Staring at a blank piece of paper, holding your brain to ransom until it comes up with the goods may sound like the best idea, but you see, I've had an ephiphany! There is a better way that has been staring us in the face all along.
Society is now so obscessed with productivity and economy growth that it shoots itself in the foot and encourages everyone to do the same.
It is common knowledge that we have a work/rest pattern that is essential to follow if we want to operate long term.
I have been working on my now yearly goal to do 100 push ups consecutively. I need a rest day after each work out. Otherwise I don't recover from aching and/or I don't do as well the next day.
You don't even need to work out to know that deprived of rest, your body gets slower and slower (then you feel you have to use caffeine to hack it).
But it's not just us.
Even the soil needs rest to allow it to regenerate itself to yield good crops (hence the now unfortuately defunct practice of fallowing). Otherwise you keep depleting it until it's got nothing to give (then you have to pump it with chemicals but that's another story). So...
Don't play the intensive farming game with your brain. Go organic.
Rule 1: If your brain isn't producing anymore, stop! Let it rest.Take a nap.
Rule 2: If you can't take a nap, perform a task that doesn't require creativity eg. filing or writing your to do list for tomorrow.
Rule 3: Consuming ideas is as important as producing them.
When the creative well runs dry, you can fill it with other unrelated ideas. Go on Youtube, read a book, read my blog ;), dance, sing, do something fun. It may spark another idea.
If you feel your creative muscle isn't big enough for the task ahead, exercise it in short sessions (say 30minutes) rather than long ones. Have as many sessions as you feel comfortable but always remember rule 1!
To finish off, a little story of mine.
Can you now see why the difference in results?
At my friend's, I had a short time to play with so I had to fit in as many small creative chunks as I could without making myself a nuisance or anti-social. I was also looking forward to those sessions.
When I got my own gear, I had no real schedule to play. No limit. So I played way too long. I played the intensive farming game with my brain!