I remember writing my first book, the grin on my face as I set up my document. Fast track six hours later and I had written ten words, along with a feeling of wanting to bang my head against the wall.
As creatives, we sometimes just don’t have the will to write, and that is completely okay. This is why we have Google to give us advice when all we want to do is crawl into the fetal position and sleep the pain away.
Why Do We Encounter an Inspiration Block?
Having a block feels like your brain is in a black hole of nothingness. You can’t think of a to-do list, let alone what the next concept to focus on should be. We feel somewhat scatterbrained as we sit, angry at ourselves, feeling useless that we can’t just type (and stress when the task is due in three hours!) which, mind you, has happened more than once.
We often live in a sense of denial, believing the world needs to stop because we lack the willpower to complete our tasks. To get you out of this denial, as well as allow you to confront yourself honestly and openly, here is the typical presentation of a creative who has been left uninspired.
Team No Sleep
When you stress, sleep doesn’t come that easily. This puts you in a cycle that makes you have this constant feeling of not having the energy to think. It doesn’t matter how many cups of coffee you’ve had; your muse does not make an appearance. As creatives, studies show that if REM sleep (a form of deep sleep) is not obtained, we are 32% less creative.
Knowing you are feeling less creative already puts you at a disadvantage. This is primarily because if we feel less creative than normal, how can we expect to feel inspired to create content we are proud of?
How Does a Lack of Inspiration Affect Creatives?
Have you ever been told by your significant other, friend, family member, or co-worker that you’re grumpy? Well, this is how it precipitates with creatives. We tend to not know what to think, causing our mental health to take a plunge.
Ultimately, this will affect our ability to reason, think rationally, and produce content. What we also find is our relationships begin to take more strain as we are too tired to enjoy life with our partners, friends, and family.
We become angry with ourselves because, as creatives, we shouldn’t feel stuck. We are the ones who should always feel inspired, because isn’t the world our oyster? However, when we let our emotions get the better of us, no matter how hard we try to resist our fear of failure, it will always be there, like the Grim Reaper standing ready with his scythe.
Where Do We Find Our Goldmine of Inspiration?
When creatives lack inspiration, we need to confront ourselves and ask what we believe it should feel like. Often, we tend to overcomplicate what it means, using an all-or-nothing approach.
Where to find inspiration? Well, you are either inspired or you are not; there is no in-between. However, we cannot put a time on when it will spark again because there just isn’t a quick fix.
We know this isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear. Although, we would rather give you the facts rather than you searching for a quick fix you will never find. So, with this, we ask ourselves, “What can we do to feel inspired when there isn’t an immediate cure?”
Research shows that living a healthy lifestyle, whilst focusing on your own well-being and mental health, heightens productivity levels by 84%. However, feeling inspired will not always be from an external source. Believe it or not, it is possible to inspire yourself, and here are five easy and simple ways to do just that.
1. Whip out Spotify
Music has the ability to calm us down, get us pumped up for the day ahead, as well as keep our minds active whilst performing other tasks. By switching on your favorite playlist, you are setting up an environment that you feel comfortable in.
When we find ourselves in our favorite environments, we are more productive, we work faster, with better accuracy, and we have extra time to spend on hobbies and activities that make us happy.
Studies have shown that 90% of workers perform better when they listen to music, with 88% of workers submitting work of higher quality than what they normally do. With the ability to think clearer than before, a thirty-minute playlist is much better than staring aimlessly at a computer hoping that your work will magically complete itself.
2. Turn to Your Friend: YouTube
We often don’t give YouTube enough credit with its smorgasbord of material. As humans, we crave affirmation, which is why watching a TED Talk on YouTube can stimulate all kinds of methods for self-affirmations that heighten our productivity levels.
Watching online media shapes and reorganizes the manner in which you think, enabling you to think about the same subject critically and with a different perspective.
One could even type in keywords related to your task at hand, establishing altered viewpoints that can streamline your approach. This leaves you more inspired than before, whilst making the execution of your work that much easier.
3. Cash in Your Eight Hours
We’ve all heard that it is crucial to get eight hours of sleep, but as creatives, we all know that, in itself, is a dream.
This must change.
Our brains use sleep to not only refresh our minds but also to store memories of that specific day, leaving us fresh and ready to handle what tomorrow has to offer us.
When we don’t get (enough) sleep, there is no amount of caffeine that will help us to think clearly, accurately, and in a meticulous manner. We tend to then spend more time taking afternoon naps than actually working, causing our stress levels to surge.
When our brains are allowed to think clearly, we create linkages easier and have the ability to critically assess different perspectives of the same situation. We delve deeper into the how so we have the ability and brainpower to change the what.
4. Get Your Heart Pumping
Getting out of your cozy chair to do some exercise may be one of the most difficult situations for any creative. We are so stressed about deadlines, not progressing in our tasks at the rate we would want to, and even what the future holds that we don’t give our body what it needs. However, taking a 30minute walk in the park or hiking past your favorite waterfall may just be what you need to find your muse again.
Here is a fun fact: When we exercise and get our heart pumping, our body releases endorphins, causing our stress hormones to decrease. When we stress less, we think clearer. When we think clearer, we are more likely to trigger thought processes that benefit our productivity.
5. Invest in Downtime
Take a minute and think of the last time you did something you enjoyed, an activity that wasn’t related to your work. We bet you it was a lot longer than what you initially thought, right? We cannot emphasize how important it is to give your brain a break.
Neurologists have found that doing something you enjoy each day allows you to feel calmer, less depressed and anxious, and more motivated to reach your end goal.
The effects of allowing your brain to relax should not be seen as time lost but as willpower gained. When you do what you enjoy, you feel happy, and happiness can only lead to positive outcomes.
It is important for you to know that you are not alone. Feeling uninspired happens to all creatives. It does not matter whether you are an artist, a composer, a ghostwriter, or an actor; feeling uninspired will make you feel depressed, causing a spike in your stress levels.
Staying inspired is not easy. However, you do not have to fall into the trap of feeling uninspired, thinking there is no way out. Do not discount the effects music, video clips, a healthy sleep schedule, and exercise can have on your cognitive ability.
There is no quick fix in obtaining gold from your goldmine. Although one thing is for certain, with every swing at it, you will be one step closer to finding your own riches. Getting back to your former creative self may be difficult, but remember, it is not impossible.