Anyone who creates regularly knows that creativity ebbs and flows, and inspiration is constantly found and lost.
It’s great when you’re hitting your stride and you can’t keep up with all the great ideas that are coming to you, pushing you forward as you continue working towards your goals. But, what happens when the well from which you draw your best ideas runs dry?
It happens. I’ve been there. When it seems like there’s no inspiration to be found anywhere, it can be hard to create anything, and it can feel like you’ll never be able to produce anything worthwhile again.
But, I’ll tell you a secret: that inspiration that so quickly (and sometimes dramatically) disappeared into thin air always comes back. Always.
If you’re desperate to fill your cup again, here are some tips for unearthing the inspiration you need, in order to get back to doing what you do best.
Watch a new movie
Watching a movie is like escaping into a different world, isn’t it?
So, what better way to give your brain a much-deserved break, than by entering a world you’ve never been to before and watching a new movie?
This can be a film in your favorite genre or, if you want to really push the limits of your comfort zone, you can choose something in a genre that you’ve never dared to explore before. (For example, if you usually watch rom-coms, try a thriller, or vice versa).
It can be so easy to get stuck in a routine, and when you find something you love, it can be really easy to continue . After a while, though, doing the same thing over and over again can result in boredom, which can lead you to hit those dreaded kinks in your creative process, because your brain isn’t absorbing anything new.
Sometimes, your mind just needs a simple switch of the old gears to unkink that chain. Watching a new movie can be one of the easiest ways to do that.
Read a book
Reading is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. Besides the fact that it’s one of the greatest sources of learning and entertainment that humankind has to rely upon, it can also revive your vocabulary, expose you to different sentence structures, allow you to “meet” new people (i.e.; characters), and bring you to encounter new places and different themes with which you don’t have personal experience.
In short, if you’re a (song)writer, reading can do wonders for your writing and composition skills.
Personally, I’m not always able to get around to reading for fun as often as I’d like. But, I find that every time I do, I’m more inspired, feel more excited, and just have a better attitude toward writing in general.
Whether you’re writing a song or a musical, an advice column for fellow musicians, or keeping up your own blog, you will encounter moments when you’re too burnt out to string even one sentence together. And, when you’re writing regularly, this might be happening more often than you’d like. Stop forcing yourself to squeeze words out of an empty well, and read a chapter or two from a book. Any book, no matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction, or even a couple of magazine articles. Many times, it can be just what you need to get the juices flowing in the right direction again.
Observe the world around you
From songwriters, to authors, to filmmakers, so many creative minds have found their greatest inspiration when they’re observing everyday life.
If remote working has had you cooped up in the house for too long, take the time to venture out and go somewhere new. Go to the beach, the coffee shop on the corner, the new restaurant that just opened up downtown—anywhere that’s new to you.
Experiencing a new environment is extremely beneficial for our mental health and well-being. It breaks us out of the monotony which keeps us in an unproductive drought. And, you never know what snippets from conversations you’ll overhear, or interactions between strangers — or with strangers, if you’re an adventurous extrovert — that you’ll find. Just a simple phrase can spark an overflow of ideas.
When you get out and experience the world—when you get out and really live—that’s when the magic happens. So, search for and savor those moments that can reignite the fire within you. Those moments can lead you to your next big idea, whether it’s the subject of your next song, or the concept for a new album.
Take a shower
If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you’ve learned a thing or two about sensory deprivation. However, you don’t have to immerse yourself in a scary water-filled tank to benefit from its effects.
In addition to being a nice break from the chaos of the day — not to mention, the constant bombardment of news and technology — a hot shower sometimes seems to hold the keys to the universe. Especially when you’re stuck in a rut.
The heat and the noise of the water rushing over you can be enough to separate yourself from the hectic madness of daily life. This may give your brain the space it needs to refocus and find the answers it’s looking for.
Heck, they even make waterproof notepads now. You can jot down those brilliant ideas that come to you while you’re washing your hair.
It’s great to have a never-ending flow of inspiration, but we all know that isn’t realistic. Unfortunately, the inspiration we need to produce our work can sometimes run away from us and go into hiding.
It won’t be lost forever, though. You just have to know where to look to find it again.