Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 Ways to Find Inspiration

Don’t you just hate it when you need to make something and you just can’t think of what to do? Here is what I do to find inspiration.  These aren’t listed in any particular order but they seem to work out well for me. 
  1. Go outside.  Embrace what Mother Nature has to offer.  Go for a walk, clear your head.  Literally stop and smell the roses.  Go to the beach and feel the sand beneath your toes. Go for a hike, bike ride or anything that gets the wind blowing through your hair and allows you to soak up some Vitamin D (through sun block of course – wouldn't want to get cancer).
  2. Exercise.  Get your heart pumping! It will help you clear your head and get your mind off of your work.  Kill two birds with one stone and exercise outside.  The bonus to exercise is all those awesome endorphins you’ll create.  Even if you’re aha moment doesn't come during a run, bike ride or swim at least you’ll be really happy!
  3. Meditate.  Find some place quiet (maybe after a run outside?  It wasn't my intention to build upon these but when it works it works!) and then just sit there.  Get away from people and distractions (put down the cell phone!).  Living in such a fast paced world it’s easy to get lost in Facebook updates and Tweets.  If your cell phone needs to reboot every day wouldn't it make sense that you do too?  Find a happy place to just sit and listen to yourself breath, clear your mind.   Think of it this way, if you were to force yourself to expel all the air out of your lungs, the automatic response from your body is to inhale a bunch of fresh new air.  I like to think the same is true with creativity.  If you expel all thoughts from your head then the automatic response is for your brain to bring in fresh new thoughts (hopefully creating that spark you’re looking for!)
  4. Explore your favorite blogs.  They’re your favorite for a reason.  They obviously speak to you in some way.  Maybe they make you laugh, or make you think, and hopefully you have a few in your line up that inspire you!  I read for entertainment, for inspiration, and I love visiting Paper Source just because they have so many great DIY ideas.  You never know where blogs may bounce you to next!
  5. Google image search.  I honestly couldn't live without it.  Whenever I’m making a new project and I need help coming up with an image or an idea I search something in the ballpark of what I’m looking for.  Sometimes the perfect picture shows up and sometimes another picture will spark a new idea.  You could start out looking for a circus tent and instead end up with elephants eating popcorn.
  6. Pintrest.  If you haven’t checked this out yet I highly recommend it (link here).  This is a collection of pictures that other people all over the world think are cool, funny, inspiring etc. that you can “pin” on your “bulletin board” for inspiration for that upcoming bathroom remodel or soiree you’re going to throw.  You can use it for other things too of course, but whenever I’m in a creative slump I head right over there and am amazed to find so many unique ways that people see the world.
  7. Write it down.  There is nothing I find more cathartic than just writing down what’s in my head.  I can’t do it all the time but when I do write everything down it feels great.  By writing down thoughts in your head it gives you an opportunity to see what you really have on your plate.  Maybe you’re so stressed out about doing laundry before the weekend comes that it’s consistently on your mind, which of course is blocking your creative flow.  Write it down, get it out and move on.  Who knows maybe something you jot down will be something inspiring?
  8. Read about it.  Go to your local bookstore (I’m a huge Barnes and Noble fan) and stop by the art section.  Look at any one of the numerous art books they have just laying out and enjoy the pictures inside them.  Don’t have time to peruse the books?  Swing by the magazine rack and grab a couple to go.  This way you can read them after you meditate in the park, you know, because you just ran there right?
  9. Look at what others have done.  Take a look at what other people in your field are doing.  Pick out what you like about it.  I’m not saying to copy their work (plagiarizing is illegal) but maybe something they did will inspire you to do something else.  I like to find many different versions of something I’m trying to make and then figure out what it is I like about them.  Then I take that information and try to incorporate it in my designs.
  10. Talk to people.  Use your friends and family as a brainstorming team.  Bounce ideas off them, and try to come up with new ones.  Ask questions and keep an open mind.  What may come across as an out of the box idea might be exactly what you were looking for.  Remember, your family and friends are there to help but they’re probably not paid employees of You Incorporated so be nice and don’t force them to brainstorm with you every day.

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