If you’re a creative person who has ever struggled with finding inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got five tips to ensure you never run out of inspiration in the future. Read on to find out more.
When people sign up for my weekly emails, they receive a welcome email telling them a bit about me and the blog so they get a feel for what I’m about. Then at the end of that email, I ask them to email me back with their biggest creative struggle at the moment. Overwhelmingly, the responses relate to issues of confidence or — and this is the most common one — lack of inspiration.
If you’re one of the people who replied saying one of those two things, just know that I feel your pain. I really, truly do. What is it about any creative endeavour that feels like you’re baring your soul to the world? I don’t even feel like that is an overly dramatic statement, either. Regardless of whether you are creative for a living or you create for yourself alone, there’s something about it that can make even the most self assured person have a little wobble of vulnerability.
Finding inspiration was something I struggled with a lot in the past. These days, I feel like I more or less understand the kinds of things that keep the inspiration flowing for me. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t have days when spending any time being creative feels about as likely as flying off across the rooftops.
So if you ever struggle with inspiration, let’s take a look at 5 ideas that should help.
Take care of yourself
I stand by my belief that looking after your health, both mentally and physically, is a big part of being creative. If you’re running around trying to do three things at once, hardly sleeping, snapping at loved ones, and grabbing fast food that you eat on the go rather than sitting down for a proper meal, it stands to reason that you wouldn’t feel very creative. Let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t feel great at all. Any time you do manage to carve out to spend being creative would probably be better spent taking a nap!
But this is the way many of our lives are — busy and stressful. And when you’re running on empty, creativity really takes a back seat, and your brain doesn’t take in stuff that it would ordinarily find inspirational.
If you can start to take a few actions that are better for your health, like going to bed half an hour earlier, or researching some recipes for meals that are both nutritious and quick to make, you’ll have more energy to spend creatively and you’ll start to see inspiration around you once more.
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Change up your routine
There’s nothing like a regular routine to kill a creative spark. The trouble with routines is that as soon as we get comfortable with carrying out tasks regularly, at exactly the same time and in the same way every day, we stop thinking about what we’re doing and switch over to autopilot.
You might think that’s a positive thing and that it would give our brains more time to think about other things such as coming up with creative projects to try. The reality is the complete opposite. It’s almost like our brains shut down altogether, not bothering to do anything other than the bare minimum to get us through the day, and always thinking ahead to the next routine task.
I know we all have our routines. Day jobs and families means that routines need to be in place to prevent life getting too stressful. But every so often, get your brain out of its comfort zone and give it a little jolt by mixing things up. Could you take a different route to work? Or better yet, could you take a different form of transport altogether? Maybe take a walk on your lunchbreak rather than browsing Instagram or Facebook.
There are many different little ways you can change up your routine, and even small changes can help you to look at things from a different perspective and feel inspired.
Try something new
While we’re on the topic of changing up your routine, how about taking it one step further and going somewhere or trying something completely new? Exposing yourself to different situations will help you find fresh inspiration and even new creative pursuits to try.
Make the effort to find new places to go for a day out. Pay attention to what is going on around you: the sights, the smells, the sounds. Take photos. Above all, be present. Don’t think ahead to what you have to do when you get home, and don’t worry about stuff that’s coming up next week. Let yourself enjoy the moment, and you’ll probably find yourself being inspired in ways you never imagined.
Check out other people’s ideas
The creations and ideas of other people can be a constant source of inspiration. Depending on the kind of creative stuff you like to do, it can help to keep a little stash of inspiration. You could start by creating an inspiration board of patterns, colours and images you love. Make it by pinning things to a cork noticeboard, sticking stuff in a scrapbook, making a collage, or creating something digitally on your computer.
If you like the idea of a digital inspiration board, get on Pinterest. If you like to paint, keep a folder or Pinterest board of (copyright-free) photos that you feel like you might like to paint some time. The same goes for if you like to draw. If you’re a crafter, keep a list of tutorials or projects that you want to try. This is the stuff that Pinterest was made for!
Keep adding to each your inspiration stash so that you never run out. Allow yourself to be inspired by the work of others, but make your own version of it. And don’t forget, give credit where credit is due. It’s one thing to be inspired by what someone else has created, but it’s another thing entirely to outright copy them.
Do your chores
There’s something about mindless tasks that can really help the ideas to flow. Grab the vacuum, start washing the dishes, go for a walk, take a shower… Any task that keeps your body busy but your mind relatively free is perfect for giving your brain the space it needs to be creative.
Don’t push it, just let your mind wander. Try to focus on the task you’re carrying out and what you’re experiencing through your senses. This exercise turns even the most mundane tasks into a kind of meditative experience. Just remember to have something ready to write down the ideas that come to you when you least expect it.
And if you’ve chosen to tidy and declutter in the hope that it might kickstart your creativity, just know that creating space in your physical environment will likely also create a little space in your brain, helping the ideas flow more freely!
So those are my five tips to ensure you never run out of inspiration. Come back to this post every so often to make sure you’re remembering to do all these things, but eventually they’ll become second nature.