ASK COREY: How Do You Stay Creative?

by Corey Rich

Hey Corey, I’ve been really liking your “Getting the Shot” tutorials for Adorama TV, especially the ones that explore the creative process. I really enjoyed that one where you talk about going to Pakistan and shooting your friends in a snow cave. (Crazy!) There’s just one thing I wanted to know: how do you even come up with some of these crazy ideas? Seriously.


Hey Maurice, thanks for the question, it made me laugh! But I’m going to give you a serious answer.

If you told me I had to sit down in a chair and come up with 5 new ideas, I could do it but it would be a struggle. For me, it’s important to get out of the office and get moving! When I’m out doing something active, that’s when the ideas start coming …

Getting outside and getting my heart rate up—whether that’s on a hike, climb or bike ride—has always been my instinct. But when it comes to stimulating creativity, you hardly ever hear how important it is to be active.

There’s actual science behind this fact. Your activity, whether that’s sitting in a chair and typing on a key board, or peddling up a trail behind my house in Lake Tahoe, stimulates different parts of your brain. There are studies that show that doing something physical—in other words, by taking a “break” from the work-related problem that you’re currently thinking about—actually gives your brain the breather it needs to unlock those super inspired thoughts churning beneath the surface in the right hemisphere.

When you’re outside, you’re getting oxygen and stimulating blood flow—and that can’t be bad for creativity either.

Nietzsche once said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” I agree.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had “Aha!” moments during a hike in the woods or while grinding up a mountain-bike trail. I’ve even been known to schedule important phone calls while I’m actually on a bike ride or a hike!

The real dilemma becomes: well, what do you do about it?

I’ve never been one to carry around a pencil and paper. But I do have an iPhone. I use the dictation feature built into IOS to record my thoughts as they come. It’s not always 100%, word-for-word accurate. But it’s close enough to quickly jot the idea down and not lose it.

There are many note-taking apps for smart phones too, but the best one is Evernote. This app allows you to record audio files, photos, PDFs, and written notes of all sorts on the go. You can set it up so that these notes sync onto your desktop or laptop at home. By the time you are finished with your hike or bike ride, those notes are already there, waiting for you to process them.

So my advice is that whenever you find yourself in need of a new creative idea, the best thing you can do is to get out of the office and go do something active. Just don’t forget your iPhone so you can record that idea and not lose it.

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1 comment

Maya Sugiharto October 3, 2014 - 6:11 pm

I could not agree with you MORE!!
I think our environment plays a very BIG role in increasing / decreasing our creativity.
Living near Lake Tahoe would be HEAVEN 🙂 But what would you suggest one do if that ‘heaven’ is not as easily accessible? Thanks Corey!
Are you in the land down under already? Which part?
Will you be visiting the most liveable city in the world called Melbourne?? Coz that’s where I am 🙂
Coffee?? 🙂

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