How To Remain Inspired As A Creative Professional

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If you are a creative professional, working artist, or simply a creative person, then you’re already familiar with the exciting charge that comes from feeling inspired. When we’re “firing on all cylinders”, our creative tanks feel full. The words or brush strokes come easily during these times, and the project ahead of us becomes a pleasure to work on. Unfortunately for most of us, this feeling is not constant. We hit ruts and our creativity lags. In today’s world especially, creative professionals face a number of unseen obstacles that can limit their ability to produce fresh content that meets their personal and professional standards. Simply turning on the news or scrolling through social media can quickly deflate one’s motivation to do just about anything. If you face these barriers to creativity, here are a few habits that may help you overcome your obstacles and perhaps fill your creative tank.

 

Don’t wait for lightning to strike…

If you have a project that has to be finished but can’t quite give it the shine that it deserves, it can be far too easy to excuse ourselves from the creative process by “waiting for inspiration.” Unfortunately, passively waiting can sometimes be nothing more than a giant waste of time. We’re creatures of habit; by practicing inaction, we will eventually grow accustomed to that complacency and adopt it as routine. Writers write. Creators create.

I like to equate this active commitment to working out. For me, the hardest part of an intense workout is always the very first step of getting off my butt and deciding to do it in the first place. Once I’m up and engaged in those familiar motions, my instincts kick in, and I always end up feeling grateful for not allowing my laziness to triumph. The sooner you can break yourself of the habit of “waiting”, the sooner you can get back to creating meaningful work. 

A great way to achieve this is by simply scheduling your creative time. Literally, put it on your agenda. We’re constantly negotiating with ourselves with thoughts like “I’ll do it later” or “I’m not feeling it.” By setting a block of time aside and sticking to your schedule, you can remove that negotiation process and at the very least TRY. You’ll be surprised at what you are still capable of during these times of regimented work sessions. Much like exercise, the more you do it the stronger you become.

 

Pursue Inspiration 

You never know when inspiration will strike, but you can certainly help it along by opening yourself up to new experiences and activities. Engage with new people, study the work of another artist, travel somewhere new. The more we expand our world, the more we allow ourselves to be influenced by it, and these influences will shape new perspectives. As an actor, I study human behavior. The more personalities I study, the bigger my playbook becomes and, in turn, my ability to find inspiration while shaping a character is much easier to access. True creative professionals stay hungry for new sources of inspiration in order to build their ever-expanding library.

 

Stay Humble

Retaining a willingness to see new perspectives and learn new behaviors is essential. By allowing ourselves to be continually influenced, we can adapt and grow. To remain rigid in your outlook is to limit yourself. Perhaps you’ve seen this in yourself or other artists when the work starts to become predictable; it’s like they’re saying “It worked before, it should work again.” I equate this to watching a lazy actor. I know the talent is there, but the actor has chosen the same old song and dance rather than pursuing a new, previously undiscovered, path. 

Staying humble is admitting that you’re always a student, that there’s always something to learn, to explore. Furthermore, staying humble also allows you to experiment with new tactics. If you’re not set in your ways, you’re free to try new things. My wife is a visual artist, and her work is constantly evolving because she is actively researching new techniques. It’s the same as the playbook I mentioned earlier; if your catalog isn’t expanding, then you’re doomed to make the same choices, choices which will inevitably feel dull.

It’s also important to remember that we’re living in rapidly changing times and what may have worked once might not apply anymore. Try to be aware of what people are going through TODAY and adapt your work to reflect those changing needs.

 

Be Kind To Yourself

While staying active and pursuing inspiration is vital, it’s equally important to take care of yourself. Think of your mind and body as two parts of the same machine and your craft as the product of that machine. If you don’t take care of your machine, your product will suffer. I’m not going to list all the reasons to stay healthy, eat right and exercise, those should all be apparent. Rather, I want to simply encourage you to be your own champion. The pursuit of inspiration is a constant struggle that will never have a simple singular remedy. Take time to practice self-care and self-reflection. It may seem foreign but sitting quietly and checking in with yourself can be a very rewarding experience. If you’re not kind to yourself along the way, your pursuit will be much more painful than it needs to be. Forgive yourself when things go wrong. Trust your instincts when making a decision and don’t allow your inner critic to run the show. Your journey to find inspiration will be much more rewarding if you believe in yourself.

 

I hope these tips will help you with your individual pursuits. If you’d like any assistance workshopping an idea, please send me a message at brad@sutherlandweston.com. I’ll jump at any chance to brainstorm an idea with my fellow creators.