How to inspire creative thinking: 7 top tips from a self-employed creative

How do you inspire creative thinking? It’s a question I’ve been asked in my 1-1 mentoring sessions with fellow creative business owners, and it’s something I’ve pondered myself in my early years as a self-employed interior stylist and art director. 

What I’ve learned, is that there’s no cheat code for boosting creative thinking – plus, everyone’s different, and we all gain inspiration from varying sources. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to spark creativity, though. I like to think of it as a toolbox of habits I can feed into my daily routine (or tap into as need be) to create an environment (both physically and mentally) within which I can provoke creativity. 

Everyone’s toolbox will look different, but I thought I’d share mine – the six habits and activities I, personally, lean on to inspire creative thinking – to help you discover what makes your brain tick. Keep scrolling to read through all six. And, if you’re looking for specific help with growing your creative business – whether advice on how to market your product or tips for pitching – check out Pip’s Learning Academy, my collection of 11 short courses for creatives.

Sage green living room with black fireplace, gold mirror, sofa and brown chest of drawers in alcove
The Sensory Home

How to inspire creative thinking: 7 top tips from a self-employed creative

1. Visualisation 

There are two types of visualisation I tend to practice – the first comes in physical form. At the start of every year, I create a vision board featuring words and images that represent the things I want to achieve over the course of the year, whether dream brand I’d love to collaborate with or a solo project I’d like to get off the ground (last year’s was launching Pip’s Learning Academy, 2022’s was authoring my book The Sensory Home). Revisiting my vision board, whenever I’m having trouble inspiring creativity, helps to remind me why I started and where I’m heading.

Another type of visualisation I like to practice is similar in some ways to meditation; it involves creating a mental image of a future event or outcome, and can help with boosting confidence. Imagining a future where I have solved the challenge at hand, I find, helps to spark creativity. 

2. Connecting with creative peers

What’s especially challenging as a buisness owner or self-employed creative is having less (or no) colleagues to bounce ideas around with. Humans tend to be pretty self-critical by nature, so it may be that you’re quite judgemental of your own ideas, possibly giving yourself a hard time too. When we share our thoughts and ideas with other supportive creatives, however, we not only get feedback – we also get to watch them evolve as everyone chips in to share their perspectives. 

Hearing my peers’ suggestions and receiving their support (and providing the same in return) helps me to think bigger, braver, and more creatively. 

3. Collaborating with others

There’s nothing like a fresh, new project to fuel creative thinking, and teaming up with an admired peer is a great way to get that kick of excitement while sharing the workload so it’s not too overwhelming. Collaborative social media content, such as Reels, TikToks or Lives are a good, often low-prep place to start. Or, you could pair up to offer a giveaway of some kind, or create a new product together. 

4. Switching up my scenery

It’s really important to me – for my personal wellbeing and also that of my business – to switch up my scenery throughout the day. This could be moving my desk from one space to another, nipping to the gym for an endorphin-boosting workout in the am, or heading out for a lunchtime walk somewhere I haven’t explored before. Work can feel quite monotonous when you’re desk-bound, so I find that even little changes can boost my mood and inspire creative thinking.

5. Spending time outside

Research suggests that spending time outside may be helpful for fostering creativity and I, for one, am an advocate. There’s nothing like a walk in the woods to clear my mind and relieve some of the overwhelm to make space for creative thinking. 

I also try to bring a little bit of nature into my office with potted plants and textures such as wood and wicker, to create a more inspiring workspace.

6. Taking care of my wellbeing

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tormented myself for struggling to be creative and then realised that I’ve barely had and water to drink, so it’s no wonder.

My best creative work occurs when I’m well rested, hydrated and nourished, and so I always prioritise regular water and meal breaks during the day, and follow an evening routine to set myself up for a night of quality sleep.

7. Not forcing it

If I’m struggling to complete a task or think of a creative solution for something, and a lunchtime walk hasn’t resolved it, then I try to allow myself to take a step back, do something else for a while, and revisit when I feel more refreshed.

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out my 3 tips for refining your brand as a creative business owner, and my advice for marketing your brand with no budget.


Meet Pippa

Pippa Jameson is an author, tv designer and interiors expert. The previous interior editor on several leading UK titles, Pippa has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Pippa’s unique and creative approach has won her commissions for large retail brands and celebrities to deliver exciting and engaging projects. 

She’s written the curriculum for the British College of Interior Design, produced and styled shoots for well-known brands including John Lewis, H&M & Team GB/DFS, worked as an International Stylist for leading paint brands in Asia, consulted on the launch and creative direction of major retail names including George Home and Wren, and most recently, published her first book, The Sensory Home. Pippa possesses expertise unmatched in the interior industry.