How To Get Inspired When You Feel Uninspired

In Features, Latest News by Holland Keller

As a graphic design major, I am always racking my brain for my next idea for a new project. Deadlines and grades are daunting when I feel unmotivated to create something new. How do you find your muse on a tight schedule? Feeling “uninspired” can’t be cured—I will experience it off and on throughout the rest of college, and into my future careers. I have come to terms with this. Something else I’ve come to terms with is the fact that I have the power to control how I handle the ups and downs of being expected to create all the time. You have this power, too! Over the years, I’ve experienced a lot of creative flow as well as dried-up creative deserts.To combat negative energy toward creating, I have a few pick-me-ups that have helped me in the past.

  1. Get outside and try doing something different. If your homework or work or even daily tasks require a lot of sitting at a desk, getting outside and on your feet is a nice change. When I feel “idea-less,” I will often get outside and go for a run along the cliffs or in the neighborhood around Point Loma. I like running because it doesn’t require coming up with new ideas. The funny thing is that I actually come up with the best ideas when I’m exercising. Running brings clarity and variety to my thought processes. Try running, or walking, or even meditating outside.
  2. Make a list. This article is a list! I obviously love lists. If you’re not a list-maker, just try jotting down some points informally on a piece of paper. If you’re searching for a new idea, I’ve found that writing down all the “bad” ideas clouding your head first will often bring better ideas. Sometimes ideas will spark when I’m making the most random lists, such as what I need to do on a given day, what my homework is, or even just my grocery list for the week.
  3. Listen to music. I use music as a tool to get me thinking or calm me down. It can distract me from my thoughts and produce new ones. I make my own playlists or I use already made ones. Spotify actually makes a ton of playlists that are meant to be “inspirational” or to help you concentrate. My favorites are: FRESH FINDS, LUSH LOFI, and BRAIN FOOD.
  4. Do Nothing. Take a nap. Take a minute, an hour, a day, or even a week long vacation away from the stress occurring at your desk. Today I felt unmotivated to do anything, so I watched Queer Eye on Netflix. I gave myself a time limit, so I didn’t become unproductive and waste a whole night binging the series. After one or two episodes, I wrote this article! Take time to rest, but not too much time.
  5. Do some scrolling on Instagram, Pinterest, or an app with a lot of photos/videos to get you thinking again. Again, scroll with limits. Too much scrolling can lead to hours down the drain with nothing done, leaving you feeling more discouraged than ever. Pinterest is my personal favorite app to use when getting reinspired. It allows me to build albums of photos based off of my interests. I have an entire album of saved photos of art pieces that I really admire or clothes that I like. Looking at photos is visually stimulating for me and gets my brain going immediately.

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