Sometimes, when you least expect it, life can swoop in and suck up all your creativity. Where ideas once flowed freely, you suddenly feel a total void, as if your brain will never start working again. It can be shocking, to say the least, and send you desperately looking for ways to feel more inspired.
This is the worst when you're trying to create something original, but the wheels just aren't turning. Anyone who has sat down to write the next great novel, or song, or poem will know these feels. Call it writer's block, call it whatever you want — a lack of inspiration totally sucks.
But this feeling doesn't only affect artistic types. It can also be felt in an office setting, in relationships, and in normal day-to-day life. That's because to be inspired means to appreciate things, and to really "feel" something. People go on hikes and feel "inspired," or listen to a beautiful song and feel "inspired." It doesn't mean they have to write such a song. Simply appreciating it is sometimes quite enough.
So if you're feeling stuck in a rut, out of touch, or just plain old unmotivated, then here are some ways to spark your inspiration, and feel creative once again.
1. Create A Fun & Messy Workspace
Set up your workspace (desk, home office, studio, what have you) to be a reflection of the work you're trying to do. This can include anything that gets your creative juices flowing, such as photos, plants, art supplies — you name it. "Let your space be a constant inspirational reinforcement. It only takes a few hours to setup at the most, and after that it’s constantly working for you on autopilot," suggested Jonathan Mead on his blog ThinkSimpleNow.com.
You might also want to consider keeping a messy desk, all in the name of inspiration. According to Tanner Christensen on the blog 99u.com, "We can learn to structure environments to suit our goals and help us more effectively achieve those goals. If you’re trying to bring some more order ... then maybe you should start by cleaning up your office and home. However, if you need a creative insight or breakthrough idea, that same tidy office could be stifling your creative thinking." Finally, a good excuse for all that clutter.
2. Stalk The Work Of Someone You Admire
When you're creativity has dried up, it can help to immerse yourself in the work of someone you admire. Take some time each day to read something they've written, or watch a video they've created, Mead suggested. You can also do some good old-fashioned Instagram stalking, follow someone interesting on Twitter, or binge watch your favorite director's movies. Make their life your life until inspiration strikes again.
3. Give Yourself A Break
Having a strict schedule may work for some people, but others need to get up every now and then and shake out the proverbial cobwebs. If your work is starting to feel stale, go ahead and give yourself permission to take a break.
And no, it doesn't mean you're giving up. As Robert J. Kriegel, Ph.D., noted on HuffingtonPost.com, "Taking a short break to refuel and refresh doesn't mean that you are goofing off, [or] that your brain has shut down. The ideas you've been thinking about, the problems you've been working on, shift to a 'back burner,' where they incubate, moving from the logical left brain to the creative right brain. And then, when you least expect it, lightning strikes."
4. Change Up Your Routine
If you've been doing the "same old same old" for a while now, then consider switching up your routine in an effort to get yourself out of a rut. According to Gwen Moran on FastCompany.com, "New external stimuli spur new ideas." So you'll want to try a new place for lunch, take a different route home, or choose a fresh venue for your day's work — anything to jolt you out of the familiar.
5. Interact With Other Humans
If you've been alone at your desk for a while trying to write a play, a novel, or a song, then it might be time to go out and interact with the very types of people you're trying to write about. As Alfred James noted on his blog PocketMindfulness.com, "You are human. You need social interaction, and plenty of it ... So make time for nights out, days out, a coffee and a chat, a walk with a friend ... It is absolutely essential to your wellbeing." When you get back to your desk, you'll be refreshed by real-life interactions, and hopefully feel a bit more inspired.
6. Listen To A Motivational Speech
You can wake up and sulk your way through the day, or you can start the morning off on a good foot with a motivational TED Talk, or an uplifting podcast. Choose a topic that interests you and pump that into your brain for 30 minutes. It'll get your thoughts going in the right direction, and hopefully keep you feeling on point.
7. Move Around To Stimulate Your Thoughts
Just as it's good to get up and interact with people, it's also good to get up and move your body. As Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., noted on Psychology Today, "Studies have shown that exercise stimulates the brain by creating new neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain. Physical activity helps us get out of our heads and stimulate new thought patterns." So go for a walk, do a few yoga poses, or dance around 'til you feel refreshed again.
Set your life up for inspiration by surrounding yourself with creative things, people, and ideas. Do this, and you'll be out of your rut in no time.
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