Finding inspiration is a constant battle for creatives. Famously, authors have suffered from writers’ block, and painters have thrown their brushes down in frustration – finding the words or the right subject just refuses to reveal itself.
Inspiration itself is elusive, invisible, and fleeting. It can come to us in different ways, inspired by different feelings, and be completely different for each person, so here are five ways creatives find inspiration.
Take a Break
Walk away for a little bit. Yes, seriously. Sometimes, exhausting yourself trying so hard to crack the problem will make it so much harder.
It can be any type of break. Watching a movie, or playing a video game, can relax your mind and let your imagination run wild. Or maybe you need a break from screens if you are a digital artist. Playing an instrument or listening to music can have the same effect on the mind, as can reading.
Sometimes the best idea is to take a complete break from the situation – get out of your office or studio. This could mean relocating to a cozy café for a treat, hitting the gym, or just going for a walk.
Whether the break you take is mental or physical – just make sure it is significant.
Engage with your medium outside of creation
Google is your friend in this sphere. Whatever is your favorite medium, search out artists like you within that medium – movies, books, history – whatever! If there is a character you identify with then maybe their struggle can help you. Perhaps you feel stuck in a boring routine like Harold Crick, out of time like Gil in Paris, or need to lose yourself like Vincent.
If this isn’t your thing, podcasts are a wonderful way to connect with creatives that you might not otherwise. These podcasts can often talk about their inspiration or work, as well as the business of being a creative in this modern market. Whether or nor you find inspiration in these podcasts, you will at least have listened to an interesting conversation and maybe even learned something.
Social media is often vilified for its time sucking capabilities, but it can be a useful tool to find new artists and inspiration. just remember not to get caught up in the comparison game – you can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Remember what Charles Horton Cooley said - An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one
There are many ways to meditate, and finding the right one for you may take a few tries. Perhaps you want a visualization heavy meditation where a calm voice talks you down a cobbled stone path to a beautiful and peaceful place. Maybe that sounds awful to you and what you need is something to occupy your hands and the active part of your mind while the deeper part rests.
There are plenty of apps and podcasts which can help you form a practice that is helpful to you. If you are religious, you can find guidance from books, websites, or your spiritual leader.
Meditation doesn’t have to be guided, or spiritual in any way. It can simply consist of sitting quietly and taking deep, measured, breaths. Focusing inwards instead of on external stimuli can be refreshing, and those ideas can pop up out of the quiet.
Try a New Form of Art
By trying something completely new you can jolt your inspiration into overdrive – even if the initial result isn’t great quality art. If you usually paint, try charcoal sketching. If you’re a digital artist, try pencil and paper.
This can extend to something physical; learning to dance – or just going dancing – can be the creative release you need.
What has inspired you in the past? Think about which is your favorite piece, think about the scenario around the creation of that work and recreate it in any way you can. This might seem silly – you can’t really reproduce the Spanish seaside in wintery New York City. Except you can. Were you drinking a San Miguel, kicking back near the sea with an acoustic guitar playing in the background? Well, go get yourself a San Miguel and put on a Spanish guitar playlist. If you want to go all the way, you can use an ambient sound mixer to create a layered soundtrack of a bustling café, with the waves lapping on the shore.
So, what inspires you?
There are so many ways to find your inspiration – these are just five suggestions. Sometimes it can just be sitting down and thinking about why you started in the first place.
Do you want to be a great?
Or do you just want to create?
Both are equally valid and worthy to chase. So, find what makes your inspiration tick and pursue what you love.