Whether you’re looking for ideas on how to decorate your bedroom, creative kids halloween costumes or just want to create something new, sometimes you are stuck in a rut. Sure, you may have ideas, but nothing is making you feel excited or enthusiastic about the project. It’s not that the ideas are necessarily bad; it’s just that they are, well, uninspired.
The good news is that there are literally hundreds of places that you can look to for inspiration. There’s always Pinterest, of course, but if you don’t want to spend hours scrolling through hundreds of pictures of butterfly costumes or fall down the rabbit hole of slow cooker recipes, you may be reluctant starting there. And even if you don’t use Pinterest, with so many other places to look for ideas, how do you know where to start?
The first step is to change your perception of inspiration.
The Sum of the Parts
An inspiration is a person, thing or idea that compels another to act. Unfortunately, many people confuse inspiration with instruction; in other words, they see something — a beautiful room, a dinner party menu, an outfit or costume — and feel that they need to recreate it exactly in order to create something worthwhile.
And while copying something that you find online, in a magazine or from other source can produce exceptional results, truly being inspired means that you see in something an idea for something else new and entirely your own. So instead of copying another room, you take aspects from it and others to create your own space. Instead of recreating the fairy princess costume you saw on Pinterest, you create your own version in a different color, or use a different style of wings to create a unique costume for your royal little one.
So when you’re looking for inspiration, try approaching the project from a new point of view. Look at things as individual parts — colors, shapes and styles — and try rearranging them and mixing them up to create something entirely new and different.
Where to Find Inspiration
For some people, inspiration is everywhere. A simple walk down the street gives them a thousand ideas. For others, inspiration is harder to come by. If you’re stuck, try looking in some of these places for new ideas:
From novels to coffee-table-style photography tomes, books are full of inspiration. A character, a quotation, a plot element — these all can serve as inspiration. Perhaps a character will inspire your next party costume or a photograph of a distant land will provide ideas for your next dinner party.
Whether you’ve been all over the world or never left your home state, travel is one of the greatest sources of inspiration there is. Spend time looking at photographs from your travels or learning about places you would like to visit, and incorporate what you find into your creative projects.
Nature is perhaps tied with travel in terms of inspiration. From colors to shapes to textures and more, the natural world often inspires simply by being a place where you can clear your thoughts and regain focus. Make it a point to reconnect with nature on a regular basis, pausing to pay attention to small things like the sound of the wind through the trees or the way the light hits a particular hillside. You may return home with a great idea for that project you’ve been contemplating.
Many artists listen to music as they work and allow the sounds to influence their creations. Even if you’re not creating art, music can spur creativity and ideas; perhaps you want to create a costume based on your favorite song, or a certain lyric inspires a new character for a short story you’re writing. So crank up the tunes and let the music transport you to a place of inspiration.
As you start growing more in tune to inspiration, you’ll start seeing that it’s everywhere, and you’ll want to keep track of it. Carry your camera (or your smartphone) and a notepad with you so you can jot down your ideas as they come. Soon, you’ll have no trouble at all coming up with good ideas whenever you need them — even when your little one comes to you and says she wants to be a “butterfly fairy bumblebee princess with a marshmallow wand and flower wings” for a birthday costume party.
About the Author: Julie Vacchario has a degree in art and teaches painting and photography classes at her local community center. She also blogs about crafts and creativity for several parenting sites.