Work on someone else’s project, letting them take the lead. That is a recharge.
(I wish I could turn it off, myself. Live in the real world. If left alone, I could write fiction and songs 20 hours a day, and have. I think it’s kind of healthier if it comes in waves?)
-Expose yourself to other forms of art. I hadn’t read a novel in a few months; I dropped off the grid and polished a classic off in a day or two. I then proceeded to write&record three new songs in less than a week, it was so abnormal, but I was insanely inspired.
-Expose yourself to nature (if it’s your thing). Every couple months I always plan a camping/outdoors intense weekend, the peace and beauty of nature can be hugely inspiring.
-Meditate. This is one I would’ve never thought of before, but it has worked for me. Look up methods of meditation and practice them. Things might not come together immediately, but for me, it was immensely helpful. Twice a day for 15 minutes, it helped me catalogue a lot of emotions and views I had in my head, and arrange them in a bigger cohesive picture, that ultimately led to the inspiration to turn it in to art.
-Variety, make a point to try something new every day. The littlest things can sometimes be the greatest source of inspiration.
GIve yourself a deadline, something like “I’m going to write a short story today” or “I’m going to write and record a song today” and just do it, don’t think about it, don’t edit yourself as you go along, concentrate on getting it done, forcing yourself to work can sometimes be helpful, you may wind up with something you hate, but you’ll wind up with something that you created, and will likely inspire you to try something else.
I can’t complete any substantial creative project without some kind of deadline looming over me so I tend to latch onto challenges and contests… Stuff like the RPM Challenge, NaNoWriMo, the 3-Day Novel Contest… and this past weekend myself and some friends did the Nickel’s 48 Hour Horror Movie Challenge. Things like that actually help me get inspired, and I find the limitations really activate the creative parts of my brain. The “oh shit!” factor takes over: You’re running! You’re jumping over rocks! You’re falling! You’re gettin’ up! You’re punching a unicorn! Stuff like that.
For example, I know when I write I’m more likely to hit delete than all my other keys combined, but having a deadline keeps me moving without looking back. Of course some of it is terrible, but some of it’s good. It’s possible to dig the good out of the terrible later.
I don’t like contests as much as pure challenges, since with a contest even when I don’t truly think I’m going to win there’s some part of me that WANTS to. Then I start thinking about what the judges might enjoy as opposed to what I want to make for myself and my friends. Then you can lose yourself easily.
Anyway, I know a deadline may not seem like something that lets natural inspiration take control, but I think it’s the closest I get.
Deadlines are great but setting them for yourself with only yourself to answer to is hard. Get friends to tell you what to do or even set up a project between you and a friend. Don’t mindlessly surf the net too much either.