Truly inspired creative projects have a strange kind of “magic” to them. You might not realise that you’re making something that you’ll always remember fondly when you’re actually making it. But, after you’ve finished one of these amazing, inspired creative projects, then you can sometimes feel a sense of loss. A sense of forlorn nostalgia for the time when you were still making it.
It’s a sense that there was a beautiful moment, but now it has passed into the mists of time. There’s a sense that if you made the same project again, you wouldn’t quite be able to recapture the same sense of fascination, joy and effortless inspiration that you felt when you made it for the first time.
So, how do you deal with this feeling of loss? Here are a few tips:
1) Remember that it isn’t gone forever: Super-inspired project ideas don’t come along every day but, if you’ve had one of them, then there’s a good chance that you’ll get another one in the future. It’ll be different, but it’ll be just as interesting and just as amazing. Even if it might not show up for another few weeks, months or years.
In a way, these project ideas feel “special” because they don’t appear every day. If they appeared every day, then they would probably quickly become “ordinary” project ideas. So, although the idea of making these types of projects every day might appeal to you in the moments after you’ve finished one of them, there’s a reason why inspired project ideas of this level of quality don’t come along every day.
If you’ve experienced a few of these project ideas, then you’ll already know all of this. But, if it’s your first time, then it can be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “nothing THIS good will ever appear in my imagination again“. This isn’t true!
If your imagination was able to come up with something great at one moment in time, then it’ll come up with something else great in the future (even if it might look different because your interests, thoughts, personality, skill levels etc.. have changed slightly over time).
Once you’ve experienced the feeling of making one of these creative projects, your imagination isn’t exactly going to let it slip away from you easily. Your imagination has probably already started work on building the next great idea – even if you don’t realise it yet!
Super-inspired ideas rarely appear out of nowhere. They’re usually something that has been slowly forming and developing inside your imagination for days, weeks, months etc… before you have that sudden “Aha!” moment. So, give the next project idea time to develop into something suitably brilliant.
2) Keep practicing: Although it might seem counter-intuitive in the moments after finishing an awesome project, you still need to stay in practice (this means keep practicing drawing, writing etc… regularly even when you aren’t feeling inspired), so that you can act on the next inspired idea the instant that it seems like it’s “ready” to be made.
If you fall out of practice, then working up the motivation to make one of these ideas in the critical moments after it reveals itself to you can be somewhat more difficult!
Yes, by comparison, the practice paintings, drawings, comics, stories etc.. that you make in the days after your inspired project won’t feel as enjoyable to make as the project you’ve just finished did. You probably won’t be as proud of them. But, you still need to make them anyway – even if it feels like a bit of a chore. If you keep practicing regularly, then inspired ideas are much more likely to appear than they are if you don’t practice any kind of creativity.
3) Find mildly awesome ideas: The best creative project ideas are a strange confluence of many different things that you consider to be “awesome”. It’s when you find a way to make something that is not only inspired by several of your favourite films, games, comics, books, places (real or imagined) etc… but which also has a lot of your own unique imagination added to it too.
This is really hard to describe if it’s never happened to you before, but it is an almost spiritual experience. It feels like you’ve made something that matters.
Still, going from meaningful and inspired projects to making “ordinary” practice art, practice fiction etc.. again can quickly make you feel disillusioned. So, you can take the edge off of this by looking for mildly awesome ideas. These are ideas which, whilst not as Earth-shakingly fascinating as your previous idea was, are still things that you consider to be “cool”.
For example, although you might not be able to find a confluence of different things that inspire you, you could make something that is inspired by just one or two things that you find inspirational. This will get you back into the frame of mind of being inspired by things that you find cool. It will encourage you to exercise your imagination and to put your own imaginative spin on genres, topics, ideas etc… that interest you.
Unsurprisingly, this method is also a good way to speed up the development of new highly-inspired ideas. For example, I’d wanted to make a cyberpunk comic for quite a while and – after several failed attempts at planning both serious and comedic “traditional” comics in this genre- I’d put it in the category of ‘cool things that will happen eventually, but not for a few months or years‘.
But, I then thought that I’d try to do something mildly awesome and loosely-related to this idea and make some cyberpunk art instead. Yes, it didn’t have the narrative complexity of a comic, but I was drawing and painting cyberpunk-related things on a regular basis for several days. In addition to this, I was playing cyberpunk computer games and daydreaming about the genre regularly too.
Eventually, when it came to thinking of an idea for the next instalment of my occasional “newspaper comic”-style webcomic mini series (that will appear here in February), I suddenly realised that I could make a comedic cyberpunk series with a semi-linear storyline. Hey presto! Super-inspired idea!
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