What’s a good place to find inspiration? A poetry reading? A softly lit museum? A quite moment with your journal?
Those are all lovely places – I’m sure! But just as often, I find inspiration in a conversation with friends, yelled across a table in a noisy diner. Sometimes I find inspiration in the pages of Woodworker Digest. (Yes, really.)
7 places to find inspiration
I’m sure my best friend is tired of every good conversation ending with me staring into the middle distance and saying “Hmmm. I’ll have to write about that.” But it’s true!
If something’s interesting enough to hold you and your friends’ attention for twenty minutes (not including when you’re talking about The Hills) there’s probably something in there worth writing about.
Use with care, as these are highly addictive substances. You can easily fall into Instagram and emerge three days later with a questionable tattoo and a bad hangover. If you’re ready to give up your weekends to devote to drooling over extra great photos, try Unsplash. Seriously, your internet life will never be the same.
Right brain activities
If I’m feeling really blocked (or ambitious) I try a few exercises that are supposed to help develop the right, creative hemisphere of your brain. A few of my favorites (that I totally stole from an old O magazine)are:
- Writing (I mean physically, like with a pencil) different ways – in my left hand, backwards, upside down, in the mirror. I swear I can feel the wheels in my brain turning when I do this.
- Writing a conversation using a different hand for either side of the discussion
- Engaging in some of those coordination exercises. You know, patting your head while you rub your stomach, etc.
I do some of my best thinking when I’m engaging in mindless, repetitive physical activity. That sounds pretty sexy, eh? If I’m taking an aerobics class, I need every spare brain cell to navigate all that stepping and kicking, but if I’m hiking or running, I can let my mind wander.
For some reason, I get some of my best ideas while walking to and from work. And if I’m stuck on something, wandering around outside often helps me work it out. I’m sure I’m slowly becoming known around my neighborhood as That Blond Girl Who’s Always Stalking About and Muttering.
What do I want to know about/see?
Really, the most defining motivation behind anything that I write is creating something that I, as a reader, would want to see.
When I first started reading blogs, I wanted to read one that was funny, smart, thought-provoking and covered all the topics that your average lifestyle magazine would: fashion, travel, design, inspiration. So if I’m reading a magazine or trolling the internet and see a hole in the content (“Where’s the article about throwing theme parties?” “I want to read about non-stuff gift ideas!”) I’ll just write one myself!
Books, movies, magazines, and tv shows that have nothing to do with your topic
Sometimes you need to get out of your field to get out of the box. Click To Tweet If you’re a writer, stop reading Bird By Bird and read a magazine for woodworkers. If you’re a designer, stop watching Helvetica and watch some Saved By The Bell. If you’re an interior designer, read some young adult literature or Cat Fancy magazine. Give your brain a break and a little breathing room. Stop obsessing about Finding Inspiration (because that’s when you’ll probably find it.)
This is why I swear by the DIY writing retreat, but you can shake ideas loose by working for a new coffee shop, a different library, or even sneakily parking yourself in a hotel lobby. Drive to a new part of town, take yourself on a day trip, or just work in a different part of your house. I know it sounds crazy, but it works!
What about all you bloggers/writers/artists out there? Where do you find your inspiration?