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Inspiration: 5 ways to inspire yourself

Where do you get your inspiration from? For me, it is any number of weird and wonderful places - something that has come up in discussion, something I have been 'studying', something that intrigues me.

The little godwits that migrate from Alaska each year, ending up in beaches across NZ (even going as far south as the SubAntarctic Islands) are a good example.

I'm not immune to writer / artist / photography block though and have developed a few strategies to get me through. One of the challenges of the last few years has been that there has been considerably less opportunity for collaboration and face-to-face discussions (zoom doesn't really lead to masses of inspiration).

So, if you find yourself in a 'block' here are some of the things I try:

  1. Look Back - it is surprisingly inspiring to look back over previous work (things you have completed); this reinforces the fact that you can think, create, finish a piece of work. Works for whether its art, craft, writing - doesn't work so well when trying to create dinner

  2. Tidy up - not in the Marie Kondo sort of way, because that will actually just become procrastination, but in the decluttering your workspace sort of way. When you cast your eyes around your work space are they constantly landing on things that remind you of all that you need to do, all that you haven't done, etc? If so, clear the space and give your brain a chance.

  3. Stop trying - if inspiration isn't coming, stop trying to force it. A bit of a cliche but get outside, go for a walk, pat the dog, weed the garden. Don't try and force creativity because nothing stifles creativity like pressure

  4. Doodle - yep, doodle. A surprisingly relaxing thing to do. It is also associated with increasing our memory and focus. It is also creative.

  5. Coffee - well, to be fair I try coffee whether or not I have a block to my creativity - it just seems to help no matter what!

There are other things that you can try to - sort of preventive strategies. When things are going well try and associate things with this highly productive time. For example, when you are being super-creative are they clothes that you wear, music that you listen to, food that you eat that subconsciously becomes associated with productivity? If so, take note, and all it might take to get those pencils out again may be pouring a coffee into your favourite mug, or slipping on those baggy track pants.

What strategies do you use?


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