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If you’re involved in arts and crafts – either as a day job, as a small business side gig, or as a hobby that you use to unwind, express yourself, and deepen your appreciation of life – inspiration is going to play a significant role in what you do.
While you will likely sometimes have to work when you don’t feel like it in order to get a particular project done, you always need that initial burst of inspiration to give you an idea of where to start. You can’t do much with a block of wood and some carving tools, if you have no idea of what it is you’d like to carve, and no thought of where to begin.
Luckily, there are certain things you can do that may help you to find inspiration which can then be applied to your craft.
Spend some time in solitude
Throughout human history, people have taken to the woods, mountains, and deserts, in order to find some solitude and do some contemplation.
From great artists, to holy men and poets, this practice has been well established. And even if great sculptors didn’t necessarily make a habit of disappearing into the wilds for extended periods of time, we still know that they would remain isolated for large swathes of time in their workshops.
Spending time in solitude seems to have a lot to do with developing your creativity, your inspiration, and your insight. Something about being left with your own thoughts, without external distractions, seems to play an important role in the creative process for many people.
See what other people in your field are doing
If you walk into a store that sells high-end men’s clothing, it would be remarkable if there weren’t also male mannequins present, displaying those clothes to any interested would-be customers.
It’s often not so hard to see what your co-creators, or competitors, are doing at any given moment. Generally, getting a sense of what’s happening could be as simple as walking around a few shops and markets, browsing a few websites, and other such straightforward acts.
Likewise, great writers are always also voracious readers.
A great way to kick start your inspiration is to see what everyone else is doing, and to see what creative impulses this might awaken in you. Of course, don’t plagiarise. But feel free to take inspiration.
Get more sleep (and pay attention to your dreams)
Research in recent times has helped to underscore the incredible importance of sleep, in ways that we could scarcely have imagined before.
Matthew Walker’s acclaimed book, “Why We Sleep”, succinctly describe some of these benefits, including such things as that sleeping more improves memory, health, and fitness.
Apparently, getting enough sleep helps the mind to facilitate and organise its memories, and make sense of what is learned during the day. Combine this with the naturally weird and potentially inspirational world of dreams, and there’s good reason to believe that simply getting more sleep may be one of the best things you can do to find your inspiration again.