The feeling of being inspired can be elusive, but for a creative professional, being able to create and call upon inspiration is a skill you can learn and perfect.
My last post talked about being thankful for the feeling of being inspired and being able to create. When inspiration strikes it can lead to creative magic. But what happens when there is nothing left in the bucket? I’ve heard the term “uninspired” or creative block. It’s hit me from time to time, but for a creative professional who needs to produce every day, this excuse is not an option. It’s rare that inspiration just “strikes” out of nowhere. There is usually something that inspires us and creates that spark. So when it doesn’t happen naturally — what do you do?
Here are a few tips that might spark your ignition.
Take yourself outside of your element.
Do something to switch up your normal routine. Take a walk, drive down a new street, change where you’re sitting, stream new music. The smallest change can cause your brain to snap out of automatic-mode and spark an idea.
Open your eyes!
No matter where you are, what you are doing, there is inspiration ALL AROUND YOU! All you have to do is open your eye and look. Really look. That book that always sits next to your computer… pick it up. Look at how the pages are laid out. Look at the colors they chose for the cover. Look at the dedication page. Pick up the coffee bean bag while you’re waiting for it to brew and read the messaging on it. Walk down the isles at a wine store and really inspect at the labels. There is inspiration waiting for us in everything we blindly pass by. Slow down and look.
Surround yourself with things you love. A book you picked up in Italy. The mug your son gave you on father’s day. A hand-written note from your grams — anything that makes you remember a time or place when you felt a strong emotion. Allowing yourself to tap into that energy can spark creativity and jet your juices flowing.
Repeat when necessary.
Sometimes you can get inspired by the same types of things or situations. For me, labels and signage are my go-to. When I need a jolt of creativity I’ll walk down a street full of storefronts or duck into a sweet little boutique or tattoo shop and start snapping pictures. Pretty soon I’m in the zone with ideas zipping around in my head and brimming with excitement. Take note of what does this for you and go seek it out when you need a creative zing.
Watch other creators create.
Creation is inspiring in and of itself. I am often in awe of creators in other industries and practices. Singers who can stand alone on a stage with bold confidence and present themselves in such a bold and naked way. Actors can create such intense, raw emotion that it makes their body shake for a situation that isn’t even real. A visual artist who uses a medium to perfectly depict a thought or emotion that previously only lived in their head. The small choices they all make. The practice and discipline they have done to perfect their craft. They made something new that has never been seen in the world before and will never be done in the same way again. They have literally changed your life by doing what they are best at. How can you not feel inspired after that?
Do amazing things.
This last tip is more of a way to live your life to make sure you are feeding your soul. When you feel empty, it’s hard to create. Do things on a daily basis that make you feel love, peace, energized, glee or excitement. Do things that make you feel alive! There are so many ways people get this feeling. For me, it’s going to a concert and being surrounded by the sounds, energy, and love of the music and artist. Or watching an epic movie or Broadway play… These types of experiences make me feel refueled and filled up and I am able to draw on those feelings again when necessary.
The point of this post is to realize that inspiration isn’t an elusive beast. Creating the necessary inspiration to produce something is a skill that you can learn and hone and are fully capable of conjuring yourself. The bucket is never empty — you just have to fill it up from time to time.