Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feeling a Block? Ways to Find Inspiration!

Do you ever sit down to create and realize that nothing is coming to you? Or that whatever you're trying to do isn't working? But you don't know how to fix it? Or you sit there and sit there and nothing happens? Your muse has left the building.

This can happen to all of us. It's just a case of being blocked and all you need to get past it is a little inspiration! Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere and you've just gotta be prepared to look. Sometimes it can be found in places you'd never even dream of looking, too!

Here I'll list some places I think inspiration can be found. Some of them are rather obvious. Some maybe not so much. If you can think of any, please feel free to comment!

1. Go outside!
Nature is almost always one of my biggest inspirations. Everyone always says "Stop and smell the roses" but when do we do that? Okay, maybe we smell them but how often do we stop and just marvel at their color or the way their petals are so perfectly formed or the curve of their stem as it reaches toward the warmth of the sun? Let the simplest flower be your inspiration. Stare at it. Smell it. Draw it. Close your eyes and pretend you've put it in your hair. Now you'll need an outfit to match, right? Work it!

2. Play with water.
Water is probably my biggest inspiration, specifically the ocean. If you're not near the ocean, look at pictures of it. Read about it. Or discover water in all its other forms. Look at a lake. A waterfall. A stream. Even a dirty puddle on the ground with a sheen of car oil across the top can be beautiful in the right light.

Play with the water. Fill a cup and close your eyes and let it slowly spill out. (Do this somewhere over a sink or the ground, though, or you'll just have a huge mess to clean up and that will surely make your creative block even bigger.)

Swim in it. Do you have a pool near you? A lake or pond or river? The ocean? If you can, go get in it. Feel it flow over you. Imagine yourself a sensuous mermaid or a flirty little fish or a gracious dolphin.

3. Go to a flea market.
Sometimes looking at all the work other people do can either inspire you or show you how NOT to do something. Wander up and down the aisles and pay attention to the colors and textures. Touch things. Talk to the artisans. Listen to what they say. Sometimes I get so many ideas just listening to another artist talk about their creative process. We can help each other even if we don't know we're doing so!

4. Listen to music! 
There are so many different kinds of music that you could listen to a new song in a different genre every day for a month and just think of all the inspiration you'd find! If what you usually listen to isn't inspiring you lately, try something new. Pick a different genre, one you wouldn't normally listen to. 

Say you normally like hard rock. So today you're going to pick country music. Go to google and type in "country music" and "most beautiful" or "timeless" or something. Listen to what comes up. Don't turn it off immediately. Give it a chance. Stop and realize that that musician has dreams and inspirations and blocks just like you do. Appreciate the art of their creation even if it isn't to your taste.

Not working no matter how hard or long you listen? Try classical music. Or bluegrass, rap, religious, folk, anything!

5. Laugh!
Laughter is my absolute favorite thing in the whole world. Anything can be made better with laughter. Anything can seem brighter, more full of hope, more fun, prettier with laughter. Genuinely laughing will put you back on the artistic road in no time. 

What makes you laugh the hardest? Do you have a friend who makes you laugh so hard that you roll on the floor with tears in your eyes peeing in your pants? Call that friend! Is it a comedian? Does hearing Bill Cosby sing about chocolate cake and kids make you giggle like a schoolgirl? Find that shit on youtube! Old episodes of tv shows? Those are online, too! Dig out a joke book. Ask random cashiers if they've heard any good jokes lately. Tell someone else a joke if you've heard a good one. Laughter is contagious!

6. Help someone. 
And do it for free. It doesn't have to be a huge undertaking but try to go out of your way just a little bit. Being generous and expecting nothing in return opens your eyes a bit to what's around you and what's going on in other people's lives and that, in turn, will bring you inspiration. I guarantee it.

If you're at Starbucks or a toll booth or something, pay for the person behind you when you pay for yourself. Offer to help carry groceries for an elderly woman. Drop off some clothes or food to a homeless shelter. Shovel your neighbor's sidewalk when you're doing your own. Help an online noob figure out how to post a picture on a forum or set up their etsy shop. It could be anything!

I have a million more and will post another installment soon. 
I hope something here was able to help you! And feel free to comment with your own tips and stories and inspirations!


Eva said...

You got one of my favorite ones, which is music! Another method I have found to be good is to read a favorite book, often I will stumble across a part I see in a new light, and that can be inspiring.

hotacrossbuns said...

thanks so much for sharing your ideas!! I love the playing with water option!
i live right by the beach, and i never go but i take comfort that it is always there if i need it.
Cant wait for the next installment!