Everyone needs to have an “Inspiration File” for those days when you need a little extra something to get the creative juices flowing. Whether it’s writing a book, creating social media posts, developing a business, putting your new brand into place, or figuring out how you want to promote your book over the next twelve months, our ideas don’t usually come together all at once. It often takes some time, planning, and relaxation to get it right.
I work with lots of different authors and writers, and when they get stuck, there is a tendency to try and push through. Here is the problem with that: Pushing doesn’t work. Forcing yourself just makes it worse.
If you want to be inspired to create something wonderful, it just doesn’t work to push against any resistance that may be there and say to yourself, “OK! Now it’s 2:00 p.m. and I am going to write the perfect blog post! Time to do my video! I am now going to post wonderful things about my book on social media! This is on my set of goals sheet for today, and therefore it must be done right now!!”
What the is doesn’t really matter. The point is when you try to force yourself, you are going to end up frustrated. At the very least, it isn’t going to be your best work.
It may work to set goals and timelines to do your taxes, get the oil changed in your car, and go grocery shopping, but even then you may have to work on your own mind set for feeling motivated (and even happy) about doing these things. Otherwise, you get to try to push yourself and make yourself and this is where procrastination comes in. Who wants to feel like that? Yuck.
We know this. Really, we do, but have you ever found yourself trying to force yourself to do something? Again, fighting doesn’t work, but inspiration does. Making yourself do something is different from wanting to do it. Forcing yourself is different from being compelled to finish something. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but how often do we continue to beat ourselves up about not doing something only to feel worse? More often than we’d care to admit.
Some call it being blocked, i.e., writer’s block, creativity block, or whatever you want to call it. I think we’ve all had moments of experiencing it. So what do we do?
Here’s what we DON’T do: We don’t fight with it. When you fight it, you make it stronger.
Don’t struggle with it. Don’t call yourself names or give yourself a hard time about it. “Oh, why can’t I just do this?! Why can’t I be more like…(insert name here)? Why does technology hate me? Why can’t I get these videos done, or a Facebook live, or (whatever is on your list)?”
I find tricking yourself works much better.
Huh? Tricking yourself?
Call it whatever you like, but I’m speaking of finding ways to look at projects and tasks, including getting your own mind to want to cooperate, and then doing it.
We’re all different, of course, and different things will inspire each one of us. Regarding the ideas below, some may be universal, others may just work for me, but perhaps they will inspire some new ideas and tricks for you to feel inspired to get things done.
Take a walk in nature: Such a simple thing but powerful. Nature can change one’s mood easily. I like to listen to the birds and all the natural noises around me while cares begin to just float away…
Go for a run: If you have energy that you need to dissipate, sometimes a walk isn’t enough and you have to really move the body. This can shift a great deal.
Create an inspiration file: Mine is in One Note and it’s filled with pictures and poems and quotes and ideas that inspired me along the way. In addition to the digital, I also have an old-school folder with scraps of paper and other items that I loved. I open it up from time to time and let the inspiration flow…
Celebrate the light: We’re entering the time of light on the calendar, which means Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and other holidays. In my house, our Christmas tree is up and I look forward to sitting in the glow of the lights, drinking a cup of tea, and talking over the day with my husband, Gary.
Look around: What are you grateful for? I look at the pile of Christmas cards I have received this season and it makes me smile. They’re not digital. People are actually mailing me cards! I love it.
Dream and meditation notebook: Insights come to us when we are relaxed. When our conscious minds aren’t struggling with some problem, insights are able to come up and into our awareness. If they move you, write them down. You can visit them again and they may inspire you for something you’re working on.
Put a border around it: This one may be specific to me, but when I think of something in my mind that I want to get done, I create a picture of doing it in my mind, and then create a border around it, kind of like putting it into a frame. Once I have framed it, I know it is going to be done and I can release any angst about it and feel confident that I will get it done. Again, you have to experiment to see what works for you.
Think of times you were inspired: We’ve all had times when we were inspired and very creative. Remember one of those times. What did you see, what did you hear, what did you feel like? If you have a picture of it, look out through your own eyes so that you are associated to these wonderful feelings.
Listen to someone who inspires you: Whether it’s on YouTube or whatever media platform you prefer, take time to be absorbed by an amazing piece of music, a motivational speaker, a comedian, dogs playing, kids laughing. Whatever it is, release your concerns and indulge a bit in enjoying what you love.
Random acts of kindness: What can you do for someone else? A family member, neighbor, even strangers. Perhaps next time you go to the store, you can pick up a couple of extra cans of something for your local food bank. My client, Rabbi Daniel Cohen is big on sharing the light. This video hasn’t been released yet so you’re the first to see it. Maybe this will inspire you.
Get help when you need it: Sometimes we need others to help us create what it is we want to create. That’s good. We need one another.
Repeating the biggest don’t: Stop the struggle. If you are struggling to complete something or struggling to get yourself to start something, say to yourself, “I would really love to be able to do this (say out loud what it is) and then let it go and do one of the creative items above or something else on your list. The point is to let it go for a while, and come back when you’re feeling better.
This isn’t wishful thinking. It has scientifically been proven that when we change the chemicals in our brains and create more happy chemicals, it becomes easier to be creative and to do things that seemed difficult at an earlier time. When you’re happy and confident, that is the time to begin working on a creative project like a painting, or writing a book, or learning a new piece of technology, or starting a challenging conversation, or planning out your book’s promotional campaign.
I’d be really interested in hearing what you do to inspire yourself. What little mind tricks do you use to get yourself to finish things with joy and happiness? I’m always interested, so share if you feel like it!
To your success!
P.S. Savvy Sunday News can answer burning questions if you have one. Please feel free to send it in and we may devote an issue to that very topic! Sometimes, however, the situation is bigger than answering a question, and may require more time and effort. When you need more, you have the option of participating in a Media Strategy Session because every book is different. Every author is unique.
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