As someone who gets paid to be creative, I take inspiration seriously. If I am not inspired, it will show in my work.
To me inspiration isn’t a moment but its a mood. I have to be in the inspiration mood in order to keep on creating.
Here is a list of inspiration killers; things to stay away from if working on a project. Though some of these items can sometimes inspire, most of the time it affects the creative groove.
-Social Media- There are time when I feel that burst of inspiration and get on my computer, ready to write a blog or do some editing but first, I decide to check my Facebook. I suddenly start thinking about what my friend in third grade did that weekend, or what my aunt up north is thinking. Reading everyone’s thoughts causes me to lose my own. I then sit at my blank canvas and realize.. my inspiration has been lost.
-Stress- Maybe this is a given, but having a peaceful mind keeps the inspiration flowing. I can’t think about bills, things on my to-do-list, politics, and especially personal life drama. I use to think that heart break was the queen of inspiration but all it does is cause depressing work… I have to be at peace with the world to focus on creativity. What is in the heart will show up in your work.
-Empathetic- You gotta care what you are working on. If you don’t neither will anyone elses.
-Procrastination- When I have a project that is due in two hours, I’m not feeling inspiration I’m feeling the deadline. My desire to make the best video ever has now just turned in to getting it down NOW. When I wait for the last minute to work on a project, the project starts to feel like a huge weight on my shoulders- killing inspiration. I no longer have time to try new ideas or fine tune my writing. I wasted that time procrastinating. Don’t wait for last-minute, give your self time to be creative.
-Messy Space- Those who works with me know that I am all about having the office clean. If I am looking at a blank time line and a dirty office, I will most likely clean before I start editing. A clean space allows you to focus on your work and not the mess on the floor.
-Lack of Sleep- You don’t want to create you want to sleep! Your brain needs time to recharge.
-Interruptions- Random interruptions are like stop lights. Get in a place where people won’t bother you. I don’t know how people go to coffee shops to work, I get distracted by the blender, the woman on the phone, the couple in the corner giggling or the door opening and closing. When its time to work, I gotta get in a quiet place. Closing the door can be the best thing for you.
-Lighting- Restaurants have figured this out, lighting sets the mood. For years my office use to have those ugly fluorescent lights. It use to make me feel like a work rat. I brought a desk lamp, turned off my office lights and set the mood. When the creative office was remodeled our boss put in track lighting for us.
-Looking too much at others work- Growing up a great piece of advice I learned as a girl was, “don’t look at beauty magazine, they will only make you feel ugly.” Looking too much at others work may cause you to lose your own ideas or worse, you may start to feel inadequate to create. Your greatest ideas will come from within.
-The burn out- If you are doing too much, then your cup will run dry. As someone who freelance, sometimes saying no can be the best thing for me. Be a good steward of your creativity.
-Junk Food- The days where I eat healthy I am attentive to my work. Because I feel good, I want to create something that will “change the world.” But when I eat junk food, I return to work wanting to sleep. I also feel guilty for eating bad which makes me feel fat and ugly. I once interviewed an 80-year-old woman and asked her to give some advice, she told me the brain stays sharp when you eat right.
Working for Free- This one is the monster of inspiration killer. In the beginning days, expect to do work for free, you are getting paid in experience but there comes a point when your creativity/work becomes valuable.
When its for your growth, its call investing in your creativity but when someone ask you to do something they know you can do and expect it for free – its called being used. When you agree to do work for no pay and you know you aren’t getting a dime for it – not even 20 bucks- the job becomes a burden. Suddenly you don’t feel like going the extra mile to make the project great and rightly so, you aren’t getting paid, why should you?
When I know I am getting paid WELL for work, I feel valued and my work reflects that.
We’ve all been in that place where it seems like we are all out of ideas. Look at the elements of your life and see if there is anything currently killing your inspiration. Maybe its as simple as your lighting.