When you lose your inspiration, is it gone or hidden? If it is gone, sell your gear. Follow the footsteps of many along the hills of the Monks. When epiphany strikes, return and buy more expensive elaborate equipment.
But, if it is hidden, you might just be saved. We all feel it’s gone, vanished or just walked out of the room to inspire the ones you watch on YouTube. It’s still there, you just have to press the right buttons to let it out. Finding the right buttons can be stressful if you depend on your creativity.
The experts know the reasons your inspiration eloped.
There is a forest of reasons why our creative minds go on strike. Fear of failure is a popular reason that is just overused. I don’t buy it. Fear drives us to do better. Without a crumble of doubt, we would not have art. You must have inherent insecurity if your work is up to your standards and what you are capable of.
Feeling you are not good enough, so those endorphins that use to pour out are now inhibited by your insecurity. I don’t have time to sit still and think creatively. In my opinion, sitting still does nothing. Creativity is an active process, and your mind must work really hard to come up with something that has never been done. That is why most creative works are iterations of something that has already been done. Very seldom does one find something so new nothing bears any relation to it? Convincing yourself that whatever you are going to do will look terrible.
Some of us are just too embarrassed to try something radically different from anybody else. If you are too embarrassed, then don’t blame your creativity for hiding a while. You are different because you are an artist. Even mathematicians had their most significant breakthroughs by just being a little different. Being the odd one out is precisely what differentiates you from other artists. Stand in a corner at an art exhibition, face towards the corner, I promise you will get attention, people will see because you are different.
Stagnant water is not considered a prime drinking spot for wildlife. I am a cat person, and cats will choose running water before stagnant water. The same applies to your work. There’s not must variation in a railway track is there? There is never more than three directions you can go, that is if you are lucky. You might have lost inspiration because you exhausted al the possibilities of your subject. Although that is not really possible, when one is in a particular state of mind, that state can limit your imagination.
I think one of the best methods of keeping your inspiration at full throttle is to have an ideas book. Once you start, it becomes a project book and later an encyclopedia of your mind. In some cases, I guess that can be terrifying, but I hope it is a source of direction. But seeing what you initially did can be embarrassing though. Hopefully, there is growth, and that should be a positive sign that you are moving in the right direction. If there is no growth, well, its time to get another job or hobby. Or start using a different tool.
I think inspiration and or creativity are elevated when there is contrast what you are trying to say. There is a belief that the most meaningful art is created during times of war. I believe there is significant merit because war creates conflict. The conflict is contrast. Good vs evil. Freedom vs incarceration. Happiness vs sadness. Right vs wrong. You might be on the wrong side, believing the ‘right’ is wrong. It does not matter. What matters is you start to think. Purpose initiates inspiration on its own. When man’s freedom is taken away, that is when there is revolt. That revolt is often expressed in epic pieces of art. A sincere desire to show the core dissonance within the soul releases the most moving artwork.
Art does not need a message. What a relief! Does this mean inspiration is not a problem? I don’t think so. It opens the door to meaningless crap. Please note I am referring to art and not DIY doodle artwork. Chained to unboundedness is the worst form of imprisonment. That’s a Dutch saying. I too take meaningless images of meaningless objects and looking meaninglessly at them on my computer gives great joy to my soul. But those meaningless images will not sell unless you have meaningless hoity-toity followers that provide worth to the cost of an image in a frame. Well, they do bring in some bread and butter, don’t they?
Information overload replaces inspiration. This is tricky. Load your mind with technical gear skills, and you lose focus on your creative work. Too little skills also hurt creative diversity in your work. So keep a balance. It is so easy to read reviews and other’s opinions of equipment, especially joining forums, that one can lose focus.
Social media is an inspiration killer. Social media numbs the brain. It is designed to lure you away from everything productive and creative. Expect a significant decline in creativity over the long term if you are active on any social media platform. I am not saying you should not market your work through these platforms. Let curators do the marketing. Do not troll social media platforms for inspiration, it will flood your mind so you cannot see the trees in a forest. Just remember, all social media platforms are tools to sell adds. Nothing else. You are their product, and they will use and manipulate you just so they can maximise their profit.
The environment you find yourself in is essential. A war correspondent living on Easter Island might be an archaeological dream, you won’t find a war to inspire your writing skills. The same goes for a studio photographer without a studio. If you lost your inspiration, re-evaluate your environment and gear. They might be misaligned with your passion. I live in a very dull part of South Africa for landscape photography. I can go out as many times I want, but there are limited places to photograph. Being inspirational will not change the landscape.
Give your inspiration a hard time and try to shoot stock. Each image takes as much time to make as a fine art piece, and you get a pittance for it. Yes, it might sell many times over, but to make ends meet, there must be thousands of images in your portfolio to be profitable. You could say, well, Vivian Mayer did it with no monetary intentions, but that is one person. She had a job, and there are a lot of other hobbyists around taking amazing images without asking a penny. Just look at Flickr or 500px. I guess 95% of artistic photographers just do it as a hobby. The rest suffer in silence. Pure art must be unique and truly inspired. To make money, you need to be a Picasso and not a Van Goch.
Waves of inspiration follow Lyapunov stability curves. Each euphoric epiphany will suffer a disgraceful flatline. It is the nature of how our minds work and how bored we get with yesterday’s news. Embrace the lack of inspiration for a while and give yourself a break. See it this way. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. In other words, it makes your artwork more scarce and increases the price like a saught after share.