Finding and Fostering Inspiration
Finding and Fostering Inspiration
The sunlight glistens off the pale green river and the cold winter air blows through your car. You are waiting for the ferry, watching curious seagulls scavenging for an early afternoon snack from one of the waiting cars. Taking in the sounds of the lapping water and the chatter of sea birds, an idea blooms in your mind—an idea that feels just as real and important as the car that you are sitting in. Quickly! You need to grab your notebook or sketchbook and explore this new inspiration, before it sweeps away like the passing winter wind.
You may not be waiting for a ferry by the river, but you could be working on making a nice dinner, taking a shower, or laying down for the night when this happens…inspiration strikes!
From the beginning of our youth, we all have creative brains and endless imaginations. As we age though, those moments of pure creative thought or play can be pushed aside for the more pressing responsibilities of life. Often, this can’t be avoided, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the time to let yourself play in the same creative nature you once did. Finding and embracing inspiration is critical if you have a creative based career, but it is also adds something special to our everyday life. Creativity connects us to our inner self, and helps to reestablish and appreciate the beauty all around us.
“There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.” –Brene Brown
How to Begin
When moments of inspiration strike, embrace them! Stop, and take a moment to document what that inspiration is. A story? A new design? A concept for an art piece? Maybe a new way of creating that favorite dish you love to eat every Saturday!
You can use a sketchbook, a favorite notebook or journal, a camera, or just some loose paper to jot down this idea as quickly as you can. You can even use your phone or tablet, but I would not always recommend doing this. Since we depend so much on our electronics as it is, it can be nice to set that aside for a while and return to the more tactile experience of handwritten or drawn notes. I will use my phone to take notes if there is nothing else available, but I will then later transfer those ideas to a notebook/sketchbook. This helps me to reevaluate the idea and make it stronger, and it also helps me to remember it better.
The Triggers for Inspiration
Next, ask why this moment of inspiration happened to begin with. What were you doing before that moment? Walking your dog along a tree covered trail? Listening to soothing music while watching the rain? Waiting in traffic on your way to work? Look closely at those moments, because they have a lot to do with how this inspiration came to you.
I personally find a lot inspiration in nature, or from the natural world in general. Traveling to new places and exploring new areas can be extremely helpful in feeding the creative half of your mind, and a well fed mind is able to produce some of your best ideas!
Being aware of the space that surrounds you is one of the biggest steps in helping you foster those moments of inspiration, and the creative process. Even just being in a tidy room in your house can do so much more for you than a disorganized one.
Disorganization leads to distractions and stress. Nothing kills my work process or inspiration more than being stressed out about something else.
I also find inspiration in music, photography, and dreams. Music in my case helps to quiet and focus my mind, as well as remove the feeling of passing time.
I am always keeping my eyes out for photography that inspires me for when I do struggle to find inspiration! Yes, sometimes a fresh idea just won’t come to you no matter how long you wait, so in those moments you have to remember to work through the creative block! Even if what comes to mind it awful, the fact that you tried will make all the difference later!
This is why I use things like Pinterest or Instagram to keep a plethora of photos to go to when I’m having an artist/writers block.
Finally, dreams can be surprising heroes for inspiration. Dreams are mysterious and unique to each person, and often they help you recognize or solve problems you aren’t addressing in our waking world. So if I feel that a dream is especially meaningful or exciting—I write down as much as I can remember about it. You never know how something from a dream can influence later decisions, so keeping a record can be pretty helpful and interesting later down the road.
Reevaluating and Starting All Over Again
Often when we are inspired by something it’s almost like second nature to write or draw it out, but then what? For some this is an easy answer—you’ve have it down on paper or a computer screen, it’s a perfect idea so there is nothing further to do, right?
In my personal experience this is rarely the case. Yes, sometimes I absolutely love what came to me in a sparked moment of creative frenzy, and I don’t think it has to be changed; but when I actually start to rework the idea, even something as simple as transferring what I’ve already written onto something else, I realize that my original idea needs to be changed for the better. Starting over while keeping what inspired you to begin with in mind, can create something a lot better than what you originally had. There is no surefire way to make sure that everything you create is perfect the first time around, or the second, or the tenth for that matter.
Often times it’s not about getting it perfect the first time, but learning through the process, and from our mistakes. Inspiration is a fickle beast and sometimes it won’t make any sense. You can’t ignore it or give up on it. So keep your notebooks, sketchbooks, or camera close and document your inspiration! Whether anything comes out of it right at this moment or not, you will probably have fun in the process, and that is reason enough to pay attention and try it out!
Let us know how you stay inspired! Use the hashtag #GossameryInspiration to share with us what inspired you today! We can’t wait to see what you come up with or how you stay creative!
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” –Albert Einstein