Where does inspiration come from?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how creative people are inspired. And at the same time, how consciously I seek out inspiration in my own life.

I may be a self-proclaimed SuperGeek, but I would actually describe myself more as a jack-of-all-trades. WordPress consulting is just one of these “trades.”

Most of my other interests are creative and artistic, so WP SuperGeek allows me to dabble at the intersection of creativity and tech geekiness.

Have you been watching the Netflix series Abstract? I loved delving into the lives of the various types of artists, one after the other, and learning about how they carve out their creative space in the world. I have always loved watching the creative process at work, which is why I love Project Runway, for instance. I am always more interested in the designers’ processes than in the catty in-fighting.

One thing that the artists featured in Abstract seemed to keep saying is that their creativity thrives when there are limits imposed upon it. Maybe you only have a Sharpie to draw with. Or your only canvas is a picture window. Or your logo design is restricted by the company’s name.

Similarly, I enjoy having some restrictions on my work. It’s better to be able to immediately reject some ideas before they can even bubble to the surface, rather than having too much choice and too many options about what to create.

As someone who works on a computer all day, it’s easy to get so obsessed with working that you barely get up to eat, let alone leave the house. But it’s important for me, and other creative types, to remember that creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need to get out into the world and see the colours of nature, or the typography on local signage, or the way the light falls on a building at dusk.

One of the most inspiring things I do on a regular basis is visit an art gallery. I have a membership to a modern art museum, and I like to wander through just for an hour, limiting myself to just one section. Sometimes I find somewhere to sit and write, or doodle. Having a membership means that I can take my time, and really soak in the creative atmosphere.

I also love to travel, as time and money permit. Getting out of my comfort zone is inspiring, and I’ve been inspired by discovering the way I react to new and often surprising situations. Equally, I love coming home, and applying the lessons I’ve learned to my work and everyday life.

For me, inspiration comes from learning new things. I have an insatiable need to continue learning, so I thrive on signing up for online courses. I may not actually complete (or even start!) many of the courses that I sign up for, but when I do I am immediately transported into the world of whatever I’m learning:

  • I completed a course on drawing, and gained so much confidence by putting pen to paper and just giving it a go.
  • I went through a course on branding, and learned some great techniques for visualising a brand in the very early conceptual stages.
  • I did a course about MailChimp, and learned how to set up an auto responder and what it means to segment a list.

All of these courses may have had some elements that I already knew, but the teacher put their own personal spin on them which framed them as something new. And there was always enough content that was new to me, to inspire some new type of creativity.

Finally, I get inspiration through sharing my vulnerable stories and the work I create. The conversations I’ve had with people after they have read my writing, or seen my rudimentary doodles, have been some of the most enlightening. Often, they have even been surprising discussions with people I’ve been friends with for some time, but have never conversed with them like this before.

I’m so curious! Please tell me how your get your inspiration. Does it come easily to you, or do you really need to put yourself in a specific state to discover it? Leave a comment to let me know!

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