If you consider yourself an artist in any capacity (whether it’s a career, a hobby, or just an element of your persona), it’s important that you get ongoing creative stimulation from your surroundings. You need to experience new pieces of art made by other people, and find yourself in situations that force you to think in new and different ways. Only then will you be able to come up with the “spark” necessary
to create your next masterpiece, or generally feel satisfied with your life.
But how can you tell if you’re getting “enough” creative inspiration, and what can you do if you’re in short supply?
Gauging Your Creative Inspiration
It can be tough to gauge how “inspired” you are at any given time, or whether you’re creatively stimulated. But you can get closer to an answer by considering these questions:
· Do you feel excited to make things? Regardless of what your art form of choice is, do you feel excited or motivated to sit down and start creating? If not, that’s a sign that something’s missing in your creative life.
· Is there a clear trend in your recent work? There’s nothing wrong with going through a specific period
of artistic development with recurring themes, but if you notice that all your work seems to have a similar point of origin, or if it all looks or sounds the same, it could be a worrying sign.
· Can you highlight recent meaningful events? “Meaningful” here can mean a wide range of things. Was there a recent interaction with a friend or mentor that helped you learn something new? Did you watch a film that truly moved you? If you can’t think of at least a few events like these that happened to you in the past few months, you may be lacking creative inspiration.
Finding More Sources of Stimulation
Now for the fun part. What can you do to get more creative stimulation in your life?
These are some of the first steps you should take:
· Upgrade your home and workspace. If you’re like most people, your home is where you spend the majority of your time, so consider giving it an upgrade
. This is especially true if you have a specific room or area of your home that you use as a workspace. Consider investing in better furniture that can support your work and make you feel excited to engage with it. Consider refreshing the space with a new coat of paint, or modifying it to better support your intended purpose.
· Get involved in a new medium or art form. Regardless of what your art form of preference is, you can inspire yourself and come up with new ideas by breaking out of your comfort zone and producing art in a different medium. For example, if you’re used to painting, try sculpting. If you’re a filmmaker, try making music. If you’re a photographer, experiment with creative writing. No matter what, you’ll be forced to use the creative portions of your brain in new and invigorating ways—and you might stumble upon some new idea or angle for your next project.
· Commit to raw output. One of the best things you can do as an artist is commit to more raw output; even if you feel like you don’t have any ideas, or if you feel like your work is garbage, just focus on production. Oftentimes, producing art can build momentum that makes it easier to produce the art you truly want. This is why creative challenges like Inktober
, in which participants are forced to do 31 illustrations in 31 days, or NaNoWriMo
, in which participants are forced to write a novel over the course of 30 days, exist.
· Always have art in your environment. Surround yourself with art in any way that you can. Hang more pieces on your walls. Play more music in the background. As you passively consume these pieces, you’ll generate more ideas inspired by them.
· Talk to more people. Go out of your way to talk to strangers. You’ll find something interesting about them, whether it’s how they carry themselves, their accent, or their strange choice of words. They might even lead you to some new discovery. Whatever happens, you’ll walk away feeling stimulated and exposed to something new.
· Go somewhere new every week. If you follow the same routine every day (or every week), you’ll eventually find yourself in a creative rut. At least once a week, commit to going somewhere you’ve never been before. It could be a new city, or something simpler, like a new coffee shop.
As you can see, the most important thread underlining these sources of creative stimulation is novelty. You have to find new people, new places, and new things to stimulate your creativity if you want to produce art that’s more original or more meaningful. How you do that is entirely up to you, but if you find yourself feeling empty or uninspired, you owe it to yourself to find a way.