Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finding inspiration for creativity: 5 ways

Here are a few ways that I find inspiration, especially for things like drawing and writing.

1) Collect cool things

I use tumblr to collect cool images to draw over at my art blog, ichoosetorefuse. All the images there fall within a certain aesthetic so when I need to get into that mood, I just head there to immerse myself. From there, it's a simple matter of finding the right image that clicks. I also keep clippings of my favorite magazines and articles.

You can use pintrest, flicker, or any other site to collect your cool things. Do try to sort those things as you gather them.

2) Find a inspirational place

Walking through the city on your way to work, you spot a bench in a park that you've never sat down in before. Take the time later that week to sit in the bench- or whatever places are calling out to you.

The places that offer me the most inspiration are:

  • independent cafes (tea preferred)
  • sections of museums with pretty portraits
  • benches next to flower shops
  • busy diner counters
  • off rush hour train cars
You'll probably notice that these places have people moving through them but don't require me to interact with others. Most of these places don't require me to get up and move a lot; once I get into my rhythms of writing or drawing, I won't be interrupted but I can look up and around to find something interesting. 

As you start to look for the places that work for you, you'll build up your own favorite places. Do try to visit new places.

3) Review your old work

Sometimes going through your old work or rough drafts can rekindle an old spark or ignite a related idea. Follow the train of thought that first inspired you- either it will lead you somewhere new and exciting or you'll follow through on an old inspiration.

Re-drawing an old sketch can be great both for finding motivation and inspiration. 
Viewing how far I've come can really get me pumped up to try something new and challenging that I mightn't've tried without the warm up.

4) Talk to a friend

Talk to a friend about anything. Talk about the idea. Talk about the problem. Talk about your weekend plans. Talk, listen, discuss. 

I'm always amazed by how a good chat with a friend can make my day. And a good day for my heart is a good day for inspiration. 

Talking about what you're brainstorming for can knock all sorts of ideas out of your brain. There's something about verbalizing a problem that makes the problem more clearly defined and the answer a little more obvious.

Similarly, your friend will probably have their own spin to your idea that can improve it. Or make its error more clear. 

5) Work through it

Sometimes you just need to get going. This method is the toughest one. Once you've pushed through the first 5 minutes, working just gets easier. Is it something about inertia? Whatever it is, starting makes going easier.

Even if I'm still having difficulty working once I start, then I remind myself that I have made progress. More likely than not, I don't end up taking a break because getting the ball rolling is the hardest thing.