5 Ways To Find Inspiration During Winter Time
I don't know about you guys, but when it's cold outside and all I see is grey skies for days on end, I'm not going to lie, I have a hard time feeling inspired. It seems so easy to put down that pen or guitar and pull up netflix instant watch and let an entire evening filled with potentially great creative opportunities slip away.
Come on people. No more excuses! No more whining and waiting for the weather to get better, or for things to get less hectic, or even for things to get more hectic. Now is the perfect time to create.
So, after some thought, I've created my 5 steps for finding inspiration during winter time:
1. Take a day to stop looking for inspiration.
What?! Isn't that counter-intuitive you ask? Absolutely, not! I'll never forget my experience being in the trenches writing for Meg and Dia's album "Here, Here, and Here". The producer would call me every few days to try to give me advice and let me know that the label was expecting something soon. I could feel the pressure mounting up cramped in that apartment in Burbank with my band members all wide-eyed and depending on me. Let me tell you, ladies and gentleman, this is not the best way to allow the creative juices to flow! If I had only taken a day off to go visit Long Beach or my favorite pancake food truck for an afternoon and left my guitar at home, I guarantee I would have had at least a few new song ideas floating around my head when I got back.
2. Create even if you don't feel like it.
Now, this step seems to contradict the first step at first glance. The beauty of it is to take this step after you've completed step number one and you feel refreshed and ready to tackle your project. If you exercise even though you don't feel like it, will you still lose weight and feel healthier? You bet! Now, creativity doesn't work in exactly the same way as that example. Just because you try doesn't mean that you will come up with something that you love and can't wait to share with the world, but I do think that you will learn something each time you complete a project. Maybe it didn't turn out exactly how you wanted, but now you have an idea for an amazing new angle the next time you take a go at it. Nick's creative ideas are a great example of this process right now. You think he came up with his awesome Industrial Light Fixtures on the first try?!
3. Finish it.
I heard a student at Berkeley ask John Mayer in an interview how he could tell if the student's songs were any good. "Well, did you finish them?" John immediately responded. "Well, ugh…" the student began stammering. "Did you finish any of them?" More stammering and then silence. "How can you tell if they are any good if they aren't even finished yet?" My friends, John is right. How can you???
4. Try something out of the ordinary for you.
If your usual film choice is a Spaghetti Western, try to switch it up and go for science fiction for a change. I previously thought I couldn't stand anything having to do with googely-eyed green people. Then, after Nick bribed me with a pumpkin flavored chai, I reluctantly agreed to watch Ridley Scott's Alien.
There was just no turning back after that.
That was the beginning of my surprising love for science fiction movies. We immediately proceeded to watch Aliens, and Alien 3, and are anxiously awaiting for Prometheus to land in our mailbox. Bring on the popcorn! (Remember, all in the name of spurring new creative ideas;)
I can't begin to tell you how many creepy and exciting jewelry design ideas have filled up my sketchbooks from being exposed to… Aliens!
Ask yourselves these questions:
-WHAT are you trying to accomplish with this project?
-WHY is this project important to you?
-HOW do you want this project to make you and others feel?
If you think you know these answers to the questions and there is no need to think about it, THINK AGAIN! There are so many times when Meg and Dia would sign up to do a tour, or write a song, or play a show without thinking about these questions. I think it would have helped so much if we would have had a conversation asking each other what we were all setting out to accomplish by doing A, B, or C.
When I'm creating a jewelry piece or writing a song, I don't start by throwing clay and metal together haphazardly or sketching a design for no reason. When I write a song, I don't just begin strumming chords. I close my eyes and sit really quiet and try to picture in my head and feel in my body how I want this art to make other people feel and how I want it to make me feel.
Now, to the trenches all of you! :)