As with luck, inspiration is something you make happen for yourself rather than it being something that simply happens to you by chance. When you’re in the creative business, understanding this is critically important, as it saves you from feeling helpless or like you have to put yourself on pause until lightning decides to strike again.
But what does that mean? Well, I’d like to quickly explore some of the things you can do to ensure you stay ‘inspired’. It’s important to note that while this is highly applicable to creatives in the marketing, advertising, and PR world, it’s also equally applicable to any other individual that works in a job where they are required to think left of just outside the box.
- Be curious and devour everything. You can only be inspired if you have a wealth of stimuli to draw inspiration from. Read ferociously, stretch yourself intellectually (especially with work that’s completely outside your field or contrary to your own point of view), and do the research on the problem you’re trying to solve. Movies, pop culture, history, and politics, science, and the mystical. Be open to it all
- Be okay with getting it wrong the first hundred or so times. As Thomas Edison used to say “I have not failed. I have found a thousand ways that won’t work”. You’re not going to get it right the first time, every time. Be okay with that and learn from it.
- Be specific. The more specific you are about what you want to do or rather what you’re responding to, the greater the inspiration you can draw from to imbue into the creative you’ll produce. I don’t want to lean too heavily on the quotes here, but as Constantin Stanislavski said “generality is the death of art.” Be brave and go specific.
- Collaborate. Viewpoint diversity is important to gaining inspiration. Building on point one, you want to share your work and take inspiration from how it inspires others. Be open to feedback, however, don’t lose confidence in your work. Not all feedback is relevant – learn how to distinguish between what’s useful and what isn’t.
Finally, to be inspired you must be inspiring. Invest in others, support ideas, and always think with a ‘yes and’ mentality. Remember, only the boring get bored.