A creative career can be amazing. Often no two days are ever the same and you’re only limited by the extent to which your creativity takes you. You can pour all of your thoughts, interests and ambition into either a rough draft with potential or a fine masterpiece. But what happens when inspiration runs dry? There have been so many times over my 10 years as a blogger when I’ve suffered writer’s block, lacked motivation, and have been utterly incapable of styling anything worthy of photographing. Naturally, inspiration comes and goes, but if you’re a professional creative (such as a professional blogger) you need to learn how to ride these times and still be somewhat productive. Over the years I’ve discovered some excellent ways to not only stimulate creativity when you’re running low, but also to create a stack of ideas to provide you with a constant supply.
I remember when I first started blogging, I had no idea how to plan content or from where to source new ideas. There were times when my mind was brimming with inspiration which I would then create. However, as soon as my creative ideas had ran out and I’d created all of the content I’d been inspired to create, I ceased to produce anything new until a new idea popped into my head. This could mean that days, weeks or even months would pass before I was able to publish a new blog post. If you’re a hobby blogger, this method of working might be precisely what you want, but not if you’re a full-time content creator. I’m often asked how I come up with a steady flow of content ideas for my blog, so here are some of the methods I use to seek inspiration.
Go to the Mall for “Research Purposes”
I love this one! There aren’t many job roles that allow you to convey the sentence: “I’m going to the mall today for research purposes for work.” As a fashion blogger and stylist, keeping up to date with new trends is important. I also like to go and see how fashion stores style their own collections and the mannequins on display. Everybody’s vision is different and I really enjoy observing the ways in which others style outfits. This practice always sparks my imagination for new outfits and colour or pattern combinations. Sometimes I will just go and browse while taking in anything catches my eye. Other times I will take notes or get a couple of quick photos on my phone. I’ve found that this not only gets my creativity flowing for image creation, it also encourages me to think about topics for future blog posts.
Immerse Yourself in an Activity that Sparks Inspiration
A couple of months ago, a fellow blogger asked me what I do when I need to find inspiration and am suffering from writer’s block. I told him that I often go out for the day and try to escape my routine until my creativity reappears. Admittedly, I don’t do this all the time because it can become a very costly habit. I find that going out, travelling, and seeing new surroundings fills me with new ideas that I might not necessarily have uncovered while sat at home. We all have a favourite activity that sparks inspiration. For me, it’s just getting out of the house and doing something new. Other people immerse themselves in music, art, film, sport – everybody is different so just do whatever you enjoy and let it inspire you.
Lose Yourself on Social Media or In Magazines
Usually, I wouldn’t recommend social media for finding positive inspiration, unless you are the visual type who can get lost in admiring quality and skilled photography. I’m not talking about looking at what somebody else has, but rather pick out the images that immediately make you feel happy. Lose yourself on social media, ideally Pinterest or Instagram and seek ideas that you can recreate and make your own. Alternatively, stay offline and flick through some of your favourite magazines. Cut out images that you like, make a collage and write down notes about why you like certain photographs and styling techniques. If photography isn’t what you’re about then do the same with articles – highlight phrases and quotes that stand out to you.
Rediscover Hidden Gems on Your Own Doorstep
I’ve come to learn that you can really get to enjoy the mundane when you observe it through a lens. The most boring, everyday things in life can become exciting when you style them right for a photograph. Little drops of rain, tea cup rings, spilled milk. The same can be said for your usually surroundings. A couple of years ago I went on a photography day out and it made me look at my daily surroundings with a completely new set of eyes. Just when I thought I knew and had seen every part of town, I noticed so many photogenic captions that I’d never noticed before. Your view can look substantially different when you look up at the buildings as you walk down a familiar street. Change the way you allow your eyes to see things and I promise you that your view will change!
Go Explore – Just You and Your Camera!
Too often, we only take part in activities in order to see results. But I think that it’s worth just immersing yourself in a leisurely activity just for the fun of it. Don’t stress over achieving excellent results, just go out with your camera and enjoy the process of setting up a shot and taking photos. You might come away with images that you could and will use, but don’t make this the focal point of the activity. Go out and explore – just you and your camera! Try not to expect anything in return, other than feeling uplifted and positively inspired.
Lack of inspiration is no fun, but hopefully these tips will give you some food for thought about what to do next time you’re creativity is running low. Don’t be afraid of immersing yourself in an activity that you can really lose yourself in. This will help you to unwind and refresh, which often leads to creative thoughts!
For more information on planning content, check out my 1 year editorial planner for more tips and advice on how to plan and monetise content for your blog.