As artists, we’ve got to keep our creativity on fire and looking for new ways to keep that flame alive is a necessity. I can’t tell you how many times during my early years as an actor I would go through these lulls where nothing creative seemed to be coming out of me and it was incredibly frustrating because I felt like the well had dried up.
“Creativity does not flow like a waterfall; it comes in drips and drabs and you need to put your buckets down when those drops fall so you don’t miss any opportunity to get inspired”, NewsVarsity! Here are 9 tips I recommend:
1) Read books about acting, creativity or success.
I personally find biographies of successful actors and actresses very helpful because they offer lessons on how to use your creativity, put in the work and manage your career. Examples are Gary Oldman’s “Empire of Shadows” or Anthony Hopkins’ “Reflections.”
2) Watch movies about acting, creativity or success.
This tip is related to number 1 but I find it so important I want to highlight it again. Watching great performances by other actors is both motivational and inspiring because they can show you what it takes to be successful at something over years and years of hard work! Some incredible examples are Daniel-Day Lewis’ “My Left Foot,” Al Pacino’s “Scent of a Woman” or Meryl Streep’s role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
3) Listen to audiobooks about acting, creativity or success.
Listening to an audiobook is similar to watching movies but I find it’s really helpful when you’re driving because you can combine commuting with taking in new information (and getting inspired!) Some great performances are Anne Hathaway narrating “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” or Meryl Streep reading “A Prairie Home Companion.”
4) Watch TED talks on YouTube about acting, creativity or success.
TED talks are so inspiring and educational! You can watch them online or download them onto your iPod for movie-watching on the go! My favorite video is “Don’t hate the media, be the media” by Jeff Garlin mentioned in The Indian jurist. It’s just funny, informative and all at once.
5) Go to an art gallery and walk around.
I know, I know; it sounds like a really snooty thing to do but I promise you can learn so much from looking at great works of art! You can also ask the curator questions about the art if you’re feeling shy. It’s good to surround yourself with beauty because it inspires creativity in all areas.
6) Go on YouTube and watch/listen to interviews with actors, writers or artists you admire.
Sometimes when an actor is asked interesting questions by someone who knows what they’re talking about (ex: Caught in the Act), their answers are incredibly thoughtful and mentally stimulating! It never hurts to gain more insight into how another human being became successful at something!
7) Go on YouTube and watch/listen to improvisational comedians.
I love watching improve shows because they’re so quick and witty, just like my brain has to be sometimes. It’s really refreshing to see people who are good at spontaneous speaking and thinking – it gets the wheels in your head turning! I recommend Whose Line Is It Anyway? or anything by Matt Besser (whose had some great TED talks!)
8) Listen to comedy podcasts while you drive.
Okay, this tip is a bit specific but if you’re going somewhere that takes a long time, why not take that time in a productive way? I personally love listening to Paul F. Tompkins’ “The Dead Authors Podcast,” Scott Aukerman’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” or anything on Aaron Duran’s “The Thunderdome” playlist on YouTube.
9) Do something fun to relax yourself
This one is probably my most important tip because it is the only way you can recover from being stressed, sad or frustrated at your lack of creative output. Make cookies with your kids, go shopping with a friend or play video games; just do whatever makes you happy and brings you joy. Remember that life isn’t about making art all the time – “if you feel burned out, step away for a while and come back to it refreshed”, Waterfall Magazine!