Feeling a bit down on your inspiration?
Do you often find yourself staring at a blank page? Has it been a while since you really enjoyed creating anything?
Here are five tried-and-tested tips that will recharge your inspiration almost instantly.
1. Start working!
People think creativity is the result of inspiration. In fact, creativity and inspiration feed each other. The more you create, the more attentive you become to everything around and inside you; and the more attentive you are, the more inspired you get.
What this means is that sitting around waiting for inspiration to hit is just about the best way to chase your inspiration away. Inspiration won’t come without practicing creative work. You use it or you lose it.
Instead of waiting, schedule some time this week to sit down and create. It doesn’t matter what you do or how well you do it; all that matters is that you put in the hours. Do it steadily for a couple of weeks, and watch your inspiration flaring up!
Many famous artists talk about this in quotes and interviews. Check out this great interview with songwriter Nick Cave:
2. Immerse yourself in inspiring stuff
A few years ago I found was so worn down, I couldn’t bear seeing good artwork. It made me feel bad about myself. When a friend showed me a really beautiful concept drawing one day, I just said I hated it for being that good. He said: why don’t you let it inspire you instead of get annoyed?
I don’t know why exactly, but this simple comment was a wake-up call for me. I started spending 1-2 hours every day collecting the best artwork I could find on the net. I put it all in a folder called “inspiration”, and set my screensaver to show it as a random slideshow.
Within a few weeks I found myself in a creative frenzy.
It’s easy to resent successful artists when you feel uninspired. But this resentment is obviously part of the problem, not the solution. You need to fight it, conquer it, put it away, and let yourself get inspired instead of annoyed.
3. Take lessons
For many artists, creativity and inspiration start fading away as life become more and more demanding: career, deadlines, family, paying the bills. Extra time doesn’t happen by itself anymore; you need to fight for it.
One thing that can really make a difference is taking a few lessons. Here’s why:
- Lessons create a legitimate and hard-scheduled creativity time for you.
- Learning a new approach may be all it takes for you all excited and creative again.
- You get told what to do and when. No more confusion and uncertainty; just do it!
A good friend of mine was creatively stuck for a long while. She hated it, but was powerless to break the vicious cycle. One day I heard of a short course I thought would be perfect for her. When I told her about it her reaction was downright hostile! Surprised, I backed off. Then she surprised me again by deciding to take the course after all.
It worked. With a few new tricks and very specific assignments, she found herself enjoying her creativity and liking the results – for the first time in a long while. Pretty soon her mood had completely changed. She was attentive and inspired again, and eager to learn more. The vicious cycle had turned into a virtuous cycle!
4. Try something completely different
Artists can get very critical of themselves. When you know what’s possible and have high expectation, it’s easy to get disappointed. This can sometimes turn creative work into a painful experience – and, consequently, an experience to be avoided. This is generally where creative work ends and procrastination begins.
One idea I found helpful is to do something else for a while – something new, in which I don’t have any reason to expect myself to excel. Such an artistic detour has the power to stir things up, get you excited, eliminate procrastination – and ultimately, re-charge your creative inspiration.
5. Experience something new
If all else fails, if you’re too run-down and bothered and you can’t bring yourself to do or think about anything creative at all, then it’s time to seriously shake things up. What you need is a few days away from your everyday life. You need some fresh experiences!
Here’s the secret to doing it right: you need to be ALONE, even if it’s just for a few hours. Remember, being attentive creates inspiration – and I found that nothing makes me so hyper-attentive as being alone in an unfamiliar place or situation.
A few years after I started in animation, working very hard all the while, I found myself completely drained. I felt at a dead-end, and I couldn’t see any possibility of a bright future. On a whim, I decided to quit my job and go abroad – for the first time in my life. On the plane to Paris, I had no idea where my life was going and what to do next.
I came back a month later, my head exploding with of great ideas that I just couldn’t wait to try out. The two weeks after my return were among the most enjoyable, productive and energetic periods of my life, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that in these couple of weeks I had planted the seeds to many of the successes I’ve had in later years.