Finding Inspiration and Running with It

Do you ever find something online that just sticks with you? It could be an article, a tweet, or just a meme. Maybe it was funny or heartwarming or even triggered a negative emotion, but something about it just wouldn’t let you go?

I had that experience over the weekend, except it wasn’t with one image. It was an album of what might have 150 strangely beautiful  images that I just couldn’t look away from.

https://imgur.com/gallery/NoKWTGE

It was a fascinating mix of humor, creepy photography, stunning artwork, and just interesting images. Feel free to have a look and scroll for a good while.

The album actually inspired the theme of my haiku on Sunday, because it spurred me the previous night and Sunday afternoon to make some great headway on my current writing projects.

But it also got me thinking about the nature of inspiration. I think a lot of us creators — writers, artists, musicians — go looking for inspiration. but what we often miss out on is allowing ourselves to find inspiration in unlikely places.

I hadn’t been looking for macabre-themed imagery when I stumbled upon that album. I was just swiping through posts for a laugh.

However, in the midst of reading through the first of “The Herb Witch Tales” and drafting the second, some witchcraft- and pagan-flavored inspiration was exactly what I needed.

Being Open to Inspiration

I think there are a few ways that creatives and non-creatives alike can allow inspiration to come to them.

1: Let your mind wander, often, and in various settings/circumstances.

A wandering mind tends to take you to places you wouldn’t normally go, and can lead to some interesting ideas. I think this habit is even more potent if you don’t daydream in the same place all the time.

As difficult as it is to get out of the house in any comfortable or meaningful way these days, finding a new spot where you can just think for a bit can conjure all kinds of creativity. Even better when you’re outside or can just people-watch.

Again, not easy to do at the moment, but there’s nothing wrong with sitting in your car somewhere and just watching the world go by.

2: Don’t limit your own inspirational sources.

I’ve seen a lot of threads on writing forums about what music you listen to while you write. It’s perfectly fine to have a certain playlist that helps you get in the creative mindset, or to watch a certain kind of show, read a certain type of book.

However, diversifying your experiences will also help you think about your work from different perspectives. Not every song will be great for writing to, but there’s more inspiration to be found than your Spotify favorites.

3: When inspiration happens to find you, don’t squander it.

Maybe you weren’t looking for inspiration, but an idea suddenly came to you — the lightbulb effect. Instead of worrying about getting into your creative space with just the right music and just the right cup of coffee, just run with the new idea when it hits.

The idea might not work out int he long run, but exploring it allows you to answer that question. If you wait for just the right moment to come back to an idea, it may have already disappeared.

What are some strange ways you’ve found inspiration for your work?

Steve D

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