Everybody has those days…

Sometimes being inspired is tough. It’s hard to be creative 24/7 – that’s just reality. Nobody is “on” non-stop.

People who aren’t involved in the creative industry don’t always understand, but I think we all need a boost some days. Creative burnout is absolutely a thing, and we’ve all had days where we’ve woken up and it just isn’t working.

So how do you get inspired on off days?

Look to your peers

The first thing I do on days when I wake up feeling uninspired is head straight to YouTube or Vimeo to watch new videos.

I just sit there and attempt to break down whatever I’m watching frame by frame. I analyze techniques. I analyze lighting. I analyze camera movement.

Taking a step back and really looking at what others are doing, I try to figure out why they are shooting something differently than what I would expect, or even do myself.

Kate Arizmendi, Joe Simon, Simon Shohet – to name a few of my favourite DP’s – I’ve drawn inspiration and applied stylization to my images that I’ve seen directly in their work.

Focus on you

Sometimes a project might not feel like it lends itself to being super creative. I find that focusing on what treatments I enjoy shooting and what I think looks cool really helps. It might not be directly applicable, but it gets the creative juices flowing. You never know how something might apply to your project.

Recently, I’ve discovered a love for shooting darker, more ambient scenes – so I have been watching and analyzing scenes shot using this style. This can come in the form of music videos, tv dramas, certain commercials, and dramatic movies.

Revisit your past

Reviewing old work gives you a sense of accomplishment, and also gives you a very good sense of progress. Looking back at something that’s less than a year old and picking it apart is something I’ve done since starting my career.

I try to figure out what I like, don’t like, and what I would do differently now. To me, this is the truest form of inspiration.

As painful as it may be, it’s always refreshing to review your old work. Yes, it can be embarrassing, but it should inspire you to keep trudging uphill, keep pushing your creative limits, and keep improving.

Look outside your industry

Find things outside of your field that are inspiring. Find things inside your field that are inspiring. Find things in your life that are inspiring.

I draw inspiration from movies, my peers’ work, music, my family, my friends, and even strangers that I cross paths with. Honestly, the list goes on.

Final thoughts

Getting inspired to create doesn’t just get me through my day. It’s also a huge part of my drive to improve my craft. Improvement and inspiration go hand-in-hand for a creative – it’s a constant uphill battle that truly never ends.

Sometimes you hit a creativity roadblock, or you’re just not feeling the most inspired about current or past work – it happens.

Taking a step back can reinvigorate you creatively and spiritually.