20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration

20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration - roomfortuesday.comAs a creative person, it’s tough to always feel inspired and excited creatively. There are definitely times of “drought”, when creativity doesn’t flow as freely- or you have a brain block. In fact, I think that’s very normal and makes those creative moments more magical, but it can be frustrating when you have a deadline and the ideas just aren’t coming as they normally would. Rather than sitting and waiting around for creativity to strike, I wanted to share 20 ways I find creative inspiration that help me out of a creative rut. Whether you’re a designer, painter, videographer, chef, or any type of creative in any type of role… I hope this post gets you excited and is encouraging. Click through to read about 20 ways I personally find creative inspiration…

20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration - roomfortuesday.comWhen inspiration strikes, it’s an awesome feeling… but there also dry spells for creatives. This has honestly been a tough year for creativity because SO much is happening that requires space. Whether your profession is creative or if you just enjoy being creative for fun, I hope my list will help provide inspiration for breaking creative drought. It’s easy to feel discouraged when ideas aren’t flowing freely, but I’ve learned creativity can’t be forced… no matter how determined you are, BUT- there are certainly exercises that help.

20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration - roomfortuesday.comWhile doing some of these things are more challenging during a pandemic, I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to find inspiration (despite current restrictions- like touring a museum online instead of in person)

  • Get outside. I’m always amazed what fresh air, moving my body, and awakening my senses (like noticing how beautiful flowers smell) can do for my creativity. Going outside is always my first remedy.
  • Travel. This is tough right now, but I’m incredibly inspired by a change of scenery. From hotels, architecture, culture, and food… traveling is one of my biggest forms of inspiration.
  • Flip through magazines. Yes, old school PRINTED magazines are my favorite. There is something about turning pages, taking notes, and ripping out ones I find particularly inspiring.
  • Visit a museum. I love museums of all types. I’ve discovered that I gain a ton of ideas walking through museums & galleries (or virtual tours right now).
  • Make a list. I’m the type of person who jots down every thought. Journaling and list making helps me organize my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration… so it makes sense when I’m ready to be creative.
  • Hop on Pinterest. Pinterest is such an incredible tool for figuring out what you like and don’t like. It’s a valuable inspiring resource (and my favorite social media outlet).
  • Take photos. I’ve found perspective through a lens can allow you to see things differently. We always have our phones attached to us, so put that camera to good use!
  • Go thrifting. Vintage shopping or thrift shopping is definitely inspiring for me, for obvious reasons.
  • Watch a movie. I enjoy watching art films, movies with amazing set design & cinematography- or even movies that allow me to escape my creative block mindset. Sometimes you just need a reset.
  • Practice a new creative skill. Find something outside your wheelhouse (pottery, painting, cake decorating, whatever!), and get creative in a way you normally wouldn’t. It really helps!
  • Chat with other creatives. Having a creative community you can bounce ideas with is super important.
  • Listen to music. Music is scientifically proven to boost creativity. Put it your headphones or crank up your speaker.
  • Sort through saved inspiration. I feel like most creative people hoard their inspiration… in a desktop folder, in a file, on Pinterest, in a sketchpad, etc. Dig through your archives and ask yourself why you saved the inspiration in the first place.
  • Look to history. I pull a lot of inspiration from history. Look at old magazines, art history, dive into the history of whatever it is you’re passionate about (furniture design, interior design, etc). Everything that is old becomes new again, and sometimes that is the best place to resurrect ideas.
  • Try something new. Learning something new and stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to break a creative spell.
  • Get creative in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, and shooting recipe posts for the blog are nice little “creative breaks” for me. They allow me to be creative in a different way.
  • Change your attitude. If I’m feeling blah or creativity just isn’t coming easily, I check my attitude. If I’m in a crappy, pessimistic mood, there is no way I’ll produce something great. Sometimes I consciously have to improve my mood before I can be creative- OR accept that creativity is just not happening today, and move onto something else that is productive.
  • Shower. It never fails- my best ideas happen in the shower. It’s weird, but as soon as I hop out, I grab my notepad and jot everything down. Try thinking in the shower… it works for me. Ha!
  • Break your normal routine. Sometimes if I’m feeling stuck, I’ll take a drive instead of sitting behind my computer… anything that breaks your normal routine can help!
  • Read a book. Reading (specifically fiction) helps me get out of head. I also read a lot of self help books, but those actually tend to stifle my creativity. I think a book that allows escapism and imagination are more likely to break a creative rut (at least for me).
  • Get back to your roots. One of my first jobs was designing for a sign and vehicle shop. An older sign painter took me under his wing and taught me how to pinstripe muscle cars. I used to install graphics, sign paint, and pinstripe for many years. It had been ages since I had done any of that, but recently, I had the opportunity to get back to my roots for a project. It was a lot of fun and reminded me that you never really lose a skill and it pushed me in an old, familiar creative way.

20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration - roomfortuesday.comI’ll also say this- nobody is creative 100% of the time. There are definitely times you’ll feel uninspired, but know that it isn’t permanent and this is all part of the process of producing amazing, creative ideas. I think the point is this… creativity looks different for everyone. From the time of day you are most creative to gathering inspiration that leads to a wonderful idea, figure out what works for YOU and embrace that process.

PS… I had to take a new headshot for an upcoming partnership I have in the works, so I figured I’d drop it in this post. I feel like it’s more applicable or heartfelt if you can see me (human-to-human) in personal posts. I will say- self portraits and using my camera with the timer is one of my LEAST favorite tasks. I didn’t feel creative at all doing this, as I’d rather be on the other side of the lens.

20 Ways I Find Creative Inspiration - roomfortuesday.comI want to hear how you break a creative rut! Where do you find inspiration? Where and when does creativity strike? As always, thank you for reading and sharing! I’m actually recharging right now, as we’re on vacation (finding lots of creative inspiration) in Oregon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

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  1. You are the loveliest! I think these are great ideas for shaking off a regular old funk. Maybe all ruts are creative blocks? Getting outside in nature is my number one head-clearing cure. Bonus points if it’s an unfamiliar environment. Thrifting and antiquing always spark ideas for me; you never know what you will encounter. I am also definitely a magazine fan; revisiting and reconsidering images can conjure memories or change perspectives. Trying new (complicated) recipes or techniques in the kitchen is another favorite, and there’s the obvious edible reward! And what is it about showering? Washing away the cobwebs? The number of conversations I start with “It occurred to me in the shower…” Haha, maybe I should leave that out?
    Thanks for this, Sarah. I’m feeling refreshed already. I hope you are having the best week.💜

    1. Aw thanks Peggi! Maybe you’re right- creative or not, we all get into ruts and funks. I bet many of these apply to everyone! I have no idea what it is about showering, but I swear that’s where I have my best, most productive thoughts. Hahah!! Happy