What do I do when my idea factory starts to wane?
I sulk at the lack of inspiration and motivation, wrestle with the desire to quit everything (this blog, a thousand times in the past 2 months), and wonder if I’ll ever create again.
Then I pause, acknowledge the ebb, and eventually persevere.
Within that pause and acknowledgement, there’s a few precursory steps before the process of inspiration-seeking continues.
As inspiration wanes, I have learned to:
- Stop forcing it.
- Take excellent care of myself (usually I’m not feeling 100% during these times).
- Practice patience.
- Do other, unrelated, stuff.
These steps usually ensure the dry times are fairly temporary.
Once the creativity bug begins to bite again, I capitalize on the flow by wisely maximizing my intake of inspiration.
My Go-To Sources of Inspiration
- Embrace each one without agenda or demands
- Approach with bite-sized consumption and without expectations
- Know that offline experiences beat all others
There is no better source for becoming grounded, reset, and in awe of the world once again. Getting outside a little more often than normal is the best accelerant to finding that inner spark of creativity.Getting outside more often than normal is the best accelerant to finding that inner spark of creativity yet again.Click To Tweet
Museums + Galleries
Being in the presence of art is often enough to get the creative juices flowing, but this is where the whole “approach without expectations” tip really comes in.
Seeking a stockpile of art with the intention of mining it for inspiration is counterproductive. You’ll miss the point. Block out enough time to simply wander, follow your curiosity, and truly soak in the pieces that you gravitate towards.Block out enough time to wander, follow your curiosity and truly soak in the art that you gravitate towards. #museumsClick To Tweet
Libraries + Book Stores + Independently Owned Shops
There is something about walking through aisles of books or goodies that is inherently exciting. The tactile experience of leafing through endless pages beats scrolling through Amazon any day.
I threw independently owned shops in this category as well because they are usually curated in a way that invites exploration, curiosity, and joy. Can’t beat that.
Pen + Paper
This is the best and most fruitful tip I can offer. I will often turn off all electronics and force myself to brainstorm with nothing but my own… brain. No keyboards allowed, no pressure to have a genius moment.
Sometimes I’ll simply try to make lists of 20, 50, or 100 ideas. Ideas for recipes, artwork, writing, goals… whatever. The more I challenge myself to keep thinking, the more the good stuff starts to spring forth. There’s more hidden away in our own imaginations than we often give ourselves credit for.There's more hidden away in our own imaginations than we often give ourselves credit for.Click To Tweet
You needn’t set foot on a plane to reap the benefits of travel. Walking into a new neighborhood, exploring a different area of town, or taking a day trip somewhere just a few hours away can bring a refreshed awareness to the world around you. The broader you widen your world, the fuller your archive of experiences and memories to draw from will become.The broader you widen your world, the fuller your archive of experiences and memories to draw from will become.Click To Tweet
And finally, for good measure, a few “online” sources as well..
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched a TED Talk and had a lightbulb/aha moment. Take a pause to see the world through the lens of someone else’s creativity, experiences, or thought process.
I love to revisit movies from long ago, which showcase a different time, way of speaking, standard of beauty, and simpler storytelling.
Especially if you’ve only consumed HD/CGI/visually stunning movies lately, it can be a stimulating (aka challenging) experience to sit with an old black and white one, leaving more room for your imagination to wake up once again.