Isn’t it frustrating when you have to finish something and inspiration remains just out of reach? Believe me, I know the frustration all too well.
I work in video production and am also an animation teacher, so I have certainly been stuck in the perilous absence-of-inspiration zone. Whether I’m focusing on pre-production or graphic creation, there’s inevitably a day when the creativity doesn’t flow. Unfortunately, there’s no magic spell that instigates instant inspiration. However, you can at least jump start its eventual return with a few tricks. Here are five things that help me and my creative comrades on a daily basis.
Stumped on where to start a new project? First, step away from said project. Second, get your juices flowing again by doing a series of different things – this helps your mind receive new “cues” about where to begin. They can be simple things: Listen to the radio or a new playlist, or organize pictures, contacts or activities. Listening to the radio works best for me – hearing other people’s conversations or even ads can waken tiny ideas that just needed a push!
Who doesn’t love a great soundtrack? Trigger ideas by imagining a totally unique soundtrack for the project you’re working on. This works for any type of project, from completing a budget document to an abstract illustration; simply think up the type of song that project would love to dance to. Yes, it sounds goofy, but goofy tasks like this are what stretch your imagination. Don’t stay fixed within a single genre; instead, jump out of your musical comfort zone and experiment. In fact, try something totally new, like instrumental surf, rockabilly, Broadway musical, Moombahton, etc.!
Create Your Own Story
First, grab a magazine, book, or newspaper. Second, pick a page randomly and choose four words from that page – the first four you see usually works best. Create a statement with those words (the wackier, the better!) and from there, make up your own story based on that statement. Keep it to yourself or tell everyone you know. Whatever you do with it, this exercise always leads to great results!
Over-thinking a project can quickly leave you overwhelmed; at that point, it’s often best to take a break. Cooking helps you to focus on something new, all while filling your senses with a variety of textures, smells, and colors. Relax, take a breath, and let your inner chef play in the kitchen. When you eventually go back to your project, I guarantee your work will flow much more smoothly. Plus, you’ll be equipped with a happy, satisfied tummy!
Talk it Out
Talking through your project with a friend or colleague can do wonders for breaking through creative barriers. A good listener may see things from a different perspective and help brainstorm a new solution. Want to really get a unique perspective? Strike up a convo with a child. Their free and imaginative minds could very possibly surprise you. Regardless of who you find to talk things through, two heads oftentimes think better than one.
Inspiration always comes from the least expected places. When you’re stuck, sometimes you just need to take a break, try new activities, and flex other parts of your brain. It may seem counter-intuitive to turn away from the urgent task at hand, but I promise: when you focus on other things during a creative rut, your mind has a magical way of secretly solving the issues. By the time you return to work, you may be surprised how fast the ideas will be flowing.
What’s your go-to move to activate creative inspiration?