An Unstuck Mind: How to blast away your lack of inspiration

Hi, all. Thanks for coming and taking a chunk out of your day to look at this post. This is a short post, a bit unusual, but you’ll find out why soon. I did this as a talk at SHAD in 2019, a talk in which I could do any topic on a whim. I think you’ll find it funny.

Making without limits, it’s hard to find a spot to start. Imagination flows, brainstorming runs wild, but that singular thing that you can commit to, to cling to, fails to show up in your brain. So what do you do to start making that cool thing, to find that originality within you?

First, find limits. Don’t just think of all things, always—if you want to train skills, try taking “limitations”—on a painting, you could limit your catalog to just two colors, and try to find what that will bring with it. With music, you could do improv with a small catalog of pitch, or try using an atypical rhythm. In DJing, mixing without touching a gain knob can train ability to highlight pitch such as bass and control sound amplification by focusing on high/mid/low knobs. In all arts, too many options can paradoxically dig a pit into which aspiring artists fall. Limitation can act as an “unsticking” tool in many occasions—it has a lot of utility for if you don’t know what to work on at all, and it can push your brain to start working hard around twists and turns.

In addition to that, find inspiration. Many artists who grow to stand out start with imitating and looking up to an idol. Fabrication of originality is not usually an action that is good to start with. Ability to work through nitty-gritty and basics is what is almost always most important—so don’t shy away from copying, borrowing, or finding an idol. I was stuck for months trying to work around FL Studio, watching tutorials from artists using various plugins and VSTs that didn’t suit my aims. But I soon found out that it was stupid to follow that which wasn’t my vision. Upon finding tutorials from doujin artists I actually know about such as aran and MK, I got cracking so quickly and got a track put out within days, dissolving my stagnation and inability to start. In truth, don’t surpass your ability and know your limits. Having a goal, a vision, and most importantly skills of curation will assist you in attaining that goal you had, in any kind of work, artistic or not—giants who stand tall can only do so from standing on solid ground.

So what’s it all coming down to? You all, at this point, probably can distinguish that my talk today may sound a bit off—why am I not using fancy words, and why is my grammar odd? So, to put it out to all of you, this is a writing workout. I, in fact, in writing this, put a limit on it, and also found inspiration through works of writing (and music). Do any of you know of a book known as Gadsby?  Or possibly La disparition, also known as a void? Or a rap by a popular musician known for composition and production skills?

I, in fact, still don’t know what said works’ plots. But it has an unnatural quality to it—Gadsby and this short blurb do not contain (minus this last word), E.

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