I have found over the years that I have a really hard time finding a balance between consuming a healthy amount of inspiration, and converting that inspiration into producing creative content. You’ll read blogs, magazines, watch documentaries, YouTube videos, etc. etc. etc. that say that you need to find what keeps you inspired.
For bloggers, reading other blogs is a big one. For writers, reading books. For videographers, watching other videos.
This is all good and fine. Reading blogs does inspire me. Watching my YouTube subscriptions inspires me. Scrolling through Pinterest inspires me.
But converting that inspiration into my own work is where I get stuck.
I want to consume, consume, consume this inspiration and all of these great blogs with all of these beautiful photos, and watch my YouTubers live their incredible lifestyles with their nice camera work, and then hours go by and I’m still watching other people’s creations and creating nothing of my own.
This has been a cycle for years. Years.
I think that what I’m coming to realize is that this ‘inspiration consumption’ is not so much inspiration as it is a sort of living vicariously through the creators of that which I’m consuming.
I suppose, in a way, this is inspiring. It’s motivating, seeing people be successful at what you want to be successful at too. But it only gets you so far.
I think from a standpoint of seeking creativity-inducing inspiration, looking to those who are successful at whatever is, is not the answer.
Recently I was in a total rut.
Like, a four-day heap of depression, doing nothing but sitting on the couch type of rut.
I decided this was a nice time to write a blog post. Because I like honesty. I like when I can see that people behind a screen are still real people.
So I wrote a post about the rut that I was in, and, not mention, got a lot of positive feedback on it.
This inspired me. Not the feedback, but the existence of the post itself, and the fact that I got one out there. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about my day-to-day life and what is inspiring to me in my own life.
What about my experience of life is thought provoking to me?
What do I feel that I am good at or have a lot of knowledge on?
What do I find beautiful about the world that I want the challenge of capturing behind a screen?
So now I am writing this post, because I am thinking a lot recently about what I’m consuming that is inspiring to me, and how important inspiration really is for creative production. Or at least, to what extent it is.
I challenge you to consider what you are consuming to feel inspired, and how well it’s really working for you. Maybe it even inspired you at one point, but it’s simply not anymore. Are you producing content? Are you feeling motivated not only when you consume it, but also when you start to attempt to create again?
I also challenge you to, first and foremost, use your own life experience as inspiration. I think that by looking at our own needs and interests and skills, our creative processes can be more driven and not lacking in resource.
So if you’re feeling uninspired, I recommend you stop looking for inspiration.
Stop consuming, consuming, consuming.
Don’t force yourself to create.
Go do something else. Experience life, whether it be adventure or utter boredom. Experience it.
Let your thoughts think freely.
I think it’s in these times, rather than in times of consuming other material, that we develop our creative processes and find the ability to produce something we’re proud of.
I learned from all of this that consuming too much of what successful people in the trade are doing puts a lot of pressure on me and my creativity. It was stumping me rather than inspiring me.
Don’t put too much pressure on your creative abilities.
I think people like what you put out more when it is original and honest.
I wrote a somewhat-related post last year about Ways to Get Creative for Free. You can check that out if you want, too.