Finding Inspiration When Feeling Uninspired
Let’s face it, we all have those days when we wake up in the morning and we feel like we are trudging through a barren desert void of good ideas. We try as hard as we can to find that one oasis in the desert, chock full of great ideas. Yet, sometimes it’s best to relax and let those ideas come to you. Brace yourselves: I’m about to share with you my patent pending (not really) guide to finding inspiration. This guide can be used for a number of things, like naming your company or how to deal with writer’s block when your blog is past due.
1. Pinterest – Only for the Brave of Heart.
Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiration. Every time I start any creative project I use Pinterest. One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that your search can be extremely vague (great for when you are stuck in an inspiration rut). For example: If I type in ‘illustration,’ Pinterest gives me a long list of subcategories from which to choose: Kids, characters, monster, fashion, etc.) I can just pick the ones that interest me the most,and create special boards for each project. However, it is extremely easy to get distracted on Pinterest. One minute you’re looking for your next marketing strategy and the next you find yourself looking at recipes for cinnamon bun pecan pie. For more info on Pinterest, check out Katie’s past blog, The Power of Pinterest for Small Business.
Welcome to my Pinterest wall!
2. Go Outside and Enjoy Nature.
I know it sounds silly, but forcing yourself to go outside and take a breather is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that walking outside increases creative production. Researchers also found that the actual act of spending time outside also influences novelty. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a walk in the great outdoors once in a while?
3. Sketch It Out!
One exercise I like to do before I start a project is to create a quick list of words and phrases that relate to the project. Try not to overthink about what you are writing down. The idea behind this is to let your mind flow without any restrictions and think about it once you’re finished. Once you feel you’ve reached a limit, look back over your list and see if anything sticks out to you. Try combining different words and phrases. Some of my best ideas have popped up in exercises like this.
Note: Sometimes silly combinations are the best ideas. Try not to be overly critical of your list. Remember, Apple is one of the most successful companies in existence, and it’s simply named and branded after a fruit.
4. Listen to Music.
One of my favorite things to do is to put on my headphones, close my eyes, and listen to music. There are tons of studies that show music stimulates creativity. My favorite example of this isn’t an official scientific study, but a creative experiment. This experiment is known as Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Walt’s idea for Fantasia was: “Music you hear, and pictures you see.” In this instance, animators worked backwards. Instead of creating the art and developing complimentary music, artists would listen to the music and let their minds create the story. You should definitely watch it sometime. It’s a whole new experience for film and music.
My eclectic Spotify playlist that inspires me on a daily basis.
5. Let Your “Failure” Inspire You.
So maybe your idea doesn’t necessarily pan out the way you pictured. Don’t be discouraged and give up! Even the greatest minds of our time come up with a few rotten eggs. Do you remember Disney’s Valiant? Microsoft BOB? Pepsi A.M.? If you don’t remember, it’s because those ideas were so traumatically bad that you mentally blocked them out. Don’t think of your misfired ideas as failures. Think of them as learning experiences. The “Greats” weren’t great because they gave up. They’re great because they never stopped.
Of course everyone is different, and has their special way to become inspired. What do you do to find inspiration? We’d love to hear!