How to stay inspired (for Writers and Artists)
Go to writing or art critique groups. Creative people need supportive peers to inspire, console, and bolster them. It is so important to get out of the office, study or studio to be around other people. Surrounding yourself with those who have similar goals and issues creates a positive synergy, infusing you with fresh energy. Someone in the group will always inspire you, give you a great idea, offer a solution, or provide a creative spark that keeps you going.
Create in another discipline. Artistic people have many outlets for self expression. For example, you can balance mental projects (writing) with hands-on (crafting). It awakens different parts of the brain and forms new neural connections. Switching it up keeps the creative juices flowing.
Always have a new project in the works. If you get discouraged with one, work on another. Experiment by changing genres, trying on different styles, writing for a different age group.
Continue growing and learning all of your life. Fill your mind with fresh ideas. Go to conferences; take classes; read books about the craft of writing and art. Educate yourself about the industry. Learn a new art form. Connect with other artists who inspire you. Develop new techniques, styles, and hone your craft. Take a successful artist out to lunch and pick her brain.
If the muse isn’t visiting, get out of the house and visit her. Make weekly art dates with yourself. Peruse book shops, galleries, concerts. Read in and out of your genre. Take a nature hike. Sketch in a coffee shop – and eavesdrop. Inspiration is all around you. Art is ordinary life charged with meaning! Look for the beauty, the grit, the unusual, the humor, the symbolism in everyday life.
Remember that art requires a period of gestation. Accept moments of non-productivity as the yin that goes with the yang. Something wonderful may be brewing inside. Dream. Imagine. Allow it time to take form. When you revisit your studio, you’ll have a fresh infusion of energy. Always remember: the fire will return.
Reach out. Your art does not have to be between the covers of a book – or on a canvas – to find an audience. Teach painting classes, tutor children, visit schools. Reach out and connect with other audiences. Read stories and bring puppet play to preschoolers. Their smiles will make your day! You’ll find deep satisfaction in sharing a part of yourself and your talent.
Be ingenious; be inventive. Organize a small schmooze, a wine and cheese event for other artist and writers. Join a book club or a crafting group.
Adopt a Zen-like philosophy. While you wait for agents’ or galleries’ responses, do not obsess. Focus on your art in the here and now. Artists are emotionally invested in their creations. Separate your creation from the business end. In the meantime, learn from critiques, others’ wisdom, and incorporate what is useful. Keep at it, grow, improve, and… relax.
Listen to others’ success stories. Clap for friends and critique group partners who are published and those friends who have illustrated picture books! And be sure to celebrate each of your little successes along the way.
Remember why you started creating your art. When you were 5 years old, art and storytelling was fun! Joyous! No pressure! Sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself to write because you enjoy it, not (necessarily) to gain recognition or make money. Allow yourself to play, dabble, experiment and to do “junk” art. Keep a scribble notebook handy. Write “stream of consciousness-style.” The arts are about transcribing emotion. If you keep loose, feel spontaneous and free, so will your art.
And the most important words to inspire you are: Just do it. Now! Writing requires butt-in-seat time. Art requires easel time. Roger Ebert said, “The muse visits during the act of creation, not before. Don’t wait for her. Start alone.”