As humans, we all experience periods of time when we feel uninspired. It can be a frustrating and disheartening experience, especially when we are trying to be creative or productive. Whether you are an artist, writer, student, or working professional, feeling uninspired can affect your ability to come up with new ideas, find motivation, and complete tasks.
As I stare at the blank screen looking back at me before I started typing, I am currently feeling this way with all the ways that life is being really life-y at the moment. It’s both things big like the existential dread about the world collapsing when I have an almost 7 year old who will have to live in whatever mess is left and small around things that are specifically affecting me through work and other things.
Here are a few tips to that helped me overcome feeling uninspired and finally putting some words down on a page:
- Take a break — Sometimes when I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall trying to solve a problem or move past something I need to step away from it for a few minutes or days while I get my head back in the game. Unfortunately I am not programmed to step away from problems (or fights) and it takes a lot for me to stop for 24 hours (or whatever) before I continue. My intellectual, rational self knows I need to take a break but my stubbornness wants me to finish it. I have found that taking a break and a breather really helps me come back to the problem with fresh eyes and fresh energy.
- Change your routine — Executive functioning craves routine but routine starts to feel like monotony and habits start to feel like rules. Being able to create “spontaneous routine” has been a process as I try to keep the habits that support a healthy and happy life but can sometimes feel like chains. I have started booking “movement time” in my calendar instead of a specific workout. This way I have the habit of movement but I’m not chained to one particular thing.
- Get out of your comfort zone — Sometimes, we can feel uninspired because we are too comfortable with what we are doing. Push yourself to try something new, take a risk, or challenge yourself. This can help you break out of your comfort zone and find inspiration in new experiences. I started using a journal with prompts in it that I found in the “book cellar” or whatever Barnes and Noble call their cheap books now. I haven’t used a journal with prompts before so by focusing on specific sentence prompts or questions I have to think and write about what the journal wants me to, which can sometimes feel uncomfortable.
- Seek inspiration from others — I often fall into the egotistical trap of “it’s just me” or “I’m the only one”. As human beings (or maybe just the US) moved away from community centered care and thought we get trapped in our individualism. Except the problem with individualism is you’re just like everyone else. Hot Topic had (has?) a shirt that says “You’re unique, just like everyone else.” And right now that hits home as the US grapples with the struggle of rugged individualism or pull yourself up by your bootstraps with the desire to become more community centered and focused (just look at the fight we had over the pandemic). When feeling uninspired, going out there and reading content from others (or…gasp…books!) sometimes you get ideas from the most random places.
- Set achievable goals — Setting achievable goals can help you stay motivated and inspired. Start with small goals and work your way up to bigger ones. Celebrate your achievements along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t achieve everything you set out to do. Celebrate and give yourself the gold star for the goals you set and achieve. We all need a carrot on a stick once and a while to keep going but sometimes we have to make our own carrot.
Feeling uninspired is a natural part of the creative process. However, with a little effort and the right mindset, you can overcome it and find inspiration again. Remember to take breaks, change up your routine, get out of your comfort zone, seek inspiration from others, and set achievable goals. With these tips in mind, you can break through your uninspired feelings and get back to creating your best work.
Don’t be afraid to get back out there in life; inspiration and motivation can come from the darnedest places but you have to keep your eyes, heart, and brain open to finding it.