Disclosure: My blog contains affiliate links, which means I receive a tiny commission from qualifying purchases. I link to these companies and products due to quality, regardless of whether you buy or not.
Inspiration doesn't strike when you want. You have to create it.
Everyone feels stuck, unmotivated, or uninspired at some point. At the beginning of a new project, you might cruise through your to-do list. But as the days wear on, most people hit roadblocks.
The most common roadblocks for writers happen for varying reasons, like writer's block or impostor syndrome. Whatever your issue, getting back into the zone is your best way to refuel your creativity.
In this post, I'll show you my top ten tips to get inspired. Try each or use a combination of your favorite methods to create inspiration anywhere.
What is the Zone and How Does it Relate to Creativity?
The zone is what creatives call the place where you're laser-focused on your project and 100% in the present moment.
Think of it as Flow. The concept of Flow, also known as Optimal Experience, is a way to connect deeply with pursuit or passion. Developed by the Hungarian psychology professor, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Flow is the inner state you experience when passion consumes you.
"Going with the flow" is the same as "getting in the zone".
Flow connects your higher brain regions, notably the right hemisphere, heightening what we call inspiration. What's awesome is that inspiration crosses over into other areas of your life as you become more open to it. The more space you make for inspiration, the more readily it becomes available.
So, the trick becomes finding ways to force yourself into the zone. Heading to a location where you feel easily inspired and motivated is one of the easiest tricks to get into the zone.
But as 2020 proves, you can't always go where you want, when you want. You must find ways to create inspiration wherever you are right now.
You don't need to travel to an inspirational place every time you sit down to write. Move your focus into the present moment. Create your zone.
10 Tips for Using Sight, Smell, and Sound to Create Inspiration
What's the easiest way to come back into the present moment and force your way into the zone?
Sights, smells, and sounds. Each provides instant inspiration, and you can change them up when life starts to feel stale.
Start by clearing your mind. Stay open to new forms of inspiration. But pay attention to the things you already surround yourself with that make you feel energized.
Here are my ten tips for creating inspiration no matter where you are located. Use them to get into the zone and allow your creativity to freely flow when you're stuck at home or anywhere else.
1. Read Meaningful Quotes
Meaningful or inspirational quotes are an excellent way to recharge your creativity each day. You can read a new quote daily or monthly, write your favorite quotes on sticky notes around your house, or post quotes to your vision board.
There are also options when it comes to the quotes you choose. Pick words you find motivational, look at quotes from your favorite authors, or seek out quotes from similar books and writing styles as yours.
The main point is to think about how the quote can help create the mindset you need to become inspired.
Bonus: Quotes that invoke a positive, happy feeling are more likely to inspire.
Keeping a commonplace book in college was my first introduction to copying down my favorite writing-related quotes, as I explain in my post 35 Best Author Quotes of All Time. Quotes inspire and carry many other benefits.
2. Add Nature and Landscape Photos to Your Vision or Inspiration Boards
Surround yourself with beautiful scenery for an inspiration boost. Nature is a key to unlock secret creativity.
Create both indoor and outdoor workspaces around your preferences, whether you typically work in a home office or at a park. Think about moving your desk near a window and consider the outdoor locations you find motivational.
Head outside when possible, or bring the outdoors to you by decorating your space. Add nature and landscape photos of places you find inspiring to vision or inspiration boards or place the images in picture frames around your work area.
In What Nature Does to Unlock Secret Creativity, I dive into how the outdoors is a great tool for regular inspiration.
3. Make a Music Playlist
Music is great for inspiration because it's complex. There are songs for every emotional state, taste, and preference.
Create a playlist to listen to while working on your work-in-progress (WIP). Choose songs that energize you. Stay open to classical and instrumental music too, which can boost your emotions and help you relax.
4. Conversate with Other Creative People
Talking to other creative people gets your creative juices flowing. You could bounce ideas off other people, reach out to a pro for help, or try networking with other writers to hear what they discuss.
Different people have varying perspectives and ideas. They might know other ways to help you find motivation. Talking to new people can also help you notice how they express themselves, which you can use to form characters.
