Artists are not bottomless pits of inspiration. Although most of my posts are derived from some creative thought process, inspiration is not something that just happens all day every day. At least not for me.
One of the things that really irks me about myself is these random times that I’ll have a good idea for my writing and then before I remember to write it down, it’s gone. Poof. Vanished.
I bought a digital recorder a while back and I’m about to start keeping it with me all the time.
But I digress.
All artists have their own ways of maximizing their creative process. But for me, inspiration cannot be forced. I can try to gently coax it out, but that doesn’t always work.
I don’t “work” at writing like I work at other things. It’s something that feels very organically a part of who I am. So to “do” anything to try and get inspired feels contrived and phony. And we all know how I feel about authenticity.
So it probably doesn’t sound surprising that when I feel uninspired, I often just don’t write. At least not here. I can be totally inspiration-less when working on a writing JOB. But that’s different. It’s work. It’s research. It doesn’t always feel overly creative.
But when I’m writing what I like to write, I do rely heavily on inspiration. But just like tonight, I’m writing this post in advance because I’ve been letting Tuesdays slip up on me and I don’t like halfassing my material. So I’ve been writing my top 10 posts early, when I can.
I don’t feel necessarily inspired this evening. In fact, if I’m being quite honest, I have been kinda down today. But I’m doing these top 10 Tuesday posts, and I’m getting good response from them, I like writing them, and there is more structure to this weekly segment so I’m writing without a whole lot of “inspiration”.
Now, that being said, I try to write every day. And I pretty much do. But there are days when the writing gods are simply not smiling on me. Not even LOOKING at me. In fact, on those days, I’m pretty sure I’m dead to them.
So what do I do?
I do the majority of my writing on the weekends. If I’m not feeling particularly creative, sometimes it helps if I just go back to bed for a while. If nothing else, it gives me a bit of a “reset button” on my mindset. Usually. Sometimes it makes it worse. But hey, naps.
There is nothing like good reading material to get my mind in that creative zone. It doesn’t have to be a whole novel or anything.
Good quotes, posts by other writers on social media, comments left by other people, articles, etc. Just reading other peoples’ words typically warms up my writer’s brain.
Meditation is something that I suck at. But it helps. I need to do more of it.
My favorite thing to do, first thing in the morning, is to take my first cup of coffee back to bed and then drink my second cup outside on my patio. And do nothing.
Just listen. Observe. Be in the moment. These are the moments when inspiration seems to wash over me like a cleansing rain. It doesn’t happen every time, but it’s an amazing feeling when it does.
5. Take a walk
Nature itself seems to be conducive to creativity. Taking a walk down my old home country roads or in a pleasant park or even downtown my little quaint main street all help me gain inspiration. Usually different kinds too. It’s odd how different settings put me in such different mindsets.
6. Listen to someone
I can’t even tell you the times that a conversation with someone else has inspired me. In fact, I’d say the majority of my inspiration comes from my interactions with others.
My daughter especially.
Talking with her puts me in such a reflective, introspective frame of mind. I find that with a lot of people who have artistic mindsets. They seem to spark something within me. It’s good to have people like that around.
Sometimes I just need a distraction and inspiration will show up after I’ve done something else. Crossword puzzles work my brain and help me be distracted from the writing process at the same time. They also help me relax.
8. Reread some of my old stuff
Sometimes if I’m lacking inspiration, I’ll just go back and read things I’ve already written. If nothing else, the better posts remind me that I do not, in fact, suck at writing altogether, which is sometimes what my writer demons like to tell me when I’m feeling uninspired.
9. Drink more coffee
Sometimes I just need caffeine. Yes, it’s a stimulant. It’s also magic.
10. Try again later
There are days, for all my best efforts, that inspiration just will not land on me.
But it’s okay. It always comes back.
I mostly just try to work through it and not give up altogether for the day. My inspiration most often comes in the morning before my days get too overly distracted. But I have written some good stuff late at night as well and also in the middle of the day.
So, you see, inspiration cannot be controlled and/or manipulated. In fact, it seems to have a mind of its own and I wouldn’t be surprised if it knows I’m talking about it.
Let’s hope it doesn’t go into hiding after this.