Inspiration Hunting: 28 Methods & Resources To Tap Into Your Own Creative Productivity
We all get in ruts. You know, the tough spots that leave us pulling our hair, muttering under our breath, wishing that our muse (whatever that is) finally makes its entrance. Inner monologue: “Uhhh c’mon, inspiration, c’mon! Where did you go from my last project? How did I find it last time?!” The frustration is real. Really, really real. Creativity is a deeply individual thing. For me, my methods for inspiration hunting come from all over the place. Spaces, places, faces, practices, feelings, smells, movies, words, you name it. Trial and error and sheer random choices have led me to take some time to collect a whole list of some of the methods and resources I’ve found for sourcing inspiration. Take a look!
A Clean, Naturally Lit Space To Workspace
It goes without saying that the environment you surround yourself in can have a serious impact on what you create. Hence why it’s so essential to create a space that not only encourages your most thoughtful work, but is also a place where you, yourself feel inspired to get busy in. A thoughtfully clean, organized space with some soul saving outdoor light does just that. Make your work place your happy place!
A Verb, A Noun, An Adjective: Organizational Writing of Three’s
My best kept secret for untapped creativity! Let me rephrase… DO THIS, SERIOUSLY. Ready? Make three lists. One for verbs, one for nouns and one for adjectives. Pick one at random (I do the ol’ close your eyes and point trick). After picking a word from each list at random, create a stem chart to see where your brain leads you. Example. Your verb is “burn.” From there you could list: “burn-wood-ash-ashtray-cigarette-break-fiveminutes-time-clock-ticking-whitenoise-silence.” You’ll see some crazy connections and just how zany your imagination can be. Wherever you end up with your three words, your challenge is to connect all three somehow. Get to it friends, this is activity can seriously be a goldmine of inspiration if you just begin!
A Good Cup of The Drink Of Your Choice
Wine? Coffee? Scotch? Drink and be merry, or artsy, or whatever.
Creating A Mantra
It’s easy to lose track of why you’re exactly working so hard on your project. It may sound cliche, but having a short sentence or two to clarify what drives you makes your goals so much clearer. Feel like going a step further? Post your mantra or some inspiring words around your work space. My favorite mantra I’ve seen made into prints? “Be A Nice Human” by Nashville artist Chelsea Petaja.
Listening To A Mood Organized Playlist
Oh yes. A good playlist can make or break a creative flow, at least for me. I’m someone who can’t listen to artists I’m too familiar with or I end up distracted and totally unfocused. Anyone else have to deal with this issue? I’ve found that searching Spotify’s radio stations based on moods and spaces really does the trick. You may come across one or two songs you already love, but they’re always followed by unknown songs that fit the overall feeling of the playlist they’ve collected.
Fifteen Minutes Of Undivided Scrolling Time
Let’s just get it out there… having an unstructured amount of time to scroll your many newsfeeds can suck you into a serious internet hole. Those things really exist people! Don’t allow yourself to get stuck. Set a timer on your phone and allow yourself to scroll for fifteen minutes and fifteen minutes only! Don’t feel guilty about it. You’re researching. You’re gathering images and words and wonderful things while giving your brain a nice little breather. When your time is done, it’s back to work!
A Brisk Walk Outside
Get out of your seat and get outside. Get cold, get sweaty, get wet. Whatever the weather, get out there. The old saying “go get some fresh air” is incredibly helpful. Having some wind on your face and your legs moving does the mind and body good.
Make It Something Joyful
Don’t forget that whatever you are working on is something that gives you joy. It’s something you love to do. Make your time getting creative a soulful experience for yourself. This is your happy place. This is your chosen love. Don’t lose sight of it!
A Bit Of Mess & Organized Chaos
Yep. Get a little messy. Keep your immediate work space a clean slate, but put out that kind of wonky looking house plant. No one likes a completely sterile place to get creative in.
List, List, List
I’m kind of a list nut. I could list until the cows come home. But guess what? Having a visual guide of what I’d like to accomplish keeps me more focused and energetic. Plus, who doesn’t love crossing off a completed task?! I’m pretty sure that might be one of my favorite feelings. Anyone else feel me on that one? I recently found the planner of my dreams that not only organizes your weekly/daily schedule, but also has a section for goals and good habits, a monthly budget and notes. Buying myself one of these to keep my inner list-er happy as soon as the holidays are over.
A Good Old Fashioned Shower
It’s a fact, your best thoughts come in the shower. Why is that? Who knows.
Mood Board It Out
Anybody else a visual junkie? Having one spot designated for color, tone, mood, whatever can set your imagination in the right direction. I’m not talking Pinterest board (though, those are darn good too). A real, physical mood board to actually pin pictures and fabrics and notes to. That’s where it’s at.
Planning a mid-day break with other creative types can be just what the doctor ordered.
