So, when I'm feeling dull, idea-less, there's a few things that I turn to besides gardening or getting outside. I visit a gallery or museum, or websites of favorite artists. One great source of inspiration is my bookshelf:
Another source is a notebook I keep of drawings. Once in a while there's an idea in it that struck out of the blue - a lucky lightning strike; but mostly it's intentional effort... trying to think of new ways to execute a particular form that I may have been cranking out for a while, or just ideas for a form in general, like tiles or vases. Check out James Altucher (www.jamesaltucher.com). He's an entrepreneur who is big on coming up with 10 new ideas on anything every day to build the creative muscle. At first, for weeks, even, nothing comes and it feels frustrating and dry. Then pretty bad ideas start to flow; eventually better ones, and then maybe even a good one. And it's often tempting to give up before #10.
Similar to James Altucher, Alyson Stanfield (www.artbizcoach.com) says that good writers are not born, they get that way with practice. That's encouraging to me when I sit down to write something like this and wish someone else would just do it for me. Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist's Way (www.juliacameronlive.com) also says that the way to overcome creativity blocks is to write for a half-hour everyday, just write, don't worry if it's dribble, in fact, get out all the dribble and excuses, just write. She says that it works for every creative discipline, not just writing.
All that just says what I consider to be the biggest source of inspiration: practice. The more I do something, doing it when it's tedious, not just when it's fun, the more the ideas flow. I can think of several examples of not just new ideas, but ideas that were built on and evolved. I will share more on that in the next post.