Writer’s block is probably the most frustrating experience any writer faces. You feel creative and you want to create, but you’re just not inspired.
It happens to most artists from time to time, this disconnect from the muse. Yet there are creative people who seem to have overcome artistic roadblocks — authors who publish multiple novels every year, filmmakers who produce annual blockbusters, and musicians who are on the top-ten list week after week. They know how to stay inspired, but how do they do it? Have they tapped into a secret, endless stream of ideas?
How can you tap into that stream?
I always say look to the source. When I see successful artists and innovators who are consistently producing creative work, I find myself wanting to learn more about where they get their inspiration.
It makes sense that as a writer, you would look first to other writers to find out how they keep their creativity flowing. So go ahead and do that. Read biographies of your favorite authors and listen to interviews with writers to see where they got some of their best ideas. If you look hard enough (or listen closely enough), these writers will explain how to stay inspired.
But don’t limit yourself to writers. Inspiration is similar across all the arts. So check in with folks from other disciplines too. And don’t limit yourself to only those artists whose work you enjoy and appreciate. You might find that a movie director whose films you don’t care for has a creativity technique that works perfectly for you.
I recently heard a musician talking about inspiration, and he said it was like the music came through him rather than to him. He explained that his source is unknown and outside of himself. Other artists will talk about “the zone,” a state of mind in which concentration and focus are absolute and intense. In this zen-like state, inspiration can reach an all-time high. In fact, in this state, creativity is the high.
The Idea Zone
How do artists get into the zone? Some meditate; others use rituals, which might include working out or listening to music. Some read. Others do writing exercises to get warmed up. There are countless ways to get into the zone. At times, you might find yourself slipping into it by sheer coincidence or by accident.
There does seem to be this space that all creative people share. It’s not a physical place; it’s a place in our minds (though some believe it’s outside of ourselves, and that is certainly worth contemplating).
The point is that by stretching your boundaries and experimenting with various techniques, you can find what works best for you.
Do you have any tips for how to stay inspired? How often do you think about the source of your creativity? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.