How I Stay Inspired
Inspiration is a fickle thing, and as a creative, you constantly need to be inspired to create. Obviously. I've struggled with inspiration a lot in the past, especially when I was in school. These days I find it so easy to create and make, and I'm constantly inspired by the world around me. It's not to say I don't get creative block every now and again--that's completely natural. But when I'm lacking the inspiration to make, I find myself going back to the same habits, rituals, and things that make my mind flow and connect ideas in order to make something original. The list below is in no particular order and sometimes I need most of them to kickstart my inspiration, while other days I just need to do one of them.
Talk to Friends
Keeping up with all my creative friends is probably the biggest way I stay inspired. Seeing people you know who are similar to you doing amazing things is so reassuring. I love asking my friends how their projects are going, what they're up to, and generally just striking up conversation. So many of my ideas stem from every day rants, talks, and catch-ups I have with other creatives. Even my best ideas have come from an every day conversation. I'm lucky to have friends that I can talk to about ideas, movies, TV, music, mental health, philosophies, art... anything! And when everyone is busy, you bet I take it to the internet. Twitter is my absolute favorite way of finding like-minded individuals and striking up conversations and questions. Even if it's not your cup of tea to talk to "strangers" (let's face it, hardly anyone is a stranger on the internet these days), you can still see and read everything they're up to!
I'm a huge bookworm. Reading has always been an escape from reality for me, and there's nothing nicer than shutting the world out and visiting elsewhere for a bit. Reading inspires me in so many ways. I'm a lover of fiction and I find that books that tell a story so different from my own inspire me like no other. Think about it--you're being transported into a world where things and people aren't like what's surrounding you. A lot of the time, you're getting the world view of a totally different person. What's more inspiring than shifting the way you think, see, calculate and connect than doing that through the mind of a stranger (erm, author)? However, non-fiction is also inspiring! I love reading stories about real life creative people, their journeys through life, their ups and downs, and their successes. I feel that if they can do it, so can I.
Stress-Free Making Time
Something that has been a total life-changer for me post-university has been having more free time. I've been able to pick up hobbies, refine old skills, and take on more projects I'm passionate about (like this one!). Something extremely important to me is to allow myself a chunk of time every week to make stress-free art. What I mean by that is basically being creative without an agenda. For example, I usually give myself a chunk of 2-3 hours (depending on how busy I am) to have fun with art every week. I'll pop on my favorite show or series and I'll look through my art supplies. Sometimes I'll just start to sketch and other times I'll have a painting I want to make already in mind. It doesn't matter whether you go in with a plan or not. Just grab some stuff and MAKE. If you get frustrated, move on and start something else. Whatever I end up with, I don't usually show to anyone, and I'm not making anything with a deadline or for a project. It's just for me. I look forward to this night every week because it's me-and-my-art time and it's kinda the best thing ever. Take photos, learn a new song, fill in a coloring book, do a puzzle, free-flow write, the list is endless.
This is something I completely credit to learning when I was in school. I was taught that the "walk away" step in the creative process is absolutely essential. And it is. If you're in the middle of making something and you just can't seem to move forward in the direction you're envisioning, or you know your end goal but have no idea how to get there, then stop. Stop and walk away. I'm serious! This might seem counterproductive, especially if you're working on a deadline, but give yourself time to not think about the project. You'd be amazed at how many ideas you'll get while you're immersed in something totally different. I've had bouts of inspiration while having dinner in the past, and had to drop everything for a minute to make sure I wrote everything down. Then, when I returned to the project, I had a clear idea of what I needed to do to move forward!
Find an Outlet
Creativity is a metaphorical muscle that you need to exercise. If you don't practice creativity, you'll never be inspired. Or it'll take you a lot more to be inspired. If you have a creative outlet that requires you to be creative on a regular basis, you will train your mind to be better at coming up with ideas! This creative outlet can be something like a blog, a band, a book club, a hobby you stick with, anything. Just make sure it's something you won't or can't easily drop.
This may be the most important one. But what else could be so inspiring as witnessing the brilliant art that's readily available to us? Watch amazing TV shows (Black Mirror, Game of Thrones, hey even The Office is amazing), catch great movies (Moonlight, La La Land, even oldies like Trainspotting), listen to music (Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Father John Misty, or whatever your favorite is), and watch your creativity flow. Artists and craftspeople doing great things is on of my biggest inspiration. When I watch Black Mirror I can't help but think about the amazing writing that's happening. When I saw Moonlight I was bewildered by the camera work and music. When I listened to Childish Gambino's new album I was in awe of the amazing music and the way it was produced.
I hope this list was able to inspire you to get inspired. As always, leave some love below, share how you stay inspired, and let me know what you'd like to read from us next. 'Till next week!