitless. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle and seriousness of life, we forget that. Try to remind yourself regularly—and give yourself the permission, time and space to play inside your inventive, rich, vast, creative mind.

Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

31 Ways to Spark Your Imagination

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2019). 31 Ways to Spark Your Imagination. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Mar 2019
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