It’s been a couple of weeks, but I’m finally making it to part three of my new series, Finding Inspiration. If you’ve missed parts one and two, you can check them out here; but Finding Inspiration is a series about what inspiration is, how it influences us as writers and creators, and where we can find inspiration.
Today, I want to focus on that last part, especially since as bloggers, inspiration often seems far more fleeting than we would like. I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve spent staring at a blank screen or notebook, wondering “what’s even left to write about?” It’s a problem we all face, but as creatives we see it more than most: a complete lack of inspiration. While it is different for everyone, this spark that makes us all keep going can be found in certain places, and in certain ways.
Change of Scenery
I’ve written before about my writing process, and how I usually tend to write my blog posts in the same few places: bed, desk, living room couch. Eventually, after hours of using a certain space to spark my creativity and encourage my writing, I can’t find anything creative about the space anymore. It happens to all of us, because we tend to stick to what works. If a certain space or habit has lead to work we’re proud of, we’re probably going to do it again. Eventually though, that space loses what made it work.
After having spent a few nights working in the art studio with my roommate, I’ve found that some great ideas – ones I never would have had while sitting in my room – come to me while there. And the same holds true for sitting on the bus, spending the weekend up the mountains with family, or anything else that varies from where I usually put myself to draw creative energy.
Let’s face it: the Internet is filled with a trillion different things. Probably more than that. And all of that can serve as a place of inspiration for you. A beautiful spoken word piece, or an article that really makes you angry; a gorgeous photo, or a status update your “friend” who you haven’t seen since high-school shared on Facebook…. it can all be a place of inspiration if you look at it the right way.
Now here’s the advice you’re absolutely never going to hear anywhere else, but when your creative juices are completely tapped and nothing’s coming out the other end of your pen, forcing yourself to write anything can help.
I’ve got notebooks filled with terrible poetry, and even more pages that I’ve thrown away over the years because I didn’t like what I’d written. But the thing about all those crappy poems, and ripped out journal pages is that they lead to something I didn’t crumple up or scribble out. Instead, as bad as those pieces were, they lead to something better, to ideas that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Some of us are social creatures more so than others are, but we still all need time away. Especially in a generation so easily connected, it can be difficult to fathom putting our cell phones on silent or leaving them at home. But taking a long walk by yourself, going for a run, or reading a book by yourself can be so much more inspiring than anyone would think on a Monday.
Sometimes, it’s just not going to come to you. Staring at a screen willing the right words to come will only make you more frustrated, and probably less capable of inspiring yourself. Sometimes, just a half hour away from whatever you’re working on can.
So what about you? When you’re creatively tapped, where do you find things to do.