Staying inspired is one of the crucial and at time challenging parts of any creative process. I am sure that every artist goes through periods of creativity and inspiration just to be faced with moments of procrastination and stagnation; those moments when you find yourself staring endlessly at a blank page not knowing where to begin. I know this feeling all too well, and at times, even when my head is full of creative ideas, I still feel uninspired.
This is what happened when I decided to create a new collection (the one that later on became MY LOVE) for my Etsy store. I had images and ideas floating in my mind, I knew what "feeling" my collection will have, and what types of embellishments I would use. I felt like I had everything ready, yet I was unable to find way of tying all the elements together. I wanted to use dark red and dark blue as main colours but didn't want the 4th of July feel. I added brown and white, but that just made the whole palette look "official" and serious. No matter what I've tried I wasn't grasping the whole project and it was so frustrating since all of the elements were right there in front of me.
Finally I've decided to stop agonising over the idea and switched to other projects while keeping My Love collection in the back of my mind. Then, one day as I was browsing through images, clicking from one link to another, I've stumbled upon this photo by Jennifer Causey:
All of a sudden I knew how My Love collection will look like. This image, that would've went unnoticed on any other day, caugh my attention. This image had all the missing elements for my new collection. This image became my inspiration!
Inspiration does not always come suddenly and there are times when you can not "afford" waiting for it. You might be on a strict deadline, when "waiting for the visit from your muse" is not part of the contract. To speed up the waiting process here are 5 things you can do:
1. BE OPEN AND LOOK FOR INSPIRATION
While it may seems that inspiration appears out of thin air, sitting and waiting to get inspired will lead you nowhere. Look for your muse; try new things, browse through the works of other artists, listen to music, dance, go to a museum/theatre/concert.
2. WORK ON A SIMILAR BUT SMALLER PROJECT
Starting a similar but smaller project can lead you to unexpected places and get the ball of ideas rolling in your head.
3. FIND INSPIRATION IN NATURE
Nature is one of the best sources of inspiration. Look for your muse outside; get out of the city or spend a day in a park. Pay attention to colours, shapes, and patterns around you. Listen to the birds' songs and watch leaves dancing in the wind.
4. SLEEP, EXERCISE, TAKE A SHOWER, EAT
Switching gears is important. When feeling stuck and uninspired it's good to take a well-deserved break and do something mundane.
5. GO ON A CREATIVE DATE
This recommendation comes from Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY. She recommends having some alone time spent crafting, practicing, and looking for inspiration. Make time for yourself and your art. Take time to nurture your creativity.
As I was writing this post, a quote from Hilary Mantel came to my attention:
If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.
How do you stay inspired? Do you have tricks that worked for you in the past? Where do you go to find your muse?
The beautiful artwork for the Awakening Creativity series is made by my talented sister Liza
Previous posts from the Awakening Creativity series:
STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE