I know you have felt it: that feeling of recklessness, coupled with creativity, mixed with interest, with a dash of energy for a new thing. The feeling of inspiration is a powerful, wonderful productive, and creative force in our lives; though it’s sometimes difficult and inexplicable to harness and put into practice in our everyday, uncreative, make-ends-meet lives.
There are people who feel inspiration through romantic love interests, extended travels, a hard life lived, and drug-fueled, bacchanal reveries. Western culture is replete with these themes in art and music and the values and issues the everyman experiences and is drawn to express remain timeless.
For many artists, what inspires them is life experience and the task of expressing some greater meaning through their medium.
There have been many times in my life when I have felt (for a lack of better words) "dry." There is this feeling I get when I am playing by myself and nothing sounds right. The old songs sound too old and stale. There are no new ideas which appeal to me. It can be depressing.These I feel this way it's a lot like depression in that I can't imagine not feeling this way--not feeling the absence of that magical, euphoric ingredient: inspiration. You can read many self-help books about creativity and the psychology of the creative mind, but I offer you a quick list of suggestions to get you out of that rut should you ever feel the overwhelming weight of a creative rut:
1. Go to a museum - There is nothing like a different artistic medium to gin up thoughts you might not otherwise create in a vacuum of vapid pop-culture, click-bait, buzz-feed nonsense. Bonus creative points are awarded if you take a friend or group of friends. The beauty of visual art which recorded and live music cannot accommodate is that visual mediums provide an optimal environment for discussion. Visual medium is static; music is temporal. It is exactly this difference which can make you think differently about songwriting and can inspire you to next-level thinking and feeling.
2. Go on a date - A large percentage of the songs in western culture have to do with romance, or rather, the pursuit of romance. Even if you are currently in a committed relationship or are married, taking your partner on a date and expressing love and affection can do wonders for catching a little creative fire. Bonus points awarded if there is a creative activity involved. Don't just go do dinner and a movie. Prepare a picnic and pack delicious food. Serenade your lover on a blanket in the park. Have a real conversation and get out of your own head by concentrating on someone else. It will do your relationship wonders and this unselfish, empathetic attitude may give you a spark to tell a wonderful love story.
3. Go see a (great) musician or band play - In my opinion, this is the best method for getting inspired. There is a bittersweet feeling in listening and watching a band play who is so good and successful. Part of the feeling is joy and awe at the incredible music you are listening to and seeing performed, and the other part is kind of the "icky" self-conscious feeling you get when you see someone perform who is superior to you. That's good, though! USE IT! Go home and apply what you have learned from superior musicians and make your music better! Learn a new technique and actively master it. The great thing about music is that there will always be someone better than you. Don't be sad about it (for too long). Go out there and see what is at the frontier and push toward that. That excitement and awe you feel could someday be felt by someone else.