Inspiration – how to avoid the empty sheet

The creative process – step 1

We create because we have been inspired.

A friend decided two days ago to write a film script after having buried his film career for several years now. Why? Because he saw a movie and was inspired.

Another friend did not believe she had what it takes to design until she took part in a course and was inspired by the works and experiences of others.

Without inspiration, we are staring at a blank piece of paper – which is scary. Too often people tell me: “I just don’t have any ideas.” But how would they? Ideas won’t fall from the sky. They are born.

Birth is a (painful) process, and inspiration is the “fertilization” of this metaphor. It’s the first spark of an idea. Many are afraid of this process, fall into despair if an idea isn’t brilliant at once, pull their hair out and lose themselves in the question: Will anyone ever like it? But THIS is not the question. This should never be the question.

A mentor once told me: If you try to please everybody, your work be nothing but boring.


1. Rely on your instincts

The first and most important rule is: It has to fascinate you! What thrills you? Lets your heart beat faster? Inspires you? You have to be able to answer this question. As an (aspiring) artist you have to name at least ten works that shaped and changed your life, those ten works that keep on inspiring you: books, films, music, a picture, sculpture.

As creatives, it’s our task to look actively for inspiration. It can be a simple sentence or the story of someone you know. The problem is: we’re often not looking. Because we’d have to change our outlook on life. We’d have to pass through life with open eyes, and hearts. Our LIFE has to become the creative process itself. We have dive into it, knowing deep down in our hearts: THIS is what inspires me!


2. Listen carefully

You cannot listen to every opinion. But you need a group of people who you trust, and whose opinion you value. Some of those should be ideally from your field of creation.

Don’t get bogged down in one idea! Having born a creative thought in labor, we’re like mothers: nobody should even dare criticize our children! But remember: your idea is never perfect, and every form of criticism should be regarded as a chance to improve and to grow. Be thankful for every helpful critique, glad for a fresh eye on your idea or work. Give those critical words a chance. Soon, you’ll see that they will advance your development.

Never underestimate brainstorming sessions and a warm cup of coffee. Sometimes it helps to even pronounce your idea out loud to somebody, and you will already see problems and solutions. Sometimes, creative ways and processes open up in the course of a conversation you would have never noticed yourself. So what’s the lesson? Invite friends more often to have coffee, and talk about ideas (rather than people or opinions).

What inspires you? Let me know in the comments below


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