Picture this: you’re all hyped up to take on a new creative project. Perfection? Who needs it! You’re ready to create. You’ve got your supplies, you’ve set the time aside, and you’re going to unleash all of your creative juices on that piece of art or writing.
And then… you feel totally uninspired.
Even with the best of intentions, you may find yourself struggling at times to find the creative inspiration that you actually need to make something. It’s this lack of artistic inspiration that all too often keeps people from exploring new creative projects and interests.
But here’s the thing: if you’re feeling motivated to create, you absolutely have creative potential. The trick is tracking down the inspiration that will help you channel it in a specific way. Keep scrolling for ideas on how to find artistic inspiration.
How Do You Get Creative Inspiration?
Whether you’re looking for inspo for drawing, painting or a craft project—or even creative writing inspiration!—there are many places to turn. The process of seeking out creative inspiration can also vary from one person to the next. Just as everyone’s creative process is different, everyone’s means of gathering inspiration is different.
With this in mind, you may want to experiment with multiple routes to creative inspiration and see what works best for you. Some strategies might be more effective for certain projects, at varying times of the day, or when you’re experiencing different moods. Figuring out how you best get inspired is a process—and if you keep an open mind, it can be a lot of fun.
Creative Inspiration for Art
If you’re struggling with a creative block, don’t panic. You can find creative inspiration in the simplest—and perhaps the most surprising—of places.
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Creative Inspiration for Writing
A stroke of inspiration is just as important for writers as it is for other types of artists. You’ve heard the phrase “writer’s block” because it’s a real thing. It’s not uncommon at all for writers to pick up a pen or open up their computer only to find that the words have totally stopped flowing.
This lack of inspiration is annoying, but also totally normal. Even the most successful of writers must learn how to deal with writer’s block and rustle up fresh inspiration for their work. That’s where this list of ways to cultivate creative inspiration—no matter what type of project you’re working on—can come in handy.
10 Ways to Cultivate Creative Inspiration
1. Take a Walk
A little fresh air can go a long way in pursuit of creative inspiration—and the experts back it up.
According to a study cited in Psychology Today, a nature walk can boost creativity by a whopping 50 percent. Need further proof? A study from Stanford University confirms it, and states that walking outside or on a treadmill has creative benefits, so you don’t need to take a full-on hike to get your juices flowing.
If you’re feeling stuck, put on your walking shoes and get your body moving. You might just return with the fresh perspective you’ve been missing.
2. Listen to Music
Just like the connection between walking and inspiration, the connection between music and inspiration has been well-documented. Music has been proven to boost cognition, enhance learning and—as a result—offer inspiration for creatives of all kinds.
Next time your creativity needs a little “oomph,” turn up the volume on your favorite tunes. If nothing else, the energy and mood lift you’ll get may just make you feel more creative when you come back to your project.
3. Change Your Environment
Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery. If you’re struggling to be creative in your usual space, move your materials to a new location. New sounds, surroundings, and even smells may jumpstart your brain into new ways of thinking.
As you move from place to place, pay attention to where you feel most creative. It might differ depending on the time of day or the type of project you’re working on. Understanding these patterns will come in handy when you’re coming up short on inspiration in the future.
4. Revisit Your Favorite Art and Artists
If you have creative aspirations, the chances are good that someone or something inspired them. Think about the art and artists that first got you excited about becoming a creative yourself. Taking time to revisit those early inspirations and to remember why you wanted to create to begin with may spark some new ideas and reignite your enthusiasm for your work.
5. Step Away From Your Devices
Our electronic devices often take the blame for just about everything, and you might be sick of hearing that you should put them away. But if you’re concerned about your lack of creative inspiration, those devices just might have something to do with it.
According to Harvard Medical School, screen time can pose a danger to creativity. Commit to stepping away from the screens for a predetermined period of time and challenge yourself to focus on your art or writing without those distractions.
6. Clear Your Brain With an Idea Dump
Maybe the reason you’re lacking clear creative inspiration is because you have just so many ideas percolating in your brain. Too much of a good thing, you know?
Try cutting through the noise by grabbing a pen and paper, setting a timer for 20 minutes, and jotting down every little thought you have bouncing around in your head. Walk away from the list for a while and do something else. When you return to that written brain dump, you just might be able to identify a nugget of creative inspiration that was there all along. It just needed to be teased out.
7. Spend Time on a Different Creative Project
Feeling stalled on a piece of art? Shifting your attention to another project—and maybe a different creative form entirely—can have the same effect as changing your surroundings. Diving into the other project might just recharge your energy and give you the inspiration you need to return to what you were working on before.
8. Dive Into History
If getting a change of scenery isn’t quite doing the job of kindling your creative inspiration, you might need a change of era. And while you probably don’t have a time machine sitting around, you can find other ways to explore historical periods in search of the perfect inspo.
Search online for old school photos, newspapers, video clips, interviews, and magazines with a subject matter that’s related to your creative project. A little wisdom or perspective from days gone by can make all the difference.
9. Have a Meaningful Conversation
We all have access to one very important source of inspiration: people. Having a conversation with a friend—or even a stranger, if you can do this safely—can offer endless creative ideas. Other human beings have so much to share in terms of personal experiences, perspectives and stories, and taking the time to have a meaningful discussion that will draw these things out of someone can certainly inform your creative work.
10. Start Journaling
If you’re ISO long-term creative inspiration, it might be time to take up journaling. Many creatives swear by this practice, since it gives them an opportunity to keep an ongoing log of their thoughts and observations for reference when the creative well dries up.
So start journaling, whether on paper or in digital form on your phone or tablet. Next time you need a creative spark, you’ll be glad you did.
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