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Finding inspiration

How to find inspiration

It’s important to keep your creative well topped up if you want ideas ready and waiting for you when you need them.

If your creative well feels empty, it can be harder to create. It’s easy to think this is because you are not good enough, that there is just no creative magic in you.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s okay not to feel inspired every hour of every day but there are some great ways to keep topping up your creative well to prevent it running dry.

Six ways to fill your creative well

  1. Keep a scrap book – When you wake in the morning, take a moment to focus on the sorts of things you would like to create today or in the future. It’ll remind you to look out for creative clues as you go about your life or even as you sleep. Treat yourself to a scrapbook to keep all the things that call to you: magazine snippets, images, quotes, fabrics, random thoughts, anything that calls to you. Whenever you need inspiration, flip through your scrapbook with an open mind and listen to your imagination.
  2. Tune in – music is a beautiful way to weave inspirational into your day. Listening to your favourite tunes can boost your mood. According to Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology, ‘music seems to selectively activate neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes’. Experiment with different styles. Observe the impact they have on your imagination and match music to your creative mood.
  3. Travel (virtually for now!) – we may not be able to take advantage of the wonders and delights of far-flung lands at the moment, but travel magazines, videos, books, and travel blogs will give you a taste. Planning trips in the future may also fire up your imagination and give you a boost. Travelling inspires us to think differently, learn about new cultures, and make new friends, even if just from an armchair.
  4. Step into nature – going for a local walk may not seem innovative but you can give it a twist. Perhaps you could turn left instead of right when you reach a familiar path. Or maybe you go for a walk at an alternative time of day and see how your surroundings differ. Be present as you take each step. Allow yourself to notice things you would normally skim past and consider them from a fresh perspective. Walking mindfully is a great way to train your imagination to be more conscious.
  5. Be a ‘journalist’ – think about a topic you know little about, or an interest a family member or friend has that you rarely ask about. Become a detective for the day and dig deep to find out what you can about the topic. Perhaps you could carry out an interview and ask them open questions so you can hear about their experiences, learnings and point of view. Not only may you discover fresh insight and inspiration, you may discover something new to try and maybe even a new hobby.
  6. Collaborate – it’s wonderful to see so many new anthologies being published since the pandemic began. Writers have come together from afar to share their stories and support one another through these difficult times. Some of the best TV series, films and plays have also been the result of collaboration. Working on a joint project helps you share and build upon inspiration. It’s also a marvellous way to lift your spirits.

The more you can top up your creative well, the brighter the good days will be and the greater your resilience on tougher days. Inspiration will keep trying to find you when you need it.

Look after your well and it will reward you with buckets of ideas.

About Shelley Wilson

Shelley Wilson is a British, genre-straddling author of sixteen books including motivational self-help books and young adult fantasy fiction. She has a crazy black cat called Luna and is obsessed with vampires, Tudor and Viking history as well as exploring castles

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