Need Inspiration? Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!

inspiration do somethingWhatever your profession—writer, designer, editor, entrepreneur, writing coach, consultant, educator, farmer, parent—the turn of the new year reminds us we’re looking at a fresh calendar full of possibilities. How do we make the most of it if we’re lacking creative inspiration?

Stefan Mumaw, creative director at Callahan Creek and author of Creative Boot Camp, said in the May 2013 issue of How magazine (“Jumping 5 Creative Hurdles,” by Julie Ann Sims):

Inspiration, like routine, is behavioral. It’s an internal result of an external action. We have to do something to be inspired. Creatives often think that inspiration hits them unprovoked. This simply isn’t the case. We have to put ourselves in positions for inspiration to come. We have to be exploring, discovering or seeing. We have to be listening or thinking or moving. It’s a result, not a random act. (30)

You want ideas? Need inspiration? Help your mind break free from routines: Do something. Mumaw offers a starter-list of ideas to get you in motion:

  • Read a book
  • Take a walk
  • Watch a video
  • See a movie
  • Throw a paper airplane
  • Wear a headband
  • Stand backward in the elevator
  • Draw a stick figure
  • Tell a joke
  • Find a new blog
  • Disassemble a stapler
  • Create a paperclip monster
  • Solve a new problem

Each of those will create opportunities for mental exploration, discovering, thinking, moving or doing. Each of those, Mumaw points out, launches with a verb—each requires doing something. “Inspiration,” he concludes, “is found through verbs. So verb” (30).

Next time you need some inspiration, seek creative stimulation—like Julia Cameron’s Artist Date, modeled regularly at Tweetspeak Poetry. Or for a more dramatic creative boost, take your verbs to the next level so that they require a risk—keeping in mind that risk is relative.

When you need inspiration throughout the year ahead, make your own list of verbs and do something. Who knows? You might find creative inspiration in the middle of a snowball fight, a trip to an art museum, a tour of an apiary, or a walk on the beach.


Source Cited:

Sims, Julie Ann. “Jumping 5 Creative Hurdles.” HOW May 2013: 26-30. Print.

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  • Comments

    1. So true! Walking is one of my best inspiration-boosting activities. It seems I have to move my butt in order for my brain to work right. :-)

    2. Loving your new look and new direction, Ann! (But please figure out a way for us to subscribe to comments, okay?) I’m feeling buried by end of the year enjoyment and obligations and need a break from blogging and even from writing, I think. So I’ll be around a little, but not too much. I’m toying with some of the ideas you and I discussed in our Skype conversation during the class and even had Lyla design a couple of buttons for me . . . we shall see.

      • You’re so sweet–I will talk with Chris about turning the subscribe to comments feature on, but he doesn’t recommend it. Taking a break is great–another way to get some inspiration is to get a breather and live life. Can’t wait to see what you might do based on our conversation. Nice teaser to lure us in!

        • The first 2 work great, but do not seem to work quite as well with constant interruptions to my train of thought….

          (In reference to your conversation with Diana) I read somewhere that DISQUS works well with WP, so that may be another option? I had to remove it from my blog because it doesn’t play well with the recent Google changes, but – while I had it – it was easy for folk to know I had responded.

    3. I am trying to do things different. Decided to let my hair grow and am wearing a bando (sort of a head band) Love your suggestions.

    4. Ann – Yes, this is a great post, and a great one FOR ME! Thank you. I love all that you are doing in your life and in this space. It’s so true to who you are. I am so thankful to be heading into 2014 WITH you!

    5. Ann,
      Love the new look of your blog; thanks for all of these great ideas and for the ping back…most of all, thank you for your friendship. Praying you have a fabulous year.

      • So glad you stopped by, Dolly. Your own writing life has engaged my own creativity–a reminder that seeing others going out and doing something can bring inspiration to do the same myself. :)

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