Welcome back to the blog, and our second installment of this month’s focus around Creativity and Inspiration. Oftentimes, it can be hard to reconfigure what can make us feel creative as we talked about last week, but more often than not, finding new ways to inspire yourself can be equally as difficult; if not more so when you have to get creative with new ways to find inspiration!
So this week, I want to share some of the more common things I do to bring out the best in my ideas, all of which can be tweaked and changed in minor ways to keep the inspiration flowing.
Let’s dive in!
Read Something, Anything.
When I was a kid, I used to get so excited over a book's release after waiting as long as I did between installments - kind of like how many now get excited over a movie that's part of a trilogy like Star Wars, perhaps a new episode of a series they’re watching. For me, the Harry Potter series was what did this for me, but like many I fell out of love with reading once I hit my teenage years and discovered more of the world.
Fast forward to about 3-4 years ago and I was in a rut, with very little inspiration or creative flow to tap into with my writing - especially lyrics. I felt as though I’d always been rather good at finding new ways to tell my own story but for some reason nothing read right, and worse, I didn't feel the way I had intended it to come across. So, I picked up a book.
In fact, I picked up a good number of books! But instead of reverting to fiction as I had once done, I started reading more of how the world works, the philosophy and reasoning behind creativity and its history in various places in society to try and dive a little deeper into what actually makes us all tick. Through reading how people solved problems in their own perspectives it gave me a much firmer grip on how to solve my own, but what I hadn’t realized was I was already on the right path because when I decided to start writing lyrics again, I felt inspired to use the words I had learnt from these books I was reading to tell my own story - some words I literally had never seen before and had to look up the meaning for myself.
If you’re struggling like I was to write lyrics, I implore you to go out today and pick up a copy of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention, as well as Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto - both had a profound way of inspiring the way that I now write and hopefully they can help you too.
Write In The Box
This might sound a little far fetched but I assure you it can be extremely helpful to see your writing from a new perspective entirely. I actually stumbled upon this by complete accident thanks to my friend Lostin Wayss when we were writing for his music, and as I usually pickup my guitar to write melodies, he suggested working completely in the box with just the VSTi instruments I had available and many of the Waves plugins I find so useful while writing.
It helped us see a totally different perspective and by dissecting the layers and chords that I’d usually play on a guitar, I ended up separating the chordal structure across 2 or 3 different instruments to see what we could accomplish - suffice to say we came up with a lot of ways to compose a totally unique sound for his music which has now become the baseline for all the music we write!
The CR8 Creative sampler and the Codex Wavetable synth are two versatile and expansive sound palettes that have become particularly helpful while writing. Both offer a vast array of sounds to manipulate, charge, warp and manipulate to find that right textures to fit your mix, your writing style, and the sound in your head - Waves have a great offer on at the moment as well so you can save money on these tools and also get another plugin free to help you write even more!
The CR8 Sampler from Waves is an incredible tool to inspire your writing.
Get Out, And Go To Shows
Getting out and going to shows is, in my opinion, the most effective way of inspiring yourself in any case. There’s not only the benefit of showing your face, supporting new and existing friends, networking with new bands and discovering new music you’ve never heard before (all of which are a good enough reason to go to live shows anyway), but you’ll also see and hear the way they express themselves on stage, the way to portray their music; everything that someone creative may struggle with being done in a way that may be the key to unlocking new inspiration for yourself.
Before my last band ended, we had the privilege of playing the Reading and Leeds festival in 2015 and it was such an incredible experience overall. But the thing that I walked away from more than anything else, was a reignited passion for what music I was writing and the way to go about doing so. We played alongside some massive bands such as Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon that year, but we also played amongst some still emerging bands supported by the BBC Introducing Stage who had a new and unique sound that I’d not heard before which are the ones that left the biggest mark on me.
If you’re struggling with finding inspiration, then find the next local show to you and support whoever it is playing. After the show, talk to them, engage and ask what they do to find new ways to feel inspired, make friends and support them and no doubt in return, you’ll have gained a new band to follow, new music to listen to, and a new lease of inspiration and creativity that you’ve been searching for!