#102 – What to Do When You Feel Uninspired
Five things to try to get re-inspired as a storyteller.
Storytelling is both an art and a science. For me, as a writer, it is a creative effort first. But the thing is, we don’t always feel inspired to create as storytellers or creatives. The world feels like it’s on fire more often than not these days (though for many that can be an inspiration) and so there are days when I sit down to write and nothing feels right about anything I do. Sometimes I take breaks, but often I have deadlines and clients who rely on me, so here’s what I do when I don’t feel inspired to create and share stories to get re-inspired.
I explore. I do research, I read, I go see art. I see what is happening out in the world beyond my life that may spark something new. Because the world is full of wonders if we’re open to encountering them.
I play. You heard me right. I According to Stuart Brown MD, play is time spent without Purpose—in his book on the topic he explains why play is at the core of creativity and innovation. Brené Brown adds to the idea by describing play as, “anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.” The best thing I discovered on my burnout journey was the power of play to open up new space and new perspective in our minds.
I lean into possibility. Sometimes we just need to rest. Get our heads out of the thing and do something else for a little while. For me that looks like daydreaming. Imagining what’s possible in the world, in my story, in the project I’m working on. I start to think of what it might lead to, other projects that may be born of it. And I start to get excited.
I seek out nature. There is nothing more calming to my nervous system (and most humans’ nervous systems) than time in nature. It takes me out of the urgency of life in the city and allows me space to breathe and contemplate and (again) connect with the things that make life and creation wonderous.
I sit down to it every single day. Even when it’s hard. Even when I don’t want to. Even when my heart is breaking or I’m feeling overwhelmed. But this isn’t about pushing or forcing. Sometimes I sit and stare at the screen for an hour and write maybe two sentences. Sometimes I read related books and don’t write anything. But I stay committed to the practice, I cultivate the habit knowing that the words will come and, more often than not, eventually they do.
I think the thread that runs through all of these is that I stay open to possibility and seek out wonder to inspire me. So the next time you’re feeling stuck on a project or feeling uninspired in work or business. Try one of these and see if it helps. And remember, be kind to yourself. We are only human.
A Story Well Told
I’ve been putting off writing about a brand that basically kept me sane through the pandemic and has brought me joy through weirdness, grossness, and hilarity for years before it. The Bodega Boys. I wanted to write a Brands I Admire post on Desus Nice and The Kid Mero for months but kept putting it off because it needed to be perfect, or it wouldn’t be worth doing and there was just so much to mine in the brand they’ve built from a podcast to Viceland show to late-night show on Showtime. Well, yesterday they announced that the comedic duo was breaking up and I must say my world tilted off its axis for just a second. I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere about perfectionism and irony, but I’m currently in mourning for what’s been lost in them splitting up. Their fans were called the Bodegahive and were probably ideally men in their 20s and 30s, but I know a lot of mature adult women (like myself) who absolutely loved their brand of comedic cultural commentary. I’m going to miss them, but still wanted to share them with you. And maybe I’ll still do that Brands I Admire post one day. Even when brands end, there is value in the time we spent with them before they do. Be forewarned: if you check them out, the humour is pretty…risqué. Never harmful, but certainly not something I’d let my 15-year-old nephew watch.
Thanks for reading Adventures in Storytelling! Subscribe for free to receive weekly insights and resources for better communication through storytelling.