How fickle inspiration is, and yet every person on the planet relies on it like we rely on a new day starting. We know a new day will start, but we can’t always guarantee we’ll live to see another day. Inspiration is much the same way: we know inspiration will hit, but we can’t guarantee it’ll stay with us. It arrives with a flourish, leaves an impact, then departs with as much of a flourish as it arrived with, leaving you bewildered as to what just happened and whether you’ll ever get that rush again (you will).
But how do you find inspiration?
It’s a very good question. Unfortunately, it varies person by person. Some people are inspired easily (like me) while others struggle. It’s like a game of hide and seek. For some people, they seek inspiration and can find it easily, whereas others keep seeking it but it refuses to emerge, deciding instead to keep you searching and searching until you give up. Then it might pop out and apologise for being so stubborn.
Inspiration can hit whenever, wherever. In fact, more likely than not, it’ll hit at the worst times possible. For example, it could happen while you’re in the middle of an important conversation and inspiration suddenly hits. Or inspiration can hit in the most mundane moments. For example, you could just be showering like normal and inspiration could hit.
But say inspiration decides not to pay you a visit and you want to spark inspiration yourself, there are several ways to do so.
The first is actually an example I just used: do mundane tasks. Honestly, it works. The more mundane the task, the better. You’ll be focused on the task at hand, but because it lacks any fun or creativity, it gives your brain a chance to think creatively without overdoing it. For example, if you’re washing up, you’re not going to be thinking strenuously about washing up, therefore your brain can think while you’re doing so to make the task more enjoyable.
The second is to engage with creativity. It sounds obvious, but watch TV shows, read books, go to theatre shows. Whatever is deemed creative, interact with it in whatever way you can. Perhaps you’re behind on your favourite TV show and you need to catch up. Do it. You never know what might spark inspiration. Perhaps a friend has offered to watch a film together and although it might not be one you’d usually watch, it again might spark inspiration. Try several different mediums and see which work best for inspiring you.
If the previous two have failed, the third is to go out of your way and try something new. I don’t necessarily mean hop on an airplane and fly to the first country you can think of. Although, if that’s what works for you, by all means, do it. I mean try a new hobby or walk a new route home. Maybe meet up with a friend you haven’t for a while or suggest visiting new locations with loved ones. You never know what life will throw at you and sometimes it’s exactly that that’ll spark inspiration. Trust me, life can get weird sometimes, almost to the point that you can’t quite believe it’s happened to you.
The final tip I can offer is to go out with a notebook and observe the world around you. Listen to strangers’ conversations (although try not to be too obvious about it). Bring a notebook out with you, or even write it on your phone’s notes, about what you can see around you. Maybe jot down a sentence or two of the first thing you’ve thought of. Read the lines from a menu and conjure something up. Engaging with the world is a lot more fun than it might seem.
If all else fails, you can use writing prompts. They exist for a reason, and that’s to help kickstart inspiration. Some of my best writing has been with the help of writing posts.
What helps inspire you when you’re struggling?