Losing inspiration happens to everyone. You’re fried from a hectic week of LIFE happening, you’re sick of staring at the same paragraphs on the page, or you have no idea of where you’re going with IT; whether writing, painting, or doing anything that takes creative brain power. Here are a few tips to help get those creative juices flowing again.
SPEND TIME IN A PUBLIC PLACE: People are incredibly interesting; their dress, their mannerisms, what they choose to eat or drink, their loud conversations on their cell phones, even their taste in dogs. People watching is great for character developing. So go to a busy café, a mall, a movie theater, a restaurant, a park, or maybe a place to observe others at work and take copious amounts of notes. Compare your characters to the detailed descriptions you’ve just taken and let them swirl around in your head for a few days. The magic will surely happen.
PRACTICE ANOTHER ART FORM: Drop that keyboard! Okay, maybe you shouldn’t drop it, but put it aside and paint, color a mandala or even a Disney coloring book if you’re desperate. Choose a random recipe from a cookbook you never use and make it. Build model dinosaurs if you have to. Just stop beating your head against the same piece of work for awhile. Inspiration is hidden in all creative undertakings.
TALK TO OTHER WRITERS: This is a not only a great way to make friends, but it’s great to toss your ideas around with someone else who understands the way a writer thinks. (plot, characters, setting, plot, characters, plot. Am I done yet?)
READ A NEW BOOK IN YOUR GENRE: Being sucked into another world helps divert your attention away from the scene you’ve been drowning in for weeks on end. It’s insightful to study how someone else sets up “the villain” or the “the hero”. Maybe you’re stuck on a crappy character and can’t move forward.
RENT A MOVIE: Movies are an easy way to tap into our emotional selves. Choose one that may be similar to what you’re writing and compare your story lines and characters. Or don’t. At times it’s best to try something completely different to get a feel for fresh settings, voices, and characters. I often write best after watching a film that has broken my heart, challenged my way of thinking, or kept me panting until the cataclysmic end.
EXPLORE AN UNKNOWN PART OF TOWN: Being out of your comfort zone is key. Nothing makes a person more aware of their environment than traipsing around in uncharted territory. Your usual barriers and expectations are stripped away when in a new place- even if it’s only two towns over. You’ll undoubtedly come in to contact with people who are different from you in some way. This opens up the creative waves. Remember to take notes!
SEARCH FOR NEW MUSIC: Chances are you’ve listened to your own playlists 8,000 times already and won’t likely derive new found inspiration from them- AGAIN. Dig around in a friend’s collection, tinker on music websites that sell by the song (like Amazon & Border’s). Browse, explore. Note the artist’s emotional quality in their voice as well as the lyrics and journal as you listen. Music is one of the most expressive forms of art out there. Use it to help you express!
WRITE SOMETHING ELSE: It’s not only refreshing to work on something new, you may get some ideas on how you view the characters and plot in your major manuscript. Write down the realizations you have in a journal and review it when you’re finished with the new piece of material. It’s amazing the perspective you can have when you step away from it for awhile.
TAKE TIME OFF: A good old-fashioned break is often all we need. If I’ve been unable to write all week, I’m usually chomping at the bit to sit down on Saturday morning and pour over my manuscript. This is way less frustrating than picking at it all week. Give yourself time off! You need it from any other job. Why wouldn’t you need it from writing? It’s demanding, hard work and should be honored as such.