Inspiration might be one of the hardest things to come by. Being in a creative rut is the worst and it tends to stick around like the plague, right?
For me, when everything seems out of control in my life, the first thing to go is my inspiration. The littlest of things can make it disappear, but the more things not going great, the longer it stays away. When the inspiration is gone, sometimes I just want to crawl in bed and not move or bang my head against the wall in hopes that some sort of “good” idea will come.
Recently, I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way, but overwhelmed) by things going on. I could feel the inspiration slipping through the cracks. Gone were the ideas and in their place stood lists on lists on lists.
But I realized something. Inspiration doesn’t just happen. (Okay, maybe sometimes it does “just happen,” but not always.) To be inspired, you have to seek inspiration. Hunt it down, search for it. Last week, I was on this inspiration high because I was constantly going after it.
I went for walks. I flipped through old magazines. I scoured Pinterest and Tumblr. I booked more meetings with interesting people. Even going into my favorite stores was inspiring. The inspiration was flowing again and it was great! Still overwhelmed, it wasn’t like my to-do list was suddenly wiped clean, but I wasn’t frustrated by a lack of creativity or ideas.
I listed some of the things I did above, but here are some of my tips for really getting the most out of your inspiration seeking:
Long Walks // I think walks are the best, especially when you free your mind to simply wander. Wandering feet, wandering mind = lots of ideas! Not only are you (constantly) changing your environment, you’re also out and about and getting the blood flowing. For me, fighting that urge to crawl in bed is at least half the battle. I come back to my desk, at the very least, feeling energized and relaxed. I prefer long walks, but even just getting outside for 15 minutes will do the trick! No music though, otherwise I’ll start humming along and focusing on lyrics instead of just letting my mind naturally wander.
Magazines // Pre-Pinterest, old school inspiration here. I love to flip through old magazines and catalogues that I have lying around my apartment. An advertisement or even a creative use of a prop can get the creative juices flowing in an amazing way. Between the colors and the imagery and the fonts and the headlines, there’s bound to be something that sparks and idea or two! If you’ve gone through everything in your house, I always think a trip to the bookstore is in order. (Or, the nail salon… why not kill two birds with one stone there?!)
Pinterest & Tumblr // Sometimes I find keeping up with these platforms to be a little bit too much. It can be overwhelming to just be bombarded by anything and everything all at once. And 99% of the things don’t interest me really at all. However, you can’t deny that there are some great gems on both platforms. Amy and I have been playing these games together every night that I swear have been absolute game changers in how I interact with the two platforms. And it’s simple. (Amy is my inspiration queen!) So… we Gchat each other and whenever we need an extra shot of inspiration (or simply a distraction from something annoying), we play. It’s easy. It starts with a question and then you have to find a picture (or two or three or a million) that answers it. Examples: What decade do you think you should have lived through? or What’s your ideal country, city, and beach homes? It takes a while and lots of hunting to answer the question “perfectly,” but it’s a) really fun and b) an amazing way to pull yourself out of a rut.
Meet With People // When in doubt, grab coffee with someone. It can be someone you admire, an old friend, someone you want to know more, or really anyone. Phones away! Last week, I had my usual meetings which always leave me feeling motivated and excited, but I also had a couple of coffee dates with girl crushes. You never really know where the conversation will go, and that’s the real magic of these meetings! Even if you go in knowing what the “agenda” is or what questions you want to ask, where you end up could be somewhere totally different. I always walk away with my brain spinning with new information and ready to conquer just about anything!
Shopping // I swear this isn’t just an excuse to shop. In fact, I find the most inspiration when I’m not planning on buying anything and simply taking everything in! Store displays, textures, colors, interesting pairings, even just people watching. Touch and feel and imagine. (I tend to go around and put together outfits in my head based on imaginary events. Weird? Possibly.) This is good to keep my mind focused on something, but a something that’s totally un-stressful and carefree!
Where do you get your inspiration? Any tips/strategies for getting out of creative ruts?
Seeing this photograph on tumblr reminded me of few things.
1) I miss the “old J. Crew” a lot.
2) Winter doesn’t have to mean drab, boring colors
3) The holiday season is perfect for being FESTIVE
Just because J. Crew doesn’t provide such wonderful and visually appealing ads anymore doesn’t mean you can’t put together similar styles now!
Coat, J. Crew
Skirt, Ann Taylor
Cardigan, J. Crew