A Colorful, Adventure-Filled Instagram Feed
Instagram is kind of my social media addiction and a lot of it has to do with 1. how visually appealing it is and 2. feeling connected to other artists all around the world. Getting to see their progress, their little anecdotes on the day, where they’re traveling, what they’re inspired by… that’s the kind of stuff that makes my wheels start turning. Getting ideas and feeling connected… It’s a win-win on the creative front. More on this idea soon to come here on Roam + Golightly!
A Structured Schedule With A Little Wiggle Room
You gotta give yourself some time to breath, dudes. Structure is wonderful. Believe me. Effectively and consistent work is where it’s at. Buuuut getting too into the zone can lead to some serious burn out.But giving yourself a quick break to grab a snack, run to the store, fold some laundry can do your mind some good.
Doodling, Sketching, Coloring, Scrapbooking, Collaging…
You get the idea here.
Reading A Chapter Of Your Newest Book
Writers know that the more you read, the better your writing becomes. But I think that idea extends way past a writers perspective. Reading a meaningful text, picturing moments unfold and hearing characters’ voices is are all acts of true imagination. No matter what your chosen field of creativity is… reading is a vehicle to get you where you want to be. What am I reading now? “On Writing” by Stephen King. Can I just say to anyone interested in writing that this book is a gem?!
Lighting A Candle
When I was in high school, I had a teacher who claimed that by burning the same candle everyday, that we would be more focused on the concepts we had learned in other classes while the candle was burning. Something about sensory memory or whatever. At the time I was all “yeah, yeah, yeah, whaaaatever” but now I kind of get it. Having a non-distracting scent and some peaceful candle light is a great addition to any work space.
Get A New Perspective
Walk away from your work, friends, walk away. Yep… right now. Leave your spot, leave the room even and come back to it fresh eyed. Relocate what you’ve been working on. Face the other direction, flip it upside, move your chair to the otherside. Whatever works. Getting a new (literal) angle can open up the many untapped possibilities for your work. Change your spot, change your mind.
Create A Series
Story time! When starting this blog, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of topics and ideas I could talk about. DIY, writing, style, decor, interviews, recipes etc. etc. etc! The amount of post ideas I had actually held me back from posting anything at all! When I finally got down to business, I realized that I wanted this blog to be a place on the internet where people could come to feel motivated to get inspired in their daily lives; whether that’s trying a new food, planning their next trip, infusing daily habits to remain creative, whatever it was. Once I created focused idea, it all sort of fell into place. I essentially created an artist’s series, except on a blogger platform. Focus your ideas into one central thought, feeling, lesson, word or ethos. See the infinite amount of possibilities that can unfold from there.
Reach back, up, sideways, wiggle your toes. Feel the tension fall off.
A Flip Through A Well Designed Coffee Book Or Magazine
Remember the pure joy that came from receiving the newest edition of your favorite magazine in the mail? I miss those days. Something about having an actual, real life, binded, paper filled object brings back that feeling. And let me tell you, there are some seriously beautiful, artfully crafted magazines and coffee books out there. Again, check back here in a few weeks and I’ll be sharing my favorites. Want a taste? Okay okay. Try on Cereal for size. Working for this companywould be my dream job.
A Quick Listen To An Educational Podcast
I’m by no means a podcast queen… but if you’re looking for the girl wearing the crown, stop by my good friend Sara’s illustrated food blog Cake Over Steak. She recently shared her favorite podcasts and since reading her roundup, I’ve been fervently searching for time to listen in.
Play The Devil’s Advocate
Yep, be your critic. Give yourself constructive notes on your work. Ask yourself what your old professor would say. Speak to yourself honestly about what you see and what could be improved upon.
Start Your Day Early
The old adage “the early bird gets the worm” couldn’t be closer to the truth. Fill your days to the brim by starting early.
Create A Routine
Let’s all take a second and remember what elementary school felt like. We came in to the building at the sound of the bell, at the same time every single day. We were greeted by our teacher, instructed to do morning work, and later continued our day with the almost exact replica of the day before it’s schedule. Nine to nine-thirty was always spelling time. Nine-thirty to ten-ten was independent reading time. You get the idea… routine! It may sound mundane, but you better believe it gets the job done. Make yourself a well oiled machine. The more formulated your schedule is and the more often you repeat it, the more likely your creative productivity will increase.
Envision Your Finished Work
Imagine your piece hung in the gallery. Imagine your book bound and on the store shelves. Imagine your performance shared with a thrilled, gasping audience.
Yes, the days and nights might be long. Yes, you’re going cross eyed. Yes, you haven’t spoken to your dear mother in too long. Remind yourself that this is worth it. Remind yourself of the reasons you start. Remind yourself that your artistic addition is worth putting out into the world. Because it is. I promise you that.
Let’s be real. These are just some of a zillion-million ways to tap into your own creativity. Let’s talk about that! What are your tips and resources? I’d love to hear.