Thursday, October 2, 2014

Back Issues #3 - Making Your Own Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration rolls a 1. It happens, you sit down to work on a game, or a character, or what-have-you, and you draw a big old blank. A goose egg. Nada. Niet. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Zip... you get the idea. What do you do? You could try again later, or you can taunt inspiration to take another swing...

Issue #3: Making Your Own Inspiration

Sometimes, when you are lucky, you stumble on a picture, or song, or video that sets your imagination going. Other times you gotta take a cattle prod and get medieval on it. It happens to me often enough, often enough that I've made a hobby of sitting with my computer while I watch TV, and dredging up ideas.

A picture worth at least fifty words ...
Between DeviantArt, Google Images, ArtStation, and Astronomy Picture of the Day pictures are one of the best places to jump start my stalled imagination. This is my experience of course, your mileage may vary. These are my search engines of choice, but if you have another you prefer I'm sure that will work well enough too. Just plug in a term that is related to the work you are having trouble with and then peruse some pictures. View a few or scan over thousands.  Look at recent items or dig deep into the way back machine.  I do this literally daily.

Wikipedia holds a similar value in my mind. Sometimes I find some obscure fact about the subject I'm working on. Others I find something on the front page and start clicking through, moving through pages via provided links until I find something that triggers an idea. Google can do similar by linking you to other wikis and numerous other informational sites. Sometimes a little extra knowledge will help trigger a new idea.

Music, at least for me, is also capable of lubing that creative engine, and granting new ideas. Be they works by an artist I am familiar with, or something new, music, lyrics, and video can often do the job. Especially useful, I find, are the services that will take your input and then find you new music that is similar in composition and style. Likewise YouTube will give you a slew of recommendations in response to a video you are watching. I've found entire new bands in this way, and plenty of video that made me look at some of my favorite music in a whole new way.

Lastly are bookstores and libraries. Sometimes just walking through the fiction stacks and pulling random books out based on their title or cover artwork will get you something you needed, an idea or concept, or even that specific work of art or fiction. If nothing else maybe you can find something to read to help pass the time while your brain recuperates. Your FLGS works well here too. Gaming books for other games are great inspiration at times, and if you have an older store in your area, or one that has a used bin you can sometimes find some real treasures for cheap.  Likewise if you don't mind reading PDFs DriveThruRPG (and their sister sites) have lots of free stuff, ranging from old games to new, full books to sneak peeks.

I'm sure there's other ways to jog ideas lose.  Those are just the ways I do it.  How do you kick start your imagination?