I’m a writer…or at least I’d like to think I am. I was recently complaining to my sister that I just haven’t been feeling inspired lately. I just can’t come up with anything to write about. I’m just stuck. So, she says to me, “write about that.”
I said, “Write about what?”
“That,” she said “not having inspiration, and getting it back.”
So, here I am, trying to come up with a bit of wisdom to share with the world about how to go mysterious ways of the often elusive stroke of inspiration.
Now, what is inspiration? Those of you who have had it know what it is. It is that feeling of knowing. Anyone who has tried to write a poem, or a song, or a story or paint a painting, or decorate a room or do anything creative knows what it feels like when you have it and when you don’t. When you have it, everything just makes sense to you. In writing a story you know what the character is going to do next, what he’s going to say and even what he’s wearing at any given moment. In decorating a room, you know where everything is going to go, what color scheme is you are going to use, what stores you are going to shop at. You are on a roll!
However, don’t get too excited. Because inspiration, is not that simple. Inspiration is a tricky little thing. Sometimes, you think you got it, but things are never perfect. There is always room for improvement. You may be writing a story and everything seems to be coming out right, but then you look it over and there are some things that you feel sound a little off. That is not the absense of inspiration. That is just a need for revision. The fact that you have written all that you have written is still a feat in itself. You should not scrap the entire song just because one thing is messed up. The rest of the song may still be inspired. Sometimes, though, inspiration could lead to more than one product. You may find something in the room that you have decorated doesn’t quite fit in the room, but may be perfect from another room, and that could lead to the bright idea of redecorating another room. One thing leads to another and you have two fabulous rooms, all thanks to the this rush of inspiration that overtook you.
Unfortunately, there are times when we are faced with a task, and nothing seems to drive us to be creative. We may have a research paper to write, or a presentation to prepare and we just don’t know where to start. This is when that wonderful inspiration has left us. It can be very depressing. This may be because you haven’t worked on something like that in a long time. Maybe you have been on hiatus and you are just coming back. Inspiration can be hard to find then. Sometime it is because somebody told you that what you have done in the past wasn’t good enough. That can leave you feeling “uninspired”. Perhaps you are intimidated by the work of someone you feel is better than you. Then again, it is possible that you are just new to the game and you are just overcome with the pressure of trying to do well. All of this can leave you feeling less than creative. But lucky for you, there are ways to inspire creativity.
People have done many different things to try to get that inspiration back…some good, some bad. People have tried drinking alcohol to get inspired. They believe that it will release their inhibitions and get them to work freely. I do not recommend this. Alcohol is not a healthy habit. Others have tired recreational drugs such as marijuana, heroine and cocaine. This is another very dangerous thing to do. These things can lead to permanent brain damage. Some healthier things that can get those creative juices flowing include:
- taking a walk: The fresh air, and the stimulation of the outdoors can get your mind working. If you are walking by yourself you can sometimes be alone with your thoughts and come up with some wonderful idea!
- running some of your ideas by a friend: Talking to a friend about some ideas for whatever project you are working on is a great way to get some fresh ideas. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about your ideas will help you to come to the conclusion about whether your ideas are good or bad and help you may even surprise yourself with a new idea or two
- reading a book: There are lots of books out there on any topic you can imagine. Look for one about the topic you are thinking about and it might open you up to some new ideas about it that you never even considered.
- listen to music: Music is actually tuned into the creative regions of our brains. Creativity is controlled by the right hemisphere of our brains which is also where we interpret music. So, music naturally inspires creativity in many people. That is why many surgeons play music while they are operating on a patient, and painters listen to music while they are painting a work of art, and many other people listen to music to help then focus their minds.
- look upon the greats: Whatever you are trying to do, there is probably someone who has done what you are doing, and there are probably some who did it well. Look for great writers, singers, speakers, poets, decorators, cooks, dancers, physicists…whatever. Read, listen to, or observe their work. You may find something their that you want to sample, copy or learn from. You may even find something that you don’t like so you can try not to do that when it is your turn.
- just start working: Whether you’re writing a paper or decorating a room, sometimes it helps to just get started. You may not know what you’re doing, but if you just take the first step you’ll find that you’re much closer to getting the job done. Also, taking an action as simple as buying the first piece of decoration for a room, or writing the first sentence for your paper can set off an avalanche of ideas for what to do next. You’ll find yourself thinking about what would go great with your first idea and what will go great with the next one, and on and on until you have a finished project.
No matter how you choose to get inspired, stay positive. In order to be great, you must take the first step and try!