Inspiration & Creativity: Lost And Found


Every creative and artist out there has experienced, at least once in his or her  life, a creative/inspiration slump. It unwelcomingly rolls in like dense fog, casting a thick, heavy blanket over your brain. Thoughts and ideas come to a screeching halt, refusing to move forward. Visions and feelings become clouded. Pinched writing and forced actions take place, typically leaving you unsatisfied. Doubts pour in and you don't know how to improve. These things happen -sometimes often- and they're not good. However, life doesn't just stop along with your inspiration. There are blog posts to be written, images to be captured, and other artwork to be created. Many freelance artists live solely off the income from their work so they must continue on even if they aren't feeling that spark, and so it goes. While pushing through is the main key ingredient to finding that inspiration again, there are other things that can be done to help the process. Suddenly you find yourself standing in the aisles of admirable but infrequently visited supply stores, staring at the rows of brushes, watercolor palettes, and other neatly organized art tools. Maybe you're scrolling through Tumblr and Flickr, searching for photo sets to spark your own inspiration. Here are some tips that may hopefully help you the next you experience a creative slump:

Save what inspires you
I like to keep little inspiration archives all over the place. Pinterest is a great tool for cataloging your inspiration online; I have a hidden board with things filled with things that spark ultimate joy and bring copious amounts of inspiration. But while Pinterest is awesome-sauce, don't forget to do some of the same thing in the real world as well. Store some books and magazines and on a shelf that fill you up with ideas. Keep a folder with magazine cut outs. Display artwork. When you have moments of creative frustration, go back and look through these things and let them fill you back up.

Write, write, write
Putting pen to paper is one of the best ways to get the creative juices flowing. Let it flow as it comes, raw and unedited. It will provide a great starting point for whatever you're doing. Even when you think you have nothing to say, just start by writing about the days occurrences, detailing in the feelings and other senses. Don't worry about grammar. Let it be messy, and just write. It will most likely turn into something more idea/emotion driven.

Talk it out
If you have friends in your creative circle, talk to them about your slump. Tell them how your feeling and the overall effects. Sometimes you get so stuck in your own mind that you don't even see the obvious alternatives out there. Sometimes talking to a friend, or even just someone you admire in  creative aspect can help shine light on a different perspective and open a whole new door for experimentation. If you don't have a mentor or friend to talk to, trying meeting someone! Join a class, travel, maybe even try reaching out to someone online. Talking to others will spur new ideas and all it takes is that tiny whisper to get the brain going again.

Truthfully, my inspiration has many times left me, wandered off into some unknown dusty corner, and got real cozy, leaving me to coax it back out again. I've run out of things to write about and I've run out ideas and visions for my photography. Take note of things that inspire you creatively and intertwine those things into your daily lifestyle. Maybe it's listening to music, reading books, or taking walks though the forest. Creativity is just like a muscle - it can be built, worked up, and flexed. But when you allow it to soften, it's not as easily regained unfortunately. Lack of inspiration can really rain on your creative parade, and really the only thing that can be done is to just push through. You can play the blame game for awhile: the weather, the season, your lack of energy - but then seek a solution. Remind yourself why you started in the first place. Write through your slump and be sloppy. Also, let it be known that creativity blocks can often times push you somewhere new. That momentary frustration you feel is often what propels you forward. Allow yourself the idea that eventually the wall will break, the fog will lift, and you'll be back on track.

8 comments

  1. When I am in a creativity slump, I always find that taking a break helps.

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  2. Yes! I love this! I have like 2 million lists rolling around - but that just means I won't get writer's block!

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  3. Yes!! I've had so much trouble finding what to write about on my blog... making lists, keeping lil' snippets of inspiring stuff, etc all of those things have been pretty beneficial.

    Another thing I'd suggest is doing something that's creative but also either entirely different from what you're stuck on or something entirely out of your wheelhouse. I got into candlemaking, decided I wanted to design labels for them, and the spark was back for me for my graphics design.

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  4. I think that it's normal to go through a creative slump at some period of your life. I really like your tips. I tend to keep a notebook by my bed so I can jot down ideas as they come to my mind.

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  5. I know what you mean about lack of creativity. Whenever I get in a slump, I tend to get caught in a vicious cycle of comparison and not thinking I'm good enough and not being motivated to create new content or write... which is especially difficult when it comes to blogging and you're constantly in need of new content! Sometimes I like to take a step back and just not think about blogging at all. Taking a break is usually what I need as it's easy to get caught up in it all.

    Heather | stormywheather.com

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  6. Great suggestions to get out of that slump. Whether your an artist, journalist or photographer. I know sometimes I want to make something and can't quite narrow my search so I jump on Pinterest which quickly helps me decided on several things.

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  7. I am a creative and artist at heart and now a photographer. I haven't done nearly as much things that I would like to do lately. But when I was creating regularly, I did find that pulling from things that inspired me was most helpful.

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  8. Love this sentiment! I feel that through blogging, writing, and photography that my creative genius is unleashed!

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