Inspiration from the Arts: A Cure for Artist/Writers Block

One of the key factors in any creative subject is finding inspiration. In a nutshell, inspiration is something that motivates you to draw, write, play music- whatever your medium is. It could give you specific ideas or just motivate you. Either way, it’s an important factor, and the days you lack inspiration can make it very difficult to continue your art.

That being said, it’s different for everyone. Some people naturally feel inspired or find inspiration by chance frequently, whereas others may find it more difficult to come across inspiration. For some people, their lifestyle plays a huge role in their arts. I know many artists, writers or photographers that live in the countryside away from busy cities because it inspires them more. On the other hand, some people find that the exciting, bustling city life can inspire them in many ways. Everyone is different, so there’s no correct answer.

If you’ve been feeling struck down by a lack of inspiration, change is often very helpful. For example, if you listen to a specific genre or collection of music while working, maybe switching to something different can give you different ideas for your work. Or if you do live in the city and feel that the repetition isn’t helping, plan a day out in the countryside. Being surrounded by nature can be really invigorating for most people. If you’re an artist and use a small variety of mediums, perhaps experiment with other materials that you might not use much or haven’t tried before. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone as an artist can be key, because you have to think differently. Watercolours don’t work the same way as gouache or oil paints or graphite, so it naturally makes you work differently which can inspire you more.

If you’re a photographer, similar to art, maybe using a different camera such as a Polaroid or your phone could give you a different insight. Or trying out a different genre or new composition techniques. If you prefer macro nature photography, maybe try urban street photography. There’s also plenty of photography prompts and challenges available online to look through, such as shooting at the hip or without composing the image first. Shake things up to break the repetitive pattern in your life.

If you read a lot, you probably know what I’m going to say. Read a different genre, or a different author. I read a huge variety of genres myself, which inspires me to think of different stories which are all different in genres (which unfortunately makes marketing difficult for me). Some people, however, find they only really read fantasy, or romance, or horror, etc. If you’re one of those people, pushing yourself to try out a different book could be helpful.

However, as a general rule of thumb, most inspiration comes from the more artistic subjects. Books, art, photos, music, even theatre productions, films and TV shows. This is essentially because most practical hobbies or subjects require innovation, creativity, originality, and so on.

And on the subject of originality; it’s okay to rely on or use cliches. Cliches get a bad reputation because they’re seen as ‘lazy’ but actually, they’re used a lot for a reason. Depending on how well they’re used, certain character tropes or genre cliches can work really well to create a sense of familiarity between the viewer and the story. It’s only when you use them because you can’t be bothered to create different, more original tropes that it can become a problem. Relying on them too heavily will clutter your work and make it predictable. This is only really a problem found in writing, however.

My biggest inspiration comes from music. If I’m working on a particularly dramatic story, I’ll often listen to soundtracks from films that have a lot of drama. My personal taste at this current point in time are Makoto Shinkai films such as ‘Your Name’ and ‘Weathering With You’. As a whole though I prefer classical, orchestra music when writing, because it has much more emotion to me than other genres. However, some people like pop music because the strong beat and rhythm helps them think. It’s all down to personal taste. If you’re writing fantasy, listening to music and soundtracks from fantasy shows might work wonders for you.

Essentially, the main rule to avoiding and overcoming any sort of writers/artists block is overcoming repetition in how you gain inspiration. That being said, some of this advice might not even inspire you to write or draw or whatnot. Unfortunately, creative subjects require continuous effort. If you only write or draw whenever you’re feeling inspired, your work won’t be the best quality it can be and you’ll never learn the essential skill of overcoming mental obstacles.

Published by Alexandra Killworth

I'm Alexandra Killworth, YA author, freelance artist and photographer and mental health activist.

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