Who hasn’t found themselves sitting in front of a notebook or computer with inspiration failing to appear? Instead of driving along a brainstorming speedway, you end up stalled out in a procrastinating cul-de-sac. Thankfully, in this app-friendly age, there are many creative muses waiting for you in the Google Play and iTunes stores. Here are six apps that will help inspire you as you start working on your next project.
For: iOS, Android (coming soon)
Out-of-the-box thinking can do wonders to jumpstart your brainstorming. Brainsparker features over 200 creative word- and image-based prompts (like, “Imagine you’re 80 years old looking back; what might be your biggest regret?”) to shift your brain into a different place. In doing so, it activates it in a way that will help you with whatever you’re working on. Brainsparker can be used as needed, but if your creativity needs more regular exercise, the app also lets you schedule it to nudge you with prompts at certain times of day.
For: iOS, Android
One form of visually organization that has become popular in recent years is mind-mapping. A mind map is essentially a stream-of-consciousness flowchart — you draw a core idea in the middle of your page, then start brainstorming outward in the form of branches connected to your core thought. Many programs and apps have come out to more easily enable that process, and SimpleMind is a favorite, saving you the hassle of drawing and erasing. It’s simple and effective, easily enabling you to let ideas flow in mind-map bubble form as you’re brainstorming scripts, shoots logistics, and anything else you can think of.
Trying to work through an idea or project can often feel like you’re running through quicksand. Sometimes the way to pull yourself out isn’t finding a way out at all, but figuring out how and why you’re stuck in the first place. Unstuck is designed to help you with that. Think of it like a virtual therapist for your creativity. First, it asks you to describe how you’re feeling in your “stuck moment,” providing options like “Aimless” or “Hazy.” Then, with a series of questions and prompts, it has you drill down and really explore why you’re stuck. Finding that root cause can do wonders. Unstuck also helps you move forward by providing suggestions and exercises customized to your current situation that you can use to get you back on track.
Inkflow is ideal for those with the natural inclination to brainstorm with images. The app isn’t unlike the popular Paper by 53 in that it acts as virtual sketchbook you can draw in. But what distinguishes it is that you can edit and manipulate any part of an image. You can extract as little or as much as you want, then copy and paste, resize, cut out, move around, and more. That’s especially useful when coupled with the app’s ability to let you take a picture of something you’ve drawn on paper and import it. Brainstorming often depends on flexibility and editing, and that’s what makes Inkflow so invaluable.
For: iOS, Android
Sometimes your brain doesn’t need inspiration, it needs stimulation. Brain Wave can provide that in the form of binaural beats. In short: this is when each of your ears is fed a different tone operating at a different frequency and your brain adapts by blending them together. The result is your brain can be activated to be more productive, creative, or focused. Brain Wave gives you a wide variety of options — individual sounds and specific programs — that you can channel through your headphones to do better work.
For: iOS, Android
What if you could simply spin a wheel for a little inspiration? Brainstormer is an app that lets you do just that to combine plot, subject, and setting/style into a random arrangement you then have to realize. It has three pre-set wheels to choose from (Classic Brainstormer, Character Creator, and World Builder) but it’s adaptable – you can customize those wheels to your liking, or even create your own. Storytellers will probably get the most out of it, but it can easily help others who are looking to think outside the box and apply it to anything they’re working on.
What other apps do you use for creative inspiration? Tell us in the comments!