Sometimes it's hard to stay inspired when it feels like the world is trying make you rigid. Maybe your job stifles your creativity, maybe your major focuses more on statistics than artistic value, or maybe you're just stuck in a rut and need some fresh thoughts in your mind. Regardless of your situation, finding inspiration doesn't have to come from some enlightening experience on a mountaintop (but you do you, girl) ...it can be found all around you! Keep reading to see my 7 favorite ways to get inspired!
This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but Pinterest is by far one of my favorite places to find inspiration because it's readily accessible and full of links, images, and words that you can save to different boards depending on what type of things you're looking for. I currently have over 40 different boards on Pinterest, including inspiration boards for blog photography, quotes, design, fashion (by season), makeup and hair, interior design, and a catch-all "Potpourri" board where I just pin random pretty photography that doesn't really fit anywhere else.
To make the most out of Pinterest, I suggest doing the following:
- Find your favorite bloggers, websites, designers, photographers, etc. and find their Pinterest accounts. Chances are, their pins will reflect the aesthetics and style they demonstrate in their particular art form, which you can then re-pin use as inspiration for yourself! Darling Magazine , Anthropologie , Lauren Hooker (from Elle&Co.), Estèe Lalonde (Essiebutton), and Kendi Skeen (from Kendi Everyday) are a few of my current favorites!
- Be intentional with your pins. I got so much more inspiration from Pinterest once I started focusing on the specific sorts of images I was attracted to and what sorts of pins were actual helpful or useful to me. As great as all of those fitness infographics are, it's pointless for me to pin them because I know I'm never going to go back and look at them. This goes the same for really elaborate makeup and hair tutorials; while I appreciate them, I'm really trying to cut back on pinning them lately because they don't serve as a useful reference for me. (I am still guilty, however, of pinning hair and makeup pictures just because they're pretty...but they're inspiring so it's ok, right?)
- Utilize "Secret Boards". These private boards can be used for anything that you don't want anyone else on the site to see (unless you give them special permission), such as gift ideas, personal topics, or boards where you're actively planning something using Pinterest. Haven't we all known that one bride/mommy/vegan to-be who gets online and floods your feed with literally every pin they can find because it relates to their wedding, pregnancy, diet, etc.? Yeah. That nonsense can get pretty annoying. Private pins, people!
2. Keep a Notebook
I recently started carrying a miniature notebook and a few pens in my purse, and it has seriously changed the game when it comes to brainstorming and keeping my brain a bit more organized. I write everything down in this notebook, including post ideas, shopping and to-do lists, goals, important dates, quotes, and any other miscellaneous little notes that I need to remember or sort out during the course of my day.
One of my favorite things to do when I'm bored at work is to go on Pinterest, click through a couple of blogging or design articles from various websites, and write down anything that I want or need to remember. I hate having to go back and click through a ton of bookmarked pages to find a simple Photoshop tip, and now I can just flip to a page on my notebook and find my own easy to read step-by-step directions instead. It's a huge time saver and I'm more likely to remember literally anything once I've written it down. It's like my own little handbook to my life!
3. Display What You Love
As materialistic as this may sound, I can get a lot of inspiration just by being in proximity to my favorite possessions. For instance, I currently love anything mint green, light pink, and floral, so I keep lots of pretty little items and trinkets on my desk that make me happy to look at while I'm working. I also love displaying every day items in beautiful ways, so I have my favorite books organized by color in my bookcase, all my makeup laid out on my vanity, and most of my jewelry displayed in my room either on hooks or on a decorative tray. My surroundings definitely play a huge part in sparking my creativity, so give it a try and see if your favorite things inspire you, too!
4. Listen Up
If you saw my last post, you'll know that I recently started listening to Jess Lively's podcast, The Lively Show. I'm really not lying when I say that she and her guests truly are changing my life for the better. Being optimistic and thinking positively is coming more easily to me now than I think it ever has, and I really feel like gratitude and intention are simple things that everyone can practice to brighten even the most frustrating and crappy days. Darling Magazine recently posted a list of their favorite uplifting podcasts, so go check that out if you want an extra boost of happiness in your life! (Don't we all?)
Listening to music is another thing I like to do when I'm looking for inspiration, and I've actually found that listening to music that I'm unfamiliar with is better for sparking creativity than songs that I already love. My current favorite way to find new music is to listen to my Spotify "Discover Weekly" playlist, which is updated every Monday with songs selected just for you based on the music and genres you already love to listen to.
5. Start a Word Collection
Out of the 40+ boards I have on Pinterest, my "Words" (aka "Quotes") board has by far the most pins on it. I keep quotes everywhere-on my computer desktop, stuck in random places in my room, my e-mail signature, in my social media bios, scribbled on my desk calendar...the list goes on and on. My favorite way to keep up with ones that I like is to write them all down in a notebook that I keep at my desk specifically for quotes. I'm a big fan of writing things down in general, so having a designated little journal just for a collection of my favorite quotes is something I really enjoy keeping up with. Plus, it's a perfect reference for when I need some positivity on a bad day or if a friend or loved one is going through a rough time.
6. Zone Out
I'm pretty sure most people would agree that we do some of our best thinking and come up with our best ideas while we're in the shower. It's definitely true for me, as well as when I'm driving, working out, or fixing my hair. Basically, I find the best inspiration when I'm totally zoned out because my thoughts have the ability to flow freely and easily without me forcing them to happen. So, the next time you find yourself in a inspirational rut, try something as simple as taking a walk around the block to clear your head. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I wasn't even trying to think of anything!
7. Keep Working!
This kind of goes back to that physics laws that states that objects in motion stay in motion, or something like that (I've never actually taken a physics class, so bare with me). Basically, what I'm trying to say is don't give up just because you can't come up with anything. The more you actively work towards creating something, the more things you'll be able to come up with over time, and the faster your brain will come up with new and awesome ideas. Don't force it, but don't stop striving for creativity, either. Pick up beautiful leaves that you find on the sidewalk during Fall, gather some paint swatches of your favorite colors at the store, write in a journal, draw a picture, or listen to a new song. Inspiration is everywhere, don't stop looking for it!