15 Tips for Finding Fresh Inspiration and Generating Creative Ideas
It seems like the days where I feel the most creatively stuck, are also the days where I feel like I’ve consumed the most ‘inspiration’ from outside sources. The main sources of the overwhelming amount of inspiration, for me, is always Instagram or Pinterest, and they often leave me feeling less motivated to get to work after long hours of scrolling.
I think it’s only natural in my line of work and world to find a lot of great value in the work and lives that I come to know through Instagram or Pinterest. I love these two outlets and think that they’re incredible for so many things, but I also don’t think they should be the end all be all of sources for seeking new ideas.
I’ve come to realize that the wild thing about using Instagram and Pinterest as a primary way to gather inspiration is that in the process, I usually only consume finished products (the final pieces, paintings, designs, etc.) without context for the organic sources of inspiration(s) that the artist used to produce the work to begin with. The other danger point is that Instagram and Pinterest tend to only give me a snapshot of what’s happening right now, this year - the trendier stuff if you will. Whenever I only consume what’s popular, I subconsciously put a limit on what I can create and run the risk of reproducing things without intending too.
Trying to understand my creative process as it relates to visual, social platforms has been an interesting, eye-opening experience. I’ve known for a while now that my ways of generating/sparking new inspiration for my creative work truly needed to evolve if I were to keep striving for what feels fresh and uniquely my own. And that means finding new methods/sources from which I can generate creative ideas!
I care deeply about originality, and I want my art to be backed with historical and conceptual motives that come from a variety of places, exercises or personal sources that I seek out beyond Instagram or Pinterest.
In case you’ve been in a similar spot before, or are currently feeling a little short on creative ideas, I wanted to share 15 simple tips/ exercises, which look beyond our beloved Pinterest and Instagram. My hope is that these might help spark some fresh inspiration and ideas today, not matter your line of creative work.
Either clean up your space or give yourself freedom to make a mess of your space. Create the kind of environment that your mind needs to thrive today.
Go to the library! Right now. Go. This is a living, breathing source of inspiration that’s just waiting to inspire you.
Go to your nearest museum (your interest or otherwise)! I’ve found ideas for paintings in a photography exhibit, plans for detailed illustrations in a Frankenthaler, and typography ideas in historical artifacts. Museums can be untapped treasures if you let them.
Go on a walk. Yoga. Bike ride. Anything active to help give your mind a clean slate.
Go to the art supply store (or wherever your tools come from). Even if you can’t buy anything, it’s worth the trip! Jesús and I can’t yet afford the $8,000 Moog synth he dreams of, but we still go into the factory or stores abroad whenever we travel, because the experience of simply playing it sparks new ideas for his songs.
Go thrifting or antiquing.
Pull out some old magazines or books in search of visual inspiration. The colors and photos in my old Kinfolk’s are often like a physical Pinterest, which allows my mind the ability to wander slowly and intentionally.
Write a short story based on a memory.
Write a letter to your future self.
Cook a favorite recipe, or try a new one that excites you!
Draw something for yourself without the pressure of ever having to share it.
Revisit old ideas. If you keep an ongoing note or journal with ideas for new projects, take a look through some of your old ideas from past months or years.
Make space to record new ideas! If you don’t have a journal or note in your phone where you can actively record ideas, try giving it a start by purchasing that pocket journal or opening up a new note. Even if you don’t act on everything you jot down, your future self might thank you for a thought that you wrote out today.
In order to give yourself permission to begin any of the above exercises, try setting a timer for small increments - 15min, 25min, 30min. If you need to get back to work, you know you’ll have a guaranteed end time, and if you need to keep creating, odds are you’ll be excited to keep exploring after that timer goes off.
Whatever you do, it’s important that you do something! Don’t beat yourself up or get yourself down if you’re feeling uninspired today. This too shall pass, my friend.
Just pick yourself up and do something for the hell of it. The world needs you to get back to work and keep sharing your art/craft/unique talent with us, alright?
If you found this blog post helpful, or if you have any other ideas to contribute, with you share with us in the comments! Thank you so much!