You know what happens? I just don’t feel like it one day. Then suddenly, two or three days go without me writing a single word. Sometimes I just have trouble finding inspiration. There are days that I actually want to write, but can’t think of a damn thing to actually write about.
It’s the same with art for me. I don’t consider myself much of an artist, but I love to draw. Trouble is, I feel like none of it is ever good enough for me to do anything with. However, you only get better if you work at it. But every time I try to set my mind to it, I then go weeks if not months without attempting to draw anything.
It usually is something dumb that gets me to write. Something that just sparks my attention that I just have to say something about. Or, I see something on the internet that just tickles my fancy that I want to try and draw to commemorate that moment of inspiration.
My best poetry has come from stray thoughts that somehow come across as poetic. Still, oftentimes they turn into full blown poems. I don’t consider myself a poet at all. Yet, I have something like 200 poems. I’ve written more than those, but a lot of them never got beyond a few lines. That’s 200 or so that I’ve actually finished.
When it comes to novel writing or story writing, though, wow, I never seem to run out of inspiration for those. At least, to start with...
I have started perhaps a dozen different projects over the past two years. None of them have been completed - at least to my satisfaction as a handful are close. Some have morphed into other stories completely. After a while, I have so many conflicting ideas in my head that I just give up.
Creativity can be immensely frustrating. You might look at us artists and writers like we just sit around doing nothing. Actually, most of the time, it’s deciding what to do with our ideas... We have more crap that takes us far more time than we’d like to admit!
You know what people really don’t understand? It’s where the inspiration often comes from. People talk about meditation and how it can boost creativity. It doesn’t work for me – not in that way. It just relieves stress and helps me put things out of my mind.
In my case, creativity comes from passion. I have to get excited about something. Frankly, I get excited by some truly strange stuff. But there are sometimes long periods of time where I simply can’t get inspired. I lose interest in things oftentimes as quickly as I gain interest in them.
I can’t stay on one topic for long. I think it’s why I’ve never been able to finish any of my stories. My focus shifts too much. This is fine for articles and poetry, but not for things that require plot structure.
I made the decision once to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I wrote 50,000 words that year and technically “won” the challenge, but only about half of those words were anything I’ll ever consider usable.
I ended up having a story that was going in three different directions that I couldn’t reconcile.
It was a mess. I got to over 50,000 words – I can’t remember the exact number, but it was definitely over the mark. But it was a struggle and a painful experience. It’s a project that I’ve tried to rekindle again with modest success, but it’s back on the shelf for now. I’ll leave it be for the time being.
The next year, I just sat down and wrote without any sense of plot structure, rhyme or reason. I wrote whatever came to me as a stream of consciousness. I "failed" that year, and I've "failed" in every year since, yet I've now written some usable stuff, some of which is now published online!
This sounds ridiculous and sort of against the spirit of the whole novel writing process, doesn’t it? Actually, no. The entire point of NaNoWriMo is just to write. A manuscript isn’t the point. But I had it in my mind that I needed one, that I needed to have a core purpose. I did have a good story, but the plot wasn’t fleshed out and the characters only developed as I wrote.
I’ve decided that my creativity ebbs and flows in ways that I cannot possibly predict. I refuse to fight with it anymore. I’ll just let my brain do what it does, and when the inspiration hits me I’ll just let it flow. On days where I’m not inspired, well, at least I’ll come up with some potential article topics. I’m always going to need those.
My brain never stops moving. This is why I've decided to just brain-dump whenever I get the chance. I know I’m capable of writing the words. It’s the product that I’m unsure of, and that’s exciting!
I've found this strategy helps to spark my creativity, something I can use everyday. I’d encourage you to try something similar. Just spend a little time each day just working on whatever comes to you, no matter how silly it seems. Write or sketch the first thing that comes to your mind and go with it. Do your favorite craft or try a new one. Use prompts if you’d like. Just create. It’s good for you.
Do you have any special ways to get yourself inspired to write or create art, whatever sort of art it might be? I’d love to hear about them.