If you look hard enough, inspiration is everywhere, from noon to night. Where you go to get your creative kickstart will be dependent on your personal interests and passions; some poets might find salvation and bountiful inspiration through reading, a songwriter might see a field of flowers and instantly hear a new melody in their head.
Where to go for inspiration
There truly is no right and wrong approach when it comes to inspiration hunting, but if you’re feeling up against a creative block, why not try some of the following tried and tested methods to get your juices flowing again?
Visit a gallery or museum
While it’s not a groundbreaking suggestion, a visit to a cultural establishment cannot fail to inspire new ways of thinking. Surrounding yourself with art, design and stories of the past may offer a solution to your creative problem that you hadn’t thought of before.
Research the galleries and museums you have in your local area — look particularly for places with unusual themes, as the divergent nature of these exhibits may jolt you out of your natural, well-entrenched, ways of thinking.
Take a road trip
Sometimes it’s hard to feel creative when you’re working from the same place you always do. As such, getting out of your hometown or city can encourage a new view on life.
If you’re normally a social butterfly, challenge yourself by taking a solo trip — going totally on your own agenda and schedule, and the time you’ll have to process information on your own, will be so beneficial for you. Plan a route that takes in a number of sites you’ve never seen before, and take a sketchpad or notebook to capture the thoughts you have.
Pack the car full of snacks, create a mood-specific playlist — what music gets you feeling good? — and make sure you’ve got a spare tire, jump starter and breakdown kit as you don’t want any car trouble raining on your creative parade.
Have you ever noticed how creative cookery can be? Think of your plate as a blank canvas, and use the colors and textures to create a composition. Food is intrinsically linked with emotion and mood, so to encourage a healthy imagination steer clear of overly fatty and processed meals, such as fast foods. Feed your mind while you feed your belly!
Take a break for some exercise
Leave behind a creative task that you’re struggling to contribute to, and get outside for a while. There’s no end to the exercise activities you can do to inspire new thoughts. For example, take a mindful walk around the block — try to notice ten things you’ve never acknowledged before, and then draw a picture or write a paragraph to describe what you’ve learned. If you’d prefer something more fast-paced, plug in your headphones and go for a run. Aerobic activity enhances brain cognition through increased blood flow and has been proven to help develop convergent and divergent thinking. What’s more, the endorphins flooding your body after exercise will keep a spring in your step, giving you a fresh approach and more determination to take on creative challenges.
Pick up a book you’ve not seen before
Creativity is all about making links between seemingly unconnected things. So, if you’re short on new ideas, pick up a book or a magazine on a topic you know nothing about and start reading. You’ll soon discover how taking in new information can reframe your thinking.
Watch an old film
Trends move in cycles, and so old movies may have more relevance to your current day work than you’d think. Pair the romance of black and white film production, with retro dressing and vintage character depiction, and you’ll feel overcome with inspiration!
Talk to other creatives
Sometimes you need to go inside yourself to look for a creative solution or springboard, other times you’ll make leaps and bounds in your thinking by bouncing ideas off other creatives.
If you study in an art college or have a creative workplace, engage your most respected and admired fellows in conversation — you can talk about anything, or something very specific, but you’ll soon start to feel the creative energy buzzing between you.
Taking that conversation a step further, why not team up to work together on a new project? Collaboration fuels dynamic ways of working, and bringing people together who have different points of view and varying creative methods, will teach you new things and amount in some seriously impressive output.
Clear your workspace
The stereotypical character of an artist or creative may be informal and wild on the outside — think paint-splattered dungarees and messy hair — but in reality, having a clean and clear workspace can help you see and think more perspicuously. Declutter and remove objects that don’t serve you: a tidy desk equals a tidy mind.
Watch a documentary about nature
Nothing is more inspiring than the world around us; how nature evolves to survive is nothing short of phenomenal. Try to draw comparisons between your work and natural processes, and apply this way of thinking to your current project.
Switch your brain off and start drawing or writing — don’t judge what’s coming out, just let it flow. Then after five or ten minutes, stop and reflect on what you’ve created.
Share a skill with someone, and ask them to do the same
It can be very humbling to share knowledge with a friend, and receive their gift in return. If you’re a strong sewer, but have no clue how to screen-print, then trade tips with someone who does. Not only will you benefit from the hard skills you’ll learn, but you never know where the conversation will go either.
If all else fails, have a beer…!
You’ll also be pleased to hear that cracking open and enjoying a beer has been shown to help creative thought; when enjoyed judiciously an alcohol buzz can stimulate the brain and improve concentration. Note the word ‘judiciously’ there!
The worst thing you can do when you’re short on inspiration is worry about it. Just relax, and trust that new ideas will come to you naturally.