What To Do When Inspiration Fails You

I get in moods. Some are fantastic; I feel like I could write for hours and the creativity is all original.

Sometimes it seems everything I write down is stolen from someone else, or just doesn’t come together on the page without seeming tacky.  During the school months, my teachers are giving me endless prompts, I’m constantly learning new ideas at the speed of light, and my brain becomes an unstoppable sponge: soaking up info until I get a headache.  It’s great for my writing! The most satisfying of any paper or any article or video project is knowing that I came up with it-the idea behind it to be specific. Even if I had help along the way, the thought of tapping into my own creativity, nurturing meek ideas, is a grand feeling.  However, I have experienced the horror of creativity on the loose, unleashed, and far away. Even worse, writer’s block. When your inspiration runs low, whether it be in the summer when school is out, or midnight when you are trying to pump out another 200 words for a paper, use these go-to’s.

1. Problem: You have no more ideas, for what it seems EVERYTHING.

Prime Example: My freshman and sophomore years of school I took art. At first the ideas were super, and were a description of me. One day I hit a wall; it affected all of my sketches, projects, and pottery. I realized it wasn’t me running out of ideas; it was me running low on passion. It’s easy to try so hard that it doesn’t come easily “anymore.”

Solution: Take a trip. It doesn’t have to be far. In the town I work there is an awesome set of nostalgic back alley ways that drip with stories. I recently integrated them into my editing demo reel. Find some place that pulls you in to yourself, or creates a spark.

2. Problem: You can’t find a story.

Prime Example: I occasionally used this excuse with my media teacher, Mr. Doran. “But we live in a small town. Nothing is going on here! I can’t make a news story with nothing going on.” He would reply, “In college, professors told us to never take that excuse from students-there is always a story.” The moral of the example is you have to dig deep.

Solution: Get outside of your “group.” Don’t be afraid to act as an investigator. For one of the sports stories I created, I had to introduce myself to a freshman I had never even seen before, and ask if he would be willing to be interviewed/be followed around with a camera.
I also used the school calendar to see when special events were going on.
Personal profiles are also great. Everyone has a story to tell, and if you ask the right questions, the story will be interesting to yourself, and to others who are watching.

3. Problem: It’s late at night and your paper is BLAH!

Prime Example: I wrote a monthly student column for my local newspaper. It was hard sometimes making it interesting.  Because I was writing it with another person, I had to include their input. Too many times we would wait the night before, and realize we weren’t meeting the word requirement. Don’t integrate wordiness into a paper that obviously needs another paragraph.

Solution: Breathe. Read over what you have written. You have two options,  Walk away for 5 minutes to refocus, or if you don’t feel your blood boiling from stress, go ahead and assess the direction you want to take the paper. If it isn’t going in the original direction, conclude why, and either manipulate it to go in that direction, or work with what you got and make it go into a reasonable direction. Fact-I had one English paper that I finished writing the day before it was due. As I was writing I decided to change the direction I was going, but because I had a valid point proven at the end that was supported, I got a good grade. If you have the chance, have someone look over your work. It hurts your ego, but does  wonders in the end. Not all the time you are going to be graded on something, but be happy to put YOUR name next to wholesome work.
 
Hope these help. With summer it’s a great time to take a small break, but keep gathering ideas for your next news story or impressive article.


Melissa Prax is an active student and athlete. She found her love for film and writing in an Interactive Multimedia Class through her high school. She is currently attending The Ohio State University to major in Broadcast Journalism and is considering medical school after her undergraduate degree is completed.