THE INSPIRATION to come up with new ideas is usually second nature to creative people. However, sometimes we simply run out of gas. If you feel like you’ve had your last good idea, don’t panic. Most of us hit the inspiration wall at some point. Best thing to do is to try to pinpoint the reasons why you feel like you’re running on empty. Consider the following:
Are you fatigued?
If you’re nearly at the end of a big project or you’ve been meeting rolling deadlines for months for example, you might be under par without even realising it. Fatigue will cloud your mind so it may be time for a well-deserved break.
“Get serious, I can’t take time out,” you say. This may well be true now but promise yourself you will take a break at the earliest opportunity. As a freelance, it’s particularly important to look after your mental and physical well being to ensure that you stay fit for work in the long run. In the meantime, take baby steps, e.g., a half an hour walk every day, a glass of wine with a friend, an afternoon doing something that you enjoy will go towards perking you up.
Are you bored?
If you’ve been doing something for a long time, you may have come to the natural end of this particular creative journey. You can’t get inspired about it because you’ve done it too many times. If this is the case, it’s time to explore new pastures. “What planet do you live on? This work is my major source of income. I can’t just give it up,” you say. Fair enough, and I’m not suggesting you dump your bread and butter work on the spot. However, you can start looking up from the rut to imagine what it is that will inspire you again.
You might need to make just a few small changes to get your mojo back. Alternatively, it might be a big change that’s needed that will take serious effort to achieve. Either way, planning and acting to move forward will help put a spring back into your step.
Are you too isolated?
Working alone for at least some of the time is a must for many freelances. However, too much isolation can be inhibiting. Perhaps you just need a good night out or perhaps you need more contact with other creatives on an on-going basis. Nowadays many freelances have set up working groups, e.g., in which they meet up once a month to discuss work and challenges. Since much of our work involves stories or music about people, getting out there to interact is essential (mostly).
Are you too introspective?
While the creative mind is a wonderful thing, too much brooding can lead us to the dark side. Experiencing the work of others can help us step back into the inspirational light. So do make the the effort to go to the theatre or a gallery or whatever it is that feeds your creative soul and that helps re-ignite passion for what you’re doing.
Try our ecourse ‘Overcoming Freelance Challenges.’