This subject often comes up in my interviews: Where do you find inspiration and what does this process look like for you?
When I started to break this process down for myself, it seemed challenging to map out. The truth is it’s often right in front of you and that curiosity about the mundane and everyday life is where art lives. For me, it comes in different forms and many times unexpectedly. A chance meeting with someone inspires a character. The lyrics to a song I hear for the first time, the waves crashing on a deserted beach or the light streaming through a vintage car’s window at sunset inspire creativity.
Whatever your sources of inspiration are, here are five ways to tap into your creativity this summer.
1. Take in your surroundings and identify your creative place.
When interviewing director Martha Coolidge recently, I spoke about the soundtrack for the iconic 1980s film Valley Girl. We talked about the soundtrack being influenced while being out in diners in the San Fernando Valley where they found these wonderful iconic bands.
Your surroundings are swirling with creativity. Maybe it’s the art of people watching or observing others. You find actors learning their lines, writers piecing the next act together and creative processes coming to a head. For me, there’s something about Waffle House that is unapologetically real: a “no-bs,” safe haven of creativity with an endless supply of coffee. It gets me every time.
2. Try something new.
Humans are curious creatures. Get out and try new things and aim to try something new every day. Paddleboard, hike, meet new people or try some new foods. Doing the same thing over and over is never a good idea in my book. Some of the best music of all time has been written while traveling, trying something new or transitioning through a new phase of life.
3. Don’t reinvent, rediscover.
Visiting an art gallery or museum, the graffitied subway station or glossy modern architecture in a new city can all spark originality. Even putting something away in a drawer or revisiting it at a later time can give a new viewpoint and insight. Creative blocks are an inevitable part of the process. It’s learning how to move around them that matters.
4. Listen and live life fully.
Inspiration comes from life and the conversations around you. There is so much inspiration in everyday life, so allow yourself to listen and take it in.
5. Take a break.
Sometimes briefly moving away from the grind of being “relevant” is all it takes to gain a new perspective. With so much content out today, many artists take breaks between projects to seek other interests. Freeing yourself from that is liberating and gives you a chance to recalibrate. Oftentimes ideas come to me first thing in the morning when I’m not busy thinking of my next move. Take the pressure off of being creative and learn to enjoy the process. Try some new sound effects, have a unique guest on your podcast and break the monotony of creation.
Above all, learn to be open to life. It’s about being present and feeling energized for the day. The constant need to push fresh content is always there, and it’s about finding a way to get it out there as honestly and genuinely as possible. Whether it’s writing music, telling stories or posting on social media, find what sparks you this summer and make it happen.