Creative inspiration is one of the things I’m so thankful for. I never seem to run out of it! It’s got me thinking that, this creative block thing is possibly something that none of us ever has to struggle with.
I decided to try and understand what keeps the inspiration coming for me, so I can share it with those who need to give the creative juices a stir.
Here are my first thoughts.
3 unexpected ways to find creative inspiration
As a person with an inclination for creativity, I’m guessing you likely have an interest in several different things.
How about you choose one as subject matter and create some sort of creative challenge for yourself.
For example, I love nature and plants. Several years ago, I needed a creative outlet that had nothing to do with work. So I decided to set myself a challenge, to create a piece of plant-inspired artwork, every day for a year. I gave it a name – #plantsomethingdaily – and announced it on my Instagram. I then posted each piece on my feed, for extra accountability.
Having that content restriction – plants only – and the time restriction – every day – really pushed my creativity. I found that inspiration started to come from the most random of places. Something I saw outside on the street, while on the bus; the fabric of a dress I’d owned for years; the packaging on something in my pantry; and so on.
When you’re pushed, and you stay open, inspiration will flow.
This applies whatever your creative medium of choice. Whether you write, make music, create films, design in 3D etc. If you’re stuck for how to apply this to your situation, drop a comment and I’ll help you come up with some ideas!
I see journaling as creating space to look at what’s going on in your life. To look deeper into your thoughts and feelings and to find the connections between things.
I practice morning pages – stream-of-consciousness writing until 3 full pages are filled. You begin somewhere, anywhere, and go with the flow of what comes to mind.
Many insights, answers and ideas emerge. And all of this is inspiration! For me, sometimes, it’s inspiration for what I need to do, regarding a situation that’s been challenging me; sometimes, it’s inspiration for creative projects; and sometimes, it’s simply a string of words which beg to be hand-lettered (stay tuned to my Instagram where I’ll be sharing these words weekly)!
Embrace your quirks
We are all gloriously diverse. Unfortunately, thanks to social conditioning, many of us feel like we need to tone down our idiosyncrasies, to fit in with what is expected and considered normal or desirable.
Story of your teenage life too? I feel you!
I think social media has been great in giving a platform to all the weird and wonderful interest groups that exist on this planet. For example, you might be the only one in your small section of the world who is totally into some seemingly obscure thing. Now, thanks to the internet, you can find belonging, with people who are thousands of miles away. And with this belonging, you can gain the confidence to unapologetically be who you are. To be a full expression of your beautiful self.
When you bring all the pieces of yourself into the light – when you bring all these interests, influences and experiences together – you also bring out all sorts of fodder for inspiration.
Be courageous to be yourself and, not only will you constantly be inspired but, you’ll also inevitably stand out (in a positive way that attracts the things you desire). That’s Soulful Branding at work right there!
More ways to keep the creative inspiration flowing
I highly recommend the following resources to help keep your creative inspiration flowing.
The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self – a book by Julia Cameron
Pinterest – a tool to store visual references that spark your curiosity or delight. Check out my post: Ways to use Pinterest as a creative tool. Pinterest can also be a great resource if you’re embarking on a branding/visual identity design project. Here’s how.
Take part in my #plantsomethingweekly challenge. The consistency of a regular creative practice, however small, is like exercising a muscle so it can grow! Sign up to my mailing list for the weekly prompts.
Random word stimulation. If you want somebody to help walk you or your organisation through this and other design thinking tools, I highly recommend Nzilani Simu, who taught a session for us at the Afri-love Connection Club.
How do you keep your creative inspiration going?