Where do you find inspiration? On the bus. On the verge of sleep. On a run. At the gym or in the shower maybe. This is something I've had to think about lately after starting a creative writing course. It's a question I've been asked a couple of times and something I hadn't really thought of before (well despite noting that I always seem to think of the perfect ending for that essay I've been stuck on for the last week just before I'm about to fall to sleep.) I think that inspiration can occur anywhere except for when
I'm looking for it, so I tend to take inspiration from my surroundings. If like
me you struggle to find inspiration when you need it most of all - fear no more
because that's what this post is all about.
The remedy for your lack of inspiration or motivation (yes I am talking like a doctor) will depend on what you're needing inspiration for. For example if I need to organize my bedroom (code for: clean the bomb site) I find I'm more likely to do it after watching a ton of room tour videos on YouTube - because they all look like something out of a showroom. Which is all well and good but this won't help me get my bum to the gym - so I'm splitting this into sub-headings for you to find the right cure for all of your inspirational problems - which should save you from having to read a load of rambling that's not related to your problem. Obviously these aren't 'the ultimate cures' for a lack of motivation or inspiration they're just things that help me when I'm struggling to get things done - like that essay I keep putting off.
Lack of motivation to work out
Some people find the cure for this is reading inspirational quotes or looking on YouTube at workout videos - but for me these don't work and to be quite honest watching someone else work out makes me feel exhausted. To get me off the sofa and to the gym I like to watch things like 90210 or Revenge (no that's not just an excuse to delay going for another hour) or I look at my favourite bloggers like Luanna Perez and The Line Up and tell myself that I could wear what they're wearing if I go to the gym. Sometimes this still doesn't work because let’s face it it's not the best solution so I just have to accept the fact that things aren't going to change and I won't feel better about myself if I don't get up off my bum and go to the gym. I find that going early in the morning helps because it motivates me for the rest of the day and I can't think of as many excuses not to go when I've just woken up. Something else that helps me when I don't want to go to the gym is the My Diet Coach app because it has sections that you can click on and get advice for things like motivational fades, exercise laziness and food cravings.
Creative writing inspiration
So I've already told you that I've recently started creative writing but despite not doing the course for very long the dreaded writers block has already struck once or twice (it doesn't discriminate or take it easy on newbies) meaning it can sometimes be hard to start stories or poems. For this, it can take me a while to get motivated or find something that inspires a plot. Sometimes it can be as easy as just listening to music and concentrating on that for a while, not thinking about the fact I have to write an assignment- you never know a lyric could resonate with you and spark off a whole plot idea. Other times it takes more. Like actually leaving the barricades of my bed and going into the big wide world. This could mean going to the gym to clear my head or sitting in a coffee shop - yes I am that weird person that does eaves drop on peoples conversations - but this is encouraged by creative writing teachers (no recorders though). Although that seems invasive and kind of creepy you might hear a snippet of somebody’s phone conversation and that person could inspire the protagonist you've been working on creating for weeks - it worked for Robert Garner McBrearty with 'What Happened to Laura?'. Recently I've found that the most effective way of finding inspiration is filling in a journal I've been set as part of my course. The idea of the journal is to write down any ideas that come to us so that if we're having writers block we can go back to it - which is all well and good but what if we have writers block to begin with? So I decided to approach the journal in a different way - making it more of a visual aid than a place to store information (of course I do still note things down in it as well).I've added quotes from my favourite writers, random words to help spark ideas for scenarios and some pages that just have images on to inspire characters or settings.
I learn in visual ways so for me this is great and it's something I love to do so it doesn't seem like a chore when I'm making it. If you learn in a similar way this could also work for you (if you have the time to do it). Alternatively you could read books or short stories in the hopes of creating characters or plots inspired by the ones you've read but I'd personally find myself repeating the original stories so this isn't for everyone. It could even help to read quotes from your favourite writers (or maybe even writers you've never heard of - ask your friends about their favourite writers or look on website like BuzzFeed or Bustle).
