Below are a few resources to help keep your ideas flowing. Please feel welcome to share your favorite sources of inspiration in the comments!
I personally agree with the concept that “art begets art.” We artists are perpetually inspired by our contemporaries and predecessors; we are inspired by the same surroundings, situations, and human conditions. Collaboration and exposure to the works of others is always a great way to spark inspiration. Here are few places online to do just that:
Soul Food Café is a great, thriving community where writers and artists can gather to get inspired and get connected. According to their website:
“The Soul Food Café is a portal for artists and writers alike. It is a safe haven where creativity flourishes. Soul Food Café aims to promote creative pursuits as a daily practice.”
Words of wisdom can also be a helpful source of inspiration. One of our Area 6 members shared the Air Equation and Willpower Equation websites as a resource for quotes from the greats. (You can also find these quotes syndicated each week in the Pennwriters discussion forum).
If you’re stuck with a piece of your writing, you may want to try a tool like Mark McElroy’s Bright Idea Deck. This colorful deck of cards features a variety of images and a helpful workbook for problem solving. You can use these exercises to help you get your stories and projects back on track. Don’t know what your character should do next? Draw a card and see what comes to you!
Finally, why neglect the obvious? Your local museum, library, park, or forest are endless sources of inspiration. Online there is a whole world of blogs, artist portfolios, and creative organizations positively brimming with fresh ideas. Take a look around your world!
Part of ensuring artistic growth is staying dedicated to your craft. This can be a challenge when inspiration, time, and energy wane. It can be helpful to take a little time to remind yourself of why you create, what makes it important to you, and what goals you set for your work. Below are a few places to help you rededicate yourself to your creative activities:
Pennwriter Gretchen Lockwood recently shared the activity of “Finding and Naming Your Muse” with the Valley Forge critique group. She had tried this exercise at another writers’ group with great success. The idea resonated well for me (I seemed to blurt out a name as soon as she mentioned ‘name your muse’), so I performed a quick google today and found a couple links to get you started. Whether you choose to follow these suggestions step-by-step, or find that your muse just “comes to you,” a muse can be a helpful tool for visualization.
Dr. Leslie Owen Wilson, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, offers a massive collection of creativity resources. Included among them is a series of articles on “Finding and Caring for Your Muse.”
For those of you who don’t read Lorelle on WordPress, she is an excellent resource for blogging tips, tricks, and ideas (and that goes for writing too). Check out the article “7 Ways to Find Your Blogging Muse” by engtech of Internet Duct Tape (There are ideas in there for more than just bloggers.)
About ten years ago a dear friend gave me a copy of Affirmations for Artists by Eric Maisel. This was my first introduction to the formal idea of “affirmations,” and I continue to find this book to be extremely helpful. This is the kind of book you pick up and set down at various times throughout your career.
Finally, setting and reviewing goals is an obvious way to help you stay dedicated to your work. Create manageable goals which stretch you a little. Don’t kick yourself when you don’t reach a goal: periodically revise your list and start fresh each time. If the goals were all easy to complete, they wouldn’t offer much of a challenge!
Your turn: where do you go to renew inspiration and dedication for your creative work? Tell us in the comments!