Let’s talk inspiration!

01/12/11

This is a guest post by Krissy

Let’s talk inspiration! Seemingly, it’s an illustrious unending fountain of creativity, encouragement, motivation that fuels the very soul of our deepest passions. It’s that driving force behind our words, our thoughts, our actions. And, to border on the cliche, like any good thing, it can sometimes come to an end.

If you’re anything like me, that unfortunate snip-snip moment comes at the most inopportune moment when you’re running in high gear just about the take the plunge into the home stretch of completing a project. You’re not quite in that state of overwhelming stress and panic at a deadline fast approaching, but that funny little gap moment between complete oblivion and full on rock-around-the-clock mode. You know what I’m talking about: the moment before the deep breath of submerging completely under water, the least timely and most unfavorable instant to choke.

So what do you when you’re bunkering down for the inevitable crunch time and your fuel tank has unexpectedly emptied? Here are some of my own tried and true methods that have kept me sane, focused and on task when I’ve found my inspiration well has run a wee bit dry. Whether you’re about to dive in head first, are already trying to tread water, or have just come out the other side victorious, these small and simple actions will help to keep your inspiration fairy godmother coming back time and time again. It’s all about keeping you connected and knowing how to find your way back on track should you find yourself derailed.

Before

Self awareness. Some of us work best under extreme pressure leaving things until the last minute; others prefer to get right on top of a task and power through ahead of schedule. I’m a procrastinator. You can give me a month to do something, I’ll do it the week before deadline. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with being the kind of person who tackles at project well in advance. Know which type of person you are and use it to your advantage. Anticipate what will or won’t go according to plan based on the way you work best.

Document. Keep a sketchbook, an inspiration folder on your desktop, a notebook filled with doodles, a written or visual rapport of what you want from a particular project, where you’re going, how you’re going to get there. Record all of your thoughts pertaining to what you’re working on no matter how “good” or “bad” they seem at the time, almost like a brain dump. Don’t think about it, just jot it down. Save those ideas. In your time of need, the one that seemed the most ridiculous or useless may turn out to be your saving grace.

Network. Build your support network now. If you run out of supplies, know where you’ll go to replenish. If your ideas become stale, set out of your favourite magazines or bookmark your favourite website for quick assess. If you might need a friend to vent to when the goings get rough, give them a head’s up now. Keep yourself in the loop. Always have your parachute ready even if you haven’t lifted your feet off the ground.

During

Envision it. See the completed project in your mind’s eye just as you’d hope it to be. Seeing is believing and believing in yourself despite the set back is key. Have confidence and trust in yourself.

Imagine the future. One day, one week, one month, one year… whatever your time period, at some point from now, it’ll all be over. The stress and panic will be long past. Will you have worried for nothing? Will it all have been an over-reaction? Try to think in terms of the big picture. Maybe you won’t have finished everything to upmost perfection, but you did your best. And in the grand scheme of the universe, are you still smiling? (I’m hoping for a resounding “Yes!”)

Work backwards. Sometimes finding the appropriate starting point can be the biggest issue. I know I’m guilty of fussing over, “Oh, but I have to start at the beginning! The beginning is the beginning after all.” Forget that! Start at the end. Start in the middle. Forget the word “start” all together. It’s a continuous circle, hop in somewhere, anywhere, and you’ll find the gears a-turnin’. From there, you can branch your way back through the gaps.

Break the rules. You’re stuck. What do you do? Do something seemingly completely unrelated to your task at hand. Read a book. Play a board game. Pump up some tunes and Vogue it out Madonna style. Do jumping jacks. Write a jazzy little jingle about yourself, your cat, your next-door neighbour. Whatever you’re doing, switch it up and explore something you normally wouldn’t. You’ll be surprised with where that leads you.

After

Recharge. Curl up with a mound of pillows and your cuddliest blanket and catch some much needed zzz’s. Lay down when you know you have a solid 10 hours of uninterrupted time before you. Don’t set your alarm. Turn off any and all distractions. Refuel.

Desaturate. Just finished an all-encompassing project? Take an entire day off. Don’t think, don’t speak, don’t even breathe a word about said project. Let it work its way out of your system. Empty your reserves and feast on other new and exciting things. Give yourself room to absorb new ideas instead of clinging onto the old.

Celebrate. You persevered! That’s cause for merry-making. Reward yourself for a job well done with some much needed you time. Spend time with loved ones, listen to your favourite tunes, set aside an evening to catch that movie you missed while you were working hard. Even if you can spot another big project swooping in quickly on the heels of the old, always make time to squeeze in a little TLC for yours truly. You need that burst of gratification to fuel the fire for your next big battle.

And most of all, no matter how inspired or un-inspired you are, it’s all about confidence, preparation, and learning to adapt. Everything rarely goes 100% according to plan, so know how to fight back and keep that cycle going.

Krissy is a 23-yr old Interior Architecture and Design student from Canada. She posts the most wonderful inspirng photos, links, ideas and mix tapes over at Shimmerlikegold.org. She also has a very inspiring tumblr. Follow her on twitter too!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sabrina December 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm

OH MY GOD! I love this!! I have just started my first year of vet school, so this little post has gone directly into my ‘in the event of panic’ bookmark folder. Amazing!
xo

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Caroline December 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Wow!! Thanks!! I’m starting a new job and writing my master thesis in january next year.. I think I am going to print your post and keep in my daily diary to remember myself…
Even now I am very busy, finishing my current job and my last courses and find it difficult to make time for myself… your list is a great reminder with useful tips…
Thank You!!

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Ellen Einkauf Photography December 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Some very good words of advice here! I am saving it for the times when I need to read it, thank you! :)

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Charlotte December 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

A fantastic read, thankyou Krissy! I have a deadline at the end of next week and this has helped me so much! Now back to work….

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Cam December 7, 2011 at 1:20 am

long time follower of Krissy’s beautiful Blog and always such and admirer of her talent for words too! x

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