Although it seems similar this is not the same as the previous point. There is no amount of visual projects that will help me write an essay on mergers and takeovers for my business class. For this I would suggest maybe talking to someone in your class and see what they're ideas are on the topic. If you don't talk to anyone in your class or maybe you've left it too late and don't want to admit that you haven't started it yet I would personally turn to online student boards (make sure you only use these for inspiration though and don't copy from them because they aren't necessarily always the most reliable source). I find that even if it's not the same question a point someone has made may create that light bulb moment in my head and remind me of something my teacher has said to me. Other times I find it helps to simply go over your notes as this is probably going to be the most reliable method and your teacher probably made you write something down to help with this essay but you thought nothing of it at the time.
Art/drawing/photography (artsy projects)
I've always found that art/ photography teachers tend to like spider diagrams which to their credit can work really well to help start your creative juices flowing but not everyone likes them. So if you've come to a dead end with a project or maybe you just feel like drawing but don't know what to draw I would suggest flipping through the pages of magazines. This works particularly well for photography (providing the magazines have some substance and aren't just gossip magazines - although these may help with creative writing or projects on paparazzi/ voyeurism), magazines like BGP or Vice are really good for this and vice magazines are free. If you're doing a project on fashion reading fashion magazines or even looking at online versions should really help. If you're doing art you may also find inspirations in photos but this might not work as well for you if you're looking for artists, in which case google may be your best friend or maybe go to your local library or book shop to look at books that are loosely (or more relevant depending on what you can find) based on your project. Book shops like Waterstones are really good for this because you can sit and read the books in there without feeling pressured into buying them (which is great when you just want to find new artists). Looking at books might also help to send your work in a different (potentially better) direction than you'd originally anticipated. If all else fails just interact with others. Talk to friends or people in your class to see if they have any ideas. If you're feeling particularly antisocial or maybe you're just not in a friendly mood go to exhibitions (especially if they're free) you never know even the ones you think you have no interest in may inspire you.
I feel like this is fairly obvious - I get really inspired by Instagram, blogs and websites. Websites like Next home and Laura Ashley can be really good if you don't know how to decorate a room and looking on their website doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy things from there. I use the websites to get inspiration with colours and textures because they tend to show you whole rooms rather than just showing the bed or the curtains. If you can't find any photos like these on the websites - shops like John Lewis and Next have magazines with them in (although you have to pay for the one from Next) again you don't have to buy anything from the magazines they're just meant to give you ideas just like regular magazines. Places like IKEA are really good to go and have a look around (the showrooms) but if you can't really be bothered to do this I find it helps to pay close attention to rooms in programmes on the TV or friends rooms. Alternatively when I can't decide what to do with my room and want inspiration I just look on BuzzFeed or Pinterest. If it's not the whole room decor you're looking for but specific things to go in your room I would also suggest using these websites or apps like 'the hunt'.
A new look
If you're starting a new school/ year/ uni and you've decided you want to go for a whole new look (or maybe you're not starting anywhere new and have decided you've just outgrown your old look) going around town or looking in shops is probably the simplest solution. Other than that again blogs, websites, Instagram and magazines are probably the way forward - at least that's what I look at when I'm needing a new look. I also like to go on YouTube and watch look books - channels like The Line Up, Clothes Encounters and Le-Happy are some of my favourites. One of my favourite websites and probably the best suggestion I can give you for this is Lookbook.nu. It's full of all different people with their own individual styles, the majority of the people on there have blogs so it could mean that you find you're new favourite bloggers on there. The website is also really easy to join and post on so if you're happy with your new look and feel like showing us you could be one of the people that inspires someone else's style.
I hope that this helped with something and wasn't a complete waste of your time, if it did or you have any advice I'd love to hear it. So I better get back to that dreaded essay now that I've motivated myself i might even go to the gym after I've finished. Yeah I'm sure that will happen.