But at the very least, you'll get to share your story.
You never know when someone might say something valuable that you could use. First, you have to get involved in the conversation.
5. Find a Biography on an Inspirational Person
Reading inspires fresh thoughts and ideas. Any type of book, from fiction novels to news outlets, can spark inspiration for you.
That said, reading an autobiography about someone famous is a nice way to personalize this method to you. Seek out people who made a difference, have a writing style you find refreshing, or who you admire.
For a bonus, research the person. Read webpages dedicated to them and think about what you can learn from them.
6. Try a New Morning Routine
When you feel stale or stuck in your writing routine, you may stop noticing the obvious in front of you. Switch up your morning routine to invigorate the mind and boost inspiration.
You could try working in a new coffee shop or dictate your words instead of writing them out. Another idea is to change the start of your day to include a new exercise or quick tidying up prior to writing.
Combine a few of these 9 Easy Morning Habits That Will Help You Write More to invigorate and inspire. For example, I wake up early enough to exercise and read before I write every single morning.
7. Live a Day in Your Favorite Author's Shoes
If you're still not sure how to build inspiration, switch things up by stepping into another author's shoes.
Imagine your favorite writer and think about what they would do each day. Then, do those things.
You might not be able to physically go where they lived or worked, but you can search through TripFcition to re-live the books set in your location.
How to Store Inspiration for a Rainy Day is full of tricks to build inspiration and allow your imagination to take flight. Store up inspiration so you're fully stocked when rainy days strike.
8. Attempt a New Creative Hobby
A new creative hobby, like painting or songwriting, could open your mind to new inspiration. New outlets allow your creativity the room it needs to breathe and flow freely.
Take a weekend or virtual class. Try a new cooking recipe, or explore a writing workshop.
9. Light a Candle
Scents help you create an inspirational workspace. Some candles offer inspirational messages, but most have a unique smell that boosts your mood.
Science proves that scented candles "play an essential role in the psychological effects of mood, stress, working capacity, and overall mental health," according to Psychotherapist and Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Chryssa Chalkia.
She explains for Travel and Leisure, "The soothing effect that candles have is based on how the brain processes smell. The smell of scented candles stimulates our limbic system, the part of the brain that is home to our memory and emotions. Hormones like serotonin and dopamine can be produced to help regulate mood. Therefore, our emotional state is influenced by the relationship that exists between scents, memories, and emotions."
The right candle varies. Look for a scent you enjoy. It should increase your energy and mood. Wax melts are another option if an open flame isn't for you.
10. Diffuse Creative Oils
Like candles, essential oils provide a strong scent. The benefits you gain from smells extend to the aromatherapy behind oils.
Diffuse essential oils in your workspace for around 20 minutes to increase concentration, creativity, and confidence.
My favorite creative oils for work time include:
- Lavender: Boosts creativity and your communication skills while reducing anxiety and promoting calm.
- Rosemary: Stimulates concentration and productivity in the workplace.
- Ginger: Helps you feel bold, calm, and confident when you need a mood boost.
- Orange: Drastically reduces anxiety and fear when you're having trouble starting a new project.
- Bergamot: Increases all positive feelings, from creativity to self-esteem.
- Sandalwood: Increases your focus, calms obsessive thoughts, and helps your self-esteem shine.
- Ylang-ylang: Reduces the rate of burnout and helps you kick self-doubt to get started.
- Pine: Awesome for when you need a boost of creativity and courage.
- Cedarwood: Creates a grounded, more focused, and courageous feeling.
Rocky Mountain Oils is my go-to company. Their oils are potent and safe. Click to get up to 50% off clearance items at RMO.
Check out my 20 Tips to Create a Productive Workspace Wherever You Are for other ways to get inspiration from your environment.
Take the inspiration you gain from these tips and funnel the drive into your project. Turn it into actionable steps to meet your goals.
And make sure to keep up your inspiration building regularly to get through a long-term project. 10 Tried and True Ways to Double Your Writing has everything you need to know about writing more with less willpower.