Saturday, January 11

3 Ways to Get Inspired (and 3 Ways Not to)

Mom was so mad when I spilled paint all over her white background...
Being a writer is hard; any art is. It's fun to ride the wave once you get a flow going, but when you get writer's block, it feels like nothing inspires you anymore. When I worked in corporate America, those days where I didn't get anything done didn't matter much; I got paid a steady salary no matter how many hours I put in or what work I accomplished. Working as an independent contractor is different – not being inspired to work means I don't get paid, I don't have a roof over my head, and I don't eat.
I hit many walls in the years I've written, and I learned ways to overcome them through trial and error. If you hit a wall in your work and are looking for ways to get inspired, here are the ways that worked (and didn't work) for me:

Do Meditate

Meditation is like resetting your frame of mind. When you focus on your breath and let all other thoughts melt away, you're brought to a state of eventual enlightenment. Like any other skill, whether or not you feel the full benefit of meditation depends on how often you choose to practice. Regardless, you'll give yourself a break, and when you return your focus to the task at hand, you'll approach it with a fresh mind, however…

Don't Overthink It

If you continue searching for inspiration, and you're not finding it, you may need to work on a new project. Your time is valuable, and learning to manage it properly is the key to success. If you're working on a song, and you can't come up with a lyric, work on your website instead. Go on social media to interact with your fan base, send emails out to PR and magazine reps. Fill out those boring copyright forms you never want to do. There's a plethora of ways to be productive with your music while taking your mind off words that rhyme with quiver…

Do Take a Hike

Sometimes it's easier to just walk away – literally. Go out and reconnect with nature. Backpacking, hiking, and camping are great ways to get in touch with nature. The experience will exhilarate you, and you'll put a barrier of time and distance between you and your problems. When you return to the project you're stuck on, you'll be a new you, with new experiences, great photos, and a new perspective.

Don't Procrastinate

Activities are great to get you started, but don't do them in lieu of your projects. Procrastination is never a good thing. If you know you have 2 weeks to finish a project, don't just put it off for a week and 6 days – plan it out now. Research it tomorrow. Do something small each day, so that when you do get stuck, you have time to sort it out, rather than stressing out while facing a looming deadline.
Procrastination is like not wearing your seatbelt; it's not going to crash your car, but when you do crash, you'll understand why everyone warns you…or you won't, and you'll just continue being an idiot until Darwin takes you out.

bright idea lifehack Versability
Igor! Get me a brain...

Do Get High on Life and Stuff

I used to seize the day and get high on life…but then I found I had to seize more and more days to reach the same high, so I started experimenting with stronger drugs. If you're safe and smart about your research, you'll ask the right questions and use the right drugs in safe ways. I found inspiration in a variety of substances. Most of them I only used once or twice, but I found alcohol useful in granting me blind courage, and marijuana expanded my creative horizons, so I used them with frequency throughout my life. Nicotine continues to follow me, and my eCigarette opens up more drug options. Whatever drugs you choose…

Don't Overdo It

Know that every drug (even those prescribed by a doctor) have risks. Every drug can be addictive, and anything could potentially kill you. Everyone dies, but you don't want to die because of complications from drugs. The older you get, the easier it is to die from an overdose, as well. As a kid, you have a decent recovery time and it's easy to feel invincible, but as an adult, every bad trip is real bad. I'm older than Chris Farley, Amy Winehouse, and other legendary artists who ODed, and that's the thought that keeps me going. Whatever keeps you going is up to you.

As you can see, a variety of simple options can help you overcome any obstacles during a creative drought. If you need to get inspired, don't get frustrated – just relax, breathe, and take a break with one of the ideas above (or let us know what works for you in the comments below). Now get back out there, tiger, and show the world what you're made of…

Need more inspiration? Check out 5 Reasons to Never Give Up...

Brian Penny (aka Versability) is a former business analyst at Countrywide's mortgage and insurance tracking services through the transition to Bank of America. In 2011, Penny turned whistleblower and freelance writer, exposing criminal fraud by BofA subsidiary Balboa Insurance. Brian is a frequent contributor to Huffington PostMain StreetLifehackHardcore DroidCannabis Now, and various other media organizations throughout the web.

In addition, Penny is an affiliate of Manduka and Amazon.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Brian! My name is Cameron and I came across your blog today and had a quick question. I was wondering if you could answer for me. My email is - Thank you! :)