Five Paths to Inspiration

What do you do for inspiration?  Do you ever find yourself bored of making soap or candles or unable to motivate  yourself to make that next batch?


I do hear that comment every now and then, most typically in January and February after the busyness of the holiday season is past.  Many find that they just need a breather so they take a month or two off.  A greater number, especially  those in business, haven’t the luxury of taking time off so they rely on other means of keeping themselves motivated–besides dollar signs, I mean.


What to do?  Below are some suggestions for keeping that creative or productive spark alive:


1.     Read the Saponifier.  Yes, this is a blatant ad reminding you that this publication is a great source of inspiration, both as an artist and as a businessperson.  You can’t go wrong!  You’ll learn techniques, business practices and everything else you need to get you there or to keep your products top-notch.


2.    Birds of a Feather. . . you know, “flock together.”  Meet up with other soaper/chandlers and talk about your craft.  Bring ideas to share.  If it isn’t possible locally, go online.  Many yahoogroups exist for soapers and chandlers.  Facebook now features pages for soapmakers and candlemakers, too.  Follow people in your field on Twitter.  You don’t have to be an island.


3.    Search Your Engines.  Type, “handcrafted soap” or “handcrafted candles” and then check “Images” for endless, glorious photos that are sure to stimulate your creative juices.  Look for websites, YouTube videos or even blogs that inspire you, as well.


4.    Schedule it.  This is the least obvious option, but believe it or not, inspiration is also achieved by working at it.  Most people think inspiration comes to us in sudden bursts from the heavens (picture an ethereal white light and angels singing), but those in occupations where they are self-employed or responsible for their own motivation know otherwise.  You are your own motivator.  Keep a list of types, designs, scents, and so on that you’d like to try.  Even if it’s not part of your everyday line, trying something new is good for you.  It helps you to see your products in a new light and it keeps you creative.    Since you’re already the R&D department of your company, you’d might as well practice it.  If  you know you need something new in your line, schedule far enough ahead that you have plenty of time to practice before you introduce something new.  Forcing yourself, for example, to start planning a Christmas line on December 1st is far too late and is likely to be more stressful than inspirational.


5.  The Golden Rule.  Treat others as you would be treated.  Being an inspiration to others is sure to find its way back to you as personal inspiration, so make a point of sharing some of yourself with others.  Share experiences and results, give a little assistance, be kind.  Without cheating yourself out of what makes your product unique, you can be a help to others.


Doesn’t inspiration seem a little easier now?  What do you do to keep yourself motivated?


Until next time, happy bubbles and wax!


Beth Byrne