How exploring new things can help bring you new inspiration
"I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE ARE FRIGHTENED OF NEW IDEAS. I'M FRIGHTENED OF THE OLD ONES."
While being a master of a certain aspect of our craft is a good thing, if that one thing you do well is the only thing that you do at all, your creative inspiration will stagnant. Allow yourself to explore other aspects of your field and see if some unexplored terrain can relight your passion for your craft.
Boldly going forth
Let us pretend we are painters.
Go on, pretend with me.
Okay, so I am a painter and you are a painter and each of us specializes in painting one certain thing. I have become a painter of barns. Why barns? Well, let us just say that when I first started out painting, barns were what inspired me, so I stuck with it, and now I have become a master of barn painting. And you, you decided to paint churches for the same reason. Now you have taken your passion for painting churches and have become a well known painter of churches. In fact, if anybody in town asks me who the best church painter I know is, I immediately think of you. Hopefully you do the same thing for me when it comes to barns.
Now, at first this mastery of painting barns is great for me. I am doing what I have always wanted to do, and even making a great living at it. However, as great as I am at painting barns, the thought of painting yet another large farm structure starts to feel me with dread. And you are probably starting to feel the same way about all those churches you have been painting.
Now, what are we to do about it?
I guess we can go on respectively painting barns and churches, allowing ourselves to go through the motions for the simple reason that it is what we are good at. Sure, our work may suffer, but who is to know? Who is going to question our own mastery of this particular field? We could go this route, but then we could be forgetting why we pretended to become painters in the first place.
Or, we could each try painting something else for a change. For example, instead of painting barns, I decide instead to paint skyscrapers. I am still painting, but the transition from big red roundish barns to giant steel and glass structures that soar into the sky completely changes the perspective I once had on painting. I may not be the best skyscraper painter in the business, but the switch has given me some new inspiration on where to take my craft. As for you, instead of painting churches and cathedrals, you may decide to paint ocean going liners and the switch from neighborhood places of worship to cities on the sea has opened new creative doors for you.
Okay now that pretend time is over. What have we learned from all of this?
Hopefully we have learned that while it feels good to be a master of one particular aspect of our craft, sometimes this overspecialization can lead us to become creatively stagnant. If this happens, then it is time to set off on a new adventure and explore new ways to go about doing things. By exploring new ways to pursue your creative goals, you open up new bridge to the island of inspiration, allowing for yet another way for you to get to your muse.