“I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. Just as some people have a secret love for rainstorms, earthquakes, or blackouts, I liked that certain undefinable something.“
The most challenging facet of doing something creative for a living is the constant thirst for inspiration. Every creative mind understands only one language, and it’s the language of love — finding something you love that consumes the creative superhero inside you — something you can write about, draw about, design with, carve out, cook up or talk about. And as easy as that might sound, creative people are most productive and churn out the best results only when they are awake till the wee hours of the morning, with only their own souls for good company, and no deadlines to work towards. Because inspiration is a strange thing — it comes at the oddest times, in the most unlikely places and from the most unexpected sources. But the moment it hits you like a runaway train speeding off-track, that’s when you need to allow it to make magic — allow it to get you so high, that you breathe it in like air.
For that time, let it be your private island, underneath the palm trees, where you can leave your worries. Listen to the waves, let them wash away your pain. Let it be the fantasy, the only thought. Because, once the moment is lost, you know you can’t go back into it with the same intensity ever again. And that’s how I write all my posts — with heightened emotions, and the urge to really write. It’s the only way I can really comprehend what I am feeling — by writing it down (Just like Murakami says in one of my favourite books Norwegian Wood).
So, in a way, the title of this blog is hugely misleading and I’ll duly apologize for the click bait — but I’m grateful you rose to it. I’ll try to make it worth your while by putting down a basic list of things that inspire me to write when I’m having the blues or when the words I’m writing feel as hollow as a starless midnight sky.
10 Ways to Feel Inspired
When you are surrounded by inspiration at every scroll — Pinterest to Instragram — it seems silly to read a whole book to find it. And yet, all this noise can sometimes make you feel over inundated, as opposed to feeling calm enough to see your next vision clearly. New books, new authors, and friends with whom you can have your own, private, mini book club discussions, can sometimes get the creative juices flowing. This may introduce you to new ideas, new perspectives, and new worlds.
So, read books. The least they will do is give you a chance to look into yourself, maybe even find yourself.
I know that most of us want to keep our lives private. But I also know that creative minds almost always draw subconscious inspiration from real life situations — any extreme emotion — pain, strife, joy, success, failure, loss, love, fulfilment. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are already slaves to our heart’s commands. So, why not take that thing that moves you, and move others with it? Nothing is as true and honest as work that sprouts from a place deep inside you.
Be Around Good Energy
Happy people make people happy. And the resulting happy people find it easier to be the best versions of themselves especially when they are having an off phase of disenchantment. We all feel disillusioned, lost and bogged down without absolute reason sometimes. Spending time or talking to happy souls helps to resonate back the good frequencies into your world. Good energy can do wonders — feeling happy for no reason is always better than feeling unhappy for no reason.
So, choose your tribe well.
Find new Surroundings
Exploring a new place, a new culture or even taking a small break from the hustle bustle of daily life, can inspire genius. It may not always be possible to quit everything and flee to the mountains all by yourself. But taking off from the routine life is a good way to make a fresh start. Rejuvenate the mind, body, and the soul. Come back full-throttle.
Requests From Your Audience
This is but an obvious one — and yet, we are always so absorbed in creating work that is unique and impressionable that we rarely pay heed to what our audience really wants from us. I always believe that any work you do is in two parts — the part that you do for others (your audience, your loved ones, your career progression), and the part that you do for yourself (food for the soul). Both bits must be balanced well to ensure that there is mutual satisfaction — you love what you do, and they love what you do.
Don’t be the Perfectionist
We are all imperfect in our own endearing, unique ways. And so is what we do, how we do, how much we do. I agree that work that isn’t absolutely smashing should not be put across. But I also believe that every piece is not a masterpiece, a magnum opus. It’s always the average things that make the awesome things seem awesome-r. It’s always light and dark, day and night, hope and despair, trust and loneliness, average and mind-blowing — it’s the balance of the universe. As long as your work comes from a place of joy and genuine commitment, don’t hold it back just because you could have done it better. That’s the thing, you can always do it better. So where do you draw the line?
Read Blogs From Inspiring People or on Topics That Inspire
This is the digital version of reading books, but the great thing about reading blogs is that they are shorter, more casual, and written in varied styles going from author to author. They are also less time-consuming and thought-consuming. They tend to be more accessible. More than anything, they help you keep in touch with where the world is going today, with what the world is thinking, doing, becoming today. Awareness can be a great form of inspiration.
Spend Time With You (Find Your Happy Place)
When nothing works, immerse yourself in the things you love — meet friends, go to the gym, paint, bake cupcakes, play peek-a-boo, read into the night, dance away, drink wine, head bang to Nirvana — do it all. If release is what you need, find it. Go to a happy place in your mind — a vision of someplace that brings calm and comfort when the mind is unable to cope. Stay there for a bit. Don’t be in a hurry to return. Let somebody find you and bring you back. Not thinking for a moment is the kind of clean state you need for new inspiration to strike.
Network and Meet new People
I understand that this one is a tricky bitch, and depends a lot on our personalities, our life situations, where we live and what kind of work we do. But meeting new people brings more exposure, growth and inspiration than you could ever think of. Because new people bring with them new ideas, new ways of life, new opinions and new opportunities. New is always exciting, always fun and always something that keeps pushing you outside your little cardboard box. So, get out there into the cold, and warm up to new energy.
Do it for Yourself
Now stop for a second, and remember the first time you did what you do today. You did it for you, and for nobody else. So this time, try again. Write for yourself, draw for yourself, cook for yourself. Whatever it is, ensure that it won’t go out to an audience. It’s just for you. So, now you can break the rules, go outside the walls, experiment, not worry about failure, judgement or consequences. Just do it. Because sometimes, we only need a kickstart to start flying without wings once again. Self-doubt, loss of self-esteem or self-confidence can sometimes play a huge role in crippling inspiration. Find your footing before you move on to stir mountains.
Winners need to be quitters, sometimes.
There is a flipside to every story — and every war is not a war that must be conquered. Sometimes, letting go is the only way.
Everybody has off days. Let go when you have to, creativity cannot be forced. Have some wine and go to bed.
Work ahead of deadlines, so you never have to compromise on quality, authenticity, and originality. This in turn leads to better and faster output, always knowing that some good work you did a while ago will have your back for a while to come.
Never put out work that doesn’t make the cut. It’s okay to skip a deadline, but it’s not okay to glorify crap. Your audience is smart — just like you — they’ll know — and you’ll know. It’s like a cold war in a relationship — it’s certainly there — obvious and undaunted, but nobody expresses any displeasure, and eventually the relationship sours. Nothing is worth that.
Finally, don’t stress. Believe that you’ll have your mojo back. Believe it blindly, and let the universe do the rest. Sometimes, we have to let things slip away for them to come back to us.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
Until next time, keep pushing, keep hustling.