“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.” -- Ralph Ellison
1. Adventure & Experience
Whether it be mental or physical, give yourself adventure and experience. Do stuff. Doing something profound is not always necessary. What’s necessary are emotions, highs & lows, chinks in one’s armor, dents, road wear, and a range of experiences. What's your story? Some have to go look for it, and for some it comes to them, but in every case an experience is required for inspiration. This may be blunt, but "get off your ass!" Stop resorting to copying what your next door neighbor is doing. You’ve got to cultivate, dig up, source and uncover the raw materials plus the meat to make something that only you can make. Live "your" life so that you can have your own point of view.
2. Some Space
Creative magic doesn’t happen during your adventures. It only happens when you’re quiet, when you’ve got space, a moment to breathe. Sometimes it won't require much space. Other times it will require more. But, guaranteed, it won’t be while you’re busy. You may be someone filled with Inspiration, but molding that inspiration into something meaningful and real requires more room than you think.
3. A Mirror & Cup
Ok, not literally, but a mirror to reflect on what's inside of your head and your heart. The Cup to capture that voice and emotion you'll find when you start looking inside. To cut through all of the BS, what I am trying to say is this. Your best work. Your best project. Your best whatever is not out there. All of the answers – and I mean every one — are “in here”. In you. Things coming from you, from an only-you-could-have-made-this perspective, is a requirement of outstanding art and creativity. Hence the mirror. If you don't look inside, you'll just continue to follow.
4. A Break
Give yourself a damn break. You don’t have to always be weird, or happy, or brave, or busy, or of a particular group, (I can go on but you get the point). To create great stuff you have to be here in the moment. You have to be in the game, not on the sidelines. Adventuring, having fun, reflecting and creating. Accept that your work won't always be great. It doesn't have to. Don’t be a critic. The lives of critics are boring, ugly, short and full of stink. Haven’t written a book? Don’t hate on one. "Stop trying to do something like the other person is doing but better." Do something totally different. Stop supporting someone else's work only because you want them to support yours. Do it because you really want to. Stop taking and start giving. Give time. Give gratitude. Not "likes." And by all means give yourself and others a break.