Out of ideas? Mind a blank? Read this…

Nature can bring inspiration…

I like blogging, I really do, but sometimes the fact that my self-imposed deadline for writing my blog is creeping up on me, and I feel like I haven’t an idea in my head, is daunting.  Even prolific bloggers, such as Seth Godin run out of ideas sometimes too, which is comforting.  So when you need inspiration for something, where do you go and what do you do?

The Oxford dictionary definition of inspiration is

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is little that is brand new out there in the way of ideas, and that being inspired to be creative is often simply about a reinterpretation of old ideas.  That’s not to say that taking ideas and making them unique to your particular purpose is a bad thing.  In fact, new perspectives, or reminders can be very productive. The question is, how do you keep the inspiration flowing?  How do you tap into that process of stimulation? Here are a few suggestions:

Be mindful of where and when you have your best ideas

  • Is it when you are outside?  If so, factor a regular walk into your routine, or just go into your garden for a short while.
  • Is it when you are with other like-minded people? Seek them out on a regular basis in networking meetings, organisations/clubs of which you are a member, or on social networking sites.
  • Is it when you are listening to music? Do you need it in the background, or as a dedicated activity?  Or do you prefer silence?
  • is there a special place that inspires you?  Can you go there, either physically, or mentally?
  • Is it when you are at the gym?  Good for you!  Healthier and inspired!

Of course, sometimes inspiration can strike at completely random moments too, so be prepared….

Store your ideas somewhere

I’m a big fan of notebooks, and carry one around with me all the time.  You could also use the audio recorder on your phone, or, if an amazing idea strikes while at your pc, then be sure to have a special “light bulb” folder to quickly note it down.  Brilliant ideas sometimes come in the middle of the night, so have something to write on/with nearby (and have fun trying to decipher your in-the-dark writing the next morning!)

Capitalise on the inspired times.  “Bank” your creative ideas, both complete and incomplete so that you can use them at the times when you’re less inspired.

Record anything and everything

Even if you have what seems at the time like a fairly odd idea, you never know when it might turn into something!  The more material you have, the more you have to choose from when you need it.

Just make a start on something

You can always change it later.  It’s sometimes harder to sit staring at a blank canvas, than to play around with something which has already been initiated. Get something down, even if it’s not much, or not what you really want.

Talk it through

Discuss your thoughts with like-minded people.  Creativity often thrives in company.

Still out of ideas?  If all else fails, consider this as an idea:

Good old procrastination

Seriously!  Go off and do something completely unrelated, to focus your mind elsewhere and you may find that inspiration comes to you unbidden.  This is what sometimes happens when you try really hard to remember something, and can’t, then the answer pops into your head a little later when you’re thinking about something else, because you’ve taken the pressure off.

Why not use procrastination to add a little pressure?  If you have a deadline to meet for your inspiration, try the strategy of doing something else which leaves you only a short time-frame for coming up with the inspiration.  It’s amazing how focused and creative you can become when you have only a limited time for being so!

Ask yourself: does this really have to be done now, or is this a self-imposed (and possibly unrealistic) deadline?  What would the consequences be if I just didn’t do it?  Sometimes just taking a step back, or giving yourself the choice to do, or not do, something is enough to revitalise creativity.  Who knows… you may become inspired to do something different that you hadn’t even considered!

I’d love to know how you get inspired…..



About Marianna Beckwith