Finding Inspiration, Weekly
When waiting for inspiration to strike is not an option, try these four methods.
By Lindsey Davis, Iowa State University
Here’s a piece of very candid information for you: I’m writing this incredibly last minute because I’ve been putting it off as a result of continually feeling uninspired.
Now, I’m sitting at my desk summoning any sort of force that will magically bring inspiration to my mind, so that I can finish this article before the due date in ten hours.
You may have noticed from the title that this article will discuss the issue of staying inspired and creative. How ironic.
I’m prefacing this article with my little anecdote to forewarn you that sometimes finding inspiration and a source of continual creativity can be downright hard. But, as you will see, there’s always a way to conjure up creative mental stimulation.
This topic is very important to me not only as a writer, but as someone who wants to live their life in a highly creative field.
Staying imaginative and inspired is no easy task; clearly I’m currently experiencing this first-hand. Yet, it’s imperative that those wanting to embark on a creative journey must make a point of finding strategies that will allow them to keep their mind sharp and ever-evolving.
Need some tips?
Ask Strangers What’s on Their Minds
This piece of advice comes from a fellow “Study Breaks” writer, Olivia McCoy. She said that when she’s lacking inspiration, she’ll walk up to random people and ask what they’re thinking about. Clearly, a person of extreme shyness may not find this helpful, but I think Olivia is definitely onto something.
Face it, people are weird. People are diverse. There’s no telling what someone might say upon asking what’s on their mind. Maybe they’re thinking about where they can purchase a box of Pizza Rolls, or maybe they’re reflecting upon their recent encounter with a two-legged dog. Whatever they come up with can easily turn into a source of inspiration for your next story, painting or one-act play.
A simple question may also turn into a full-blown conversation. You could meet someone whose side gig is swallowing fire, or you could meet someone who is a local cupcake aficionado. The possibilities of the characters you may meet are endless and are awaiting you to discover.
If you choose to start talking to strangers as a form of curating inspiration, I do advise you to steer clear of those that are surely a “red-flag.” Although your mother wouldn’t support my advice to talk to strangers, I think the two of us would definitely agree to stay aware of your surroundings and only talk to people in public places.
Read Through Old Social Media Posts
Again, this tip stems from a comment made by fellow Study Breaks writer Olivia Buzzacco. (I’m so honored to have such clever writing cohorts.) She mentioned that when she’s lacking creativity, she reads through her old tweets.
Give yourself some credit. Your past self was just as witty and smart as you are now. Why not use yourself as inspiration? Old tweets are a great starting point. They work as sufficient novel, movie and song titles. Plus, they can also morph easily into other modes of creative work. Those clever one-liners you came up with in high school are your best friend now. Use these old tweets to serve you well. Let them guide your mind and engage your sources of inspiration.
This applies to old Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram posts as well.
That random meme you shared three years ago? It’s going to make a fabulous mixed media print. Your long-winded, unnecessarily dramatic status posted circa eighth grade? That’s meant to become a hilarious, satirical cartoon.
Tumblr is great source of inspiration in general, but look to your own posts to spark your imagination.
Social media is overflowing with random, funny, philosophical material. Allow this easy to access and free content to become your muse.
Listen to a New Genre of Music/Discover a Band
Often, people get hooked on a certain style of music, artist or song. Expanding your taste in music can evolve your creative thinking. I’ve found that folk/indie music yields some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking lyrics.
I’ll become absorbed by a single line and replay it over and over in my mind for days.
A sole piece of music and the lyrics within can serve as a great source of inspiration if only you allow it to.
Looking for the deeper meaning in lyrics and researching the background of a song or band can lead to all sorts of new information. Listening to a wide variety of music exposes people to a plethora of information and obscure topics, both of which spark inspiration.
Put Down Your Phone
Cell phones: Both a blessing and a curse. I’m the first to admit that I have a slight addiction to my phone, and I’m often ashamed of the amount of time I spend looking at a tiny screen. I know for sure I’ve missed out on some important sights and sounds because I’ve been too absorbed with my phone.
So, I wonder what feats of creativity and inspiration people could cultivate if they spent a day or two making a conscious effort to set their phone aside while they’re out and about. How would our culture’s creative life change if everybody took the time to soak in the world happening around them, instead of through social media and the internet?
Earth is quite a beautiful place, you know. Maybe people should take a step back from the new-age world of technology and learn to curate inspiration from humanity itself.
Creativity and finding sources of inspiration is crucial to maintaining a sharp and evolving mind. Continually staying creative and inspired is admittedly difficult to do at times, so learning strategies to keep your mind churning is ever important. Allow yourself to preserve an open mind, and never stop soaking in the world around you.