Ever worked on a really inspiring project? Have you felt that surge of collective energy and momentum inspiration can bring to both the individual or groups of people involved? Simile have you ever worked on something and felt completely uninspired and that drain it can have on the way you feel trying to get it done?
Now thinking about that in terms of making music we can quickly see that inspiration is a pretty vital ingredient in the creative process. With it you can demonstrate your imagination to its fullest potential, without it can feel like a trying process where your best efforts show very little reward. So where can we get inspiration from to inspire us throughout the music making process and how can we store it so we have a limitless supply to call upon at any time? Now just a disclaimer I’m not sure anyone can fully answer that last part. Inspiration is something that lies deep within us and will change from individual to individual but lets try and find a way so you can tap into this highly motivating, creative energy source when you need it most.
Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative” but what is it? Is it something unknown that hits like a lightning bolt to those fortunate enough to receive it or is it more of a state of mind that we can tap into? Personally i prefer to think of it as the later, i know the feeling of inspiration and i also no the lack of it and how that can feel. I also know that there have been times when i have been successfully able to cultivate it and produce my very best work. So how can we do that?
The first thing we need to thing about is what inspires you? Have you ever really thought about what inspires you most? is it reading a book, watching your favourite movie, listening to music, being around your loved ones, thinking about your goals and dreams? As an individual its import ant to narrow it down. The quicker you can establish what truly inspires you the easier you are going to be able to tap into that feeling as and when you need. There is no right or wrong answer to what inspires you, be honest with yourself. If its something other people don’t find inspiring who cares. The most important thing is it inspires you.
Once you have established some of the things that inspire you and make you feel creative there are a few things we can do to “bottle up” this energy. Then when we need it most we can use some of these techniques to get inspired and get our creative juices flowing so we can hit whatever we are working on fully inspired in our most creative state of mind. Some of my techniques for this are as follows. Feel free to use these or adapt with your own ideas the only thing that matters here is creating that inspired feeling.
Okay so some of the things i find most inspiring are movies, my favourite albums, inspiring people, my own dreams and goals. I keep a good selection of these on hand for when i need them most. For example on my social media accounts i keep a folder with the people who inspire and motivate me the most. i know when i go in there these select people continue to inspire me by the moves they are making or the content they are posting. Simile i have a bunch of my favourite music in a playlist ready to go. Listening to the music that first got me into production and sound design inspires me and takes me back to why i started this journey.
One of my most powerful techniques is to write down your dreams and goals and include why you want them. What is your motivation for wanting them? Now this is going to differ person to person as what you and I want will most likely be different but the same principles apply. So one of your main goals could be admiration or fame or money or to be the best or to be able to provide for your loved ones etc. Having your goals in mind and really why you want them is powerful and especially when you are at a place in your life without inspiration, motivation or direction.
I keep a short list on hand with some visuals to tap into. When i feel inspired i don’t need them but on those days where i might question why i am working on a project for example i spend a few minutes remembering what inspires me, my motivation, who and what i am doing this for. This brings perspective and an ability to see the bigger picture. When we feel uninspired we are no longer seeing things from this wider view point and often we are too caught up in the finer details.
Sometimes it's good to take the foot of the gas and allow yourself those few moments to gather the inspiration and comeback stronger, believe me you will. If you return inspired whatever you are working on will reach its conclusion with greater ease than without it.
Another technique i like to use particularly when i am stuck on a creative project is to ask myself what is it i want to achieve here. What is the best outcome and my best intention from doing this? Again this really has helped me a lot in times i have needed it most when working on music, writing, working with clients etc there are many occasions when i have used this and found that thought about the desired end result all the inspiration i need to get it done.
When you are inspired you don’t need any technique to get you int that space, you are already there. I find with the above mentioned methods less can be more and i try to use them when i need them most. I think there may be a reason why as humans we are not necessarily walking around in an inspired state all day every day. Inspiration is not necessarily available to us on tap or on an unlimited supply, therefor it is import ant to use it wisely. Sometimes its good to let it build up. Ever taken a break from making music and you feel that creative urge desperately wanting to be fulfilled. That is inspiration re-loading and sometimes we can directly influence the supply chain.
I hope the next time you feel uninspired you have a wealth of inspiring material to tap into to get the inspiration back. If you have any other techniques you would like to share please drop them in the comments section below.