Inspiration - it means everything to creatives. Whether you're a blogger, photographer, designer or another profession, the truth is we need it. With it we feel like we can conquer everything. But what happens when we don't have it?
Sometimes you might want to write something, make something or cook something. Yet you sit there, your mind blank and you have no idea where to start. You're stuck and inspiration just doesn't want to play with you.
I believe that most of us have our best ideas inside us. It's how we get them to appear that's difficult. But I've found that there are some things you can to bring your inspiration back and help you create your best work yet.
#1 Think About Your Purpose
Only you and you alone know your true focus and values for yourself and your personal brand online. When you're struggling to come up with ideas, think back to the meaning of your blog or business. Think back to why you started all of this in the first place. Knowing that was key to helping you come up with your original ideas, and it'll be just as much help in the long run.
Why do you blog about what you do? Why these topics and nothing else? These will really help you to expand your mind. You can let your thoughts wander and think about what you wish you’d known about this topic when you were just starting out or what you want to learn in the future. Idea generation doesn't just have to come from what you know - it comes from within and what makes you, you.
#2 Have a Running List of Sources
I’ve always had a Plan B. I’m the type of person that likes being organised and prepared. I like having a back-up plan in various aspects of my life. When you don’t have any inspiration, you don’t want to feel stuck like most of us too. So why not have a Plan B?
If you know that you can get inspiration from certain sources, it’s going to be really valuable for you to keep those in a safe place. That way, when a block hits you, you can refer back to this list of sources and get your inspiration back straight away.
Evernote is the tool I’d recommend for this. I use it to keep all my blog post ideas in one place for all my different topics and for inspiration too. One of my notes is a list of all the sources I look at when I feel stuck. Here’s a list of some:
- My journal
Failing that I know that the other source is to step away. And that leads us straight onto number three.
#3 Step Away from the Noise
This is definitely one of the hardest things to do as a blogger. Social media and blog posts are big parts of our lives. We don’t switch off from them, because they’re part of the job description. But when we pay so much attention and listen to the noise so much, this will really affect your inspiration. Your mind will spin with different views, opinions and tips, and soon enough, you’ll become frustrated with it all.
Why do we dedicate so much time to things that don’t open up our minds to inspiration? There are so many ways we can consume information - you need to find the right way to intentionally consume it for you. Whether it’s reading, podcasts or video, make sure you’re picking a channel that doesn’t leave you feeling uninspired.
Sometimes, it’s better to step away from the noise altogether and reevaluate. Think about where you spend most of your time online and where you’d really like to spend it. You won’t develop new ideas if you’re in an endless cycle of uninspiring thoughts.
The difference is how intentional you are, and this is something I’m going to be speaking about in a lecture next week on personal branding. You can either scroll mindlessly through content online, not really paying much attention to it. Or you can be purposeful - you can open your mind and use your inspiration to see how you can use these ideas for yourself.
You might just need to step away from the screen. Get out into the fresh air. I swear by doing this. Last August when I was in the midst of transferring my blog over to Squarespace in 48 hours, there was a point when I didn’t think I was going to do it. Tom said, “let’s go for a walk.” I knew it was going to take time out of what I was doing but I went anyway. And it was the best thing I could’ve done. We walked in the country with the sun setting in the sky and it freed my mind.
Escaping doesn't mean you’re giving up. Getting away from the environment where you feel uninspired will teach you to pay attention to what’s going on in your mind. Is there a deeper reason you’re not inspired? Are doubts killing your ideas? Is something worrying you? You’ll never know unless you step away to escape and give your mind the breathing room it needs.
#5 Let Yourself Daydream
When you think about it, thoughts are actually pretty spectacular. Imagine how many you have in just one day. But you need this time to think. Not while you’re at work or while you’re doing other things. But when you’re sat quietly in your own company, just thinking. Let your mind wander. Close your eyes and let your mind go off on a journey. It’ll completely relax you and that’s when inspiration will happen.
#6 Train Yourself to Become Observant
It’s mind over matter, right? Just as you can train your body, you can also train your mind. This comes back to scrolling through social media. Looking without really looking won’t get you anywhere. Instead, you can train your mind to become more observant. Train your mind to pay attention and focus on the details.
Let’s say you’re scrolling through Instagram - are you really looking at the pictures? Are you noticing how they’ve been created? How they’ve been styled? The way they’ve been taken? These will all start to feed into your mind and soon enough, you’ll start to notice more every single day.
#7 Push Yourself
I talk about pushing yourself a lot on this blog. I talk a lot about the how usually, you need to push through the point of feeling uncomfortable in order to break through to the other side. It’s the same with exercise and it’s the same with inspiration. If your mind hurts so much and you don’t think you can come up with another idea again, your breakthrough could be on the other side of that. Maybe you just need to push yourself that little bit further.
Most of us have far more inspiration than we lead ourselves to believe. The problem is that sometimes, we don’t open ourselves up to it. But instead of looking for tactics and strategies, why not just look within yourself? Because really, your best ideas are already there.
Let's chat in the comments - what do you do when you run out of inspiration? Do you have any thoughts you can share?