Creative professionals rely on inspiration. Though it’s easy to go through the motions and become passive about our work, without maintaining a level of inspiration, we’ll likely start to feel dissatisfied and drained.
Signs you’re stagnating
– feeling overworked (read more about working hard vs. overworking)
– dissatisfied or unhappy with current projects
– boredom both in and out of work
– lack of direction
– lack of long-term or short-term goals
Every person gets inspired in different ways, but here are some ideas to get you started.
How to Re-inspire
1. Become an audience member
Step outside of your role as a creator and immerse yourself in a more passive role as a listener. For musicians this could mean attending a concert or listening to a favorite recording, or for artists this could mean going to a museum, for writers, reading some of their favorite works. Find artists that you respect, admire, or feel you can learn something from and let yourself absorb their work. Often times we stagnate because we’ve been overusing our creative muscles. Whether you choose to do this with a critical or analytical lens or just for enjoyment, either way is great for stepping outside of your own process.
2. Practice your art without a goal
For some of us, we become too task-oritented and forget to do our art for pleasure. If you fall into this category, pick up some new-to-you music to play on your instrument or play duets with a friend. Taking out the “work” element will help put you back in touch with what attracted you to your art in the first place.
3. … Or, set some goals
Alternatively, you might feel stagnated because you don’t know what you’re working towards. If so, set some short-term goals to start. Would you like to be getting more of a certain kind of gig? Playing a certain kind of repertoire? Maybe just making more money so you don’t feel so broke? Write down some ideas and see which ones get you most excited, then break that goal down into specific tasks you can start right away. For more tips on building your freelance career, check out this post.
4. Talk to other artists
It’s easy to feel alone and isolated while managing a freelance career. Get together for coffee or lunch with a colleague you respect and ask them what they’ve been working on and how it’s going. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions; you can gain great perspective by seeing how other artists handle challenges. There’s also no shame in asking for advice. A friendly colleague might have a clear idea on what they think is your strong suit, and can imagine you using it in a certain way you haven’t tried yet.
5. Take a break
If you’re the type to overwork yourself, you might just need a real break from work to start feeling inspired again. Sometimes disconnecting from anything work-related can bring you back refreshed and optimistic. We can’t all afford a week-long vacation, but even a weekend where you disengage from work completely can do the trick.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments of this post or the YouTube video. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more content like this, and let me know what you’d like to see more of.