Writers, artists and creatives of all kinds know the unique sense of horror that descends when a mist descends over their creative vision, resulting in a creative block that’s near impossible to shift. As soon as the passage of those crystal clear visions that come tumbling from the left hemisphere is stopped, a whole host of unhelpful thoughts invariably tumbles down to fill the vacuum. “Why do I even bother”, “Maybe I should just stop”, “I should never have even started”, “Who cares about what I have to say anyway”. While self-doubt and self-reflection are an inevitable part of the creative process (and indeed a necessary one if we are to exert some quality control over our work), they should not be allowed to toss a wet blanket over the smouldering creative flames.
Rekindling that creative flame can be challenging, but it is rarely impossible. Inspiration can hide in the most unlikely and unexpected of corners, but before you can start looking for it, a quick warning…
Before you start, you have to stop!
There’s nothing more torturous for a creative mind, nor is there anything more counterproductive than staring at a blank screen, an empty notepad or an untouched canvas. Even if you do this for a living and your livelihood depends on your productivity it’s important to learn to step away from the proverbial (or literal) canvas if the creative juices just aren’t flowing. Take yourself out of the room. Have a little walk around; the act of walking itself will help you to concentrate. You likely won’t have to walk far to hit on that flash of inspiration that will break down the barriers and get your creative engine running again.
In the home
Even if you weren’t aware of it at the time, you likely decorated and furnished your home in ways that would provide inspiration. You made aesthetic choices in line with what stimulates and appeals to your senses. Yet we’re often so wrapped up in ourselves, we rarely engage with the contents of the home we’ve made for ourselves. Inspiration can be found in the swirling marble of your mantelpiece by Westland Antiques, or in the chipped sugar bowl, you inherited from your grandmother. If all else fails, pick up one of your favourite books or watch one of your favourite films. Just let the narrative, the visuals or the use of language wash over you. You will likely find that something clicks or resonates with you in a way you’ve never even noticed before.
Some creatives swear that there’s nothing more effective than getting out of the house/office/studio when creative block strikes. A walk in the park or anywhere where trees and plants can be seen and birdsong can be heard is a tonic for the creative mind. Indeed proximity to nature is proven to boost the mood while improving cognitive function.
You may find inspiration in the face of a stranger, the song of a starling, the shape of a falling leaf or the smell of a jacket potato stall.
However you find it, however, you owe it to yourself to give your tired mind a rest and reconnect with what inspires you!