What techniques are most helpful for thinking creatively?
Creativity is tied to enjoyment, love and passion which again can be linked to a genetic predisposition about your personality to a certain degree. I'm a songwriter and upcoming author and whenever people ask me how to be more creative my answer remains the same:"Derive inspiration from your surroundings and artists you look up to and create your own fantasies by enmeshing these influence into your own creative persona thus creating your very own idosyncratic art".
In very simple terms, you either have it or you don't. A naturally unpassionate person who is emotionally stunted by the talented creators standards will never be able to be a creative genius in any field no matter how much he tries.
And working hard in the creative field is a paradox, a creative person doesn't feel like he's working in the classical sense. A creative person is to focused on the enjoyment that he derives from the success due to his innate ability. The only reason why I'm not spending more time on fullfilling my life-goals every day is because there's only 24 hours that you can spend on working on your passions. The mindset between a creative genius and a normative person is far too different for the average person to grasp, thus said person will never amount to much in any field where creative competitveness is require. A truly creative person does not require any advice on how to be inspired to work more creatively, he will find means to do so by himself for it's his nature, the essence of his self.
There are matters in life that you can succeed at with hard work and dedication. Creativity is not one of them. Well born is better than well attempted in this case. All the advices that fellow quorans have posted only apply if you're a creative person to begin with. The uncreative reader will not magically attain an exuberant mind full of wonderful thought patterns because of those stimuli to improve yourself in this regard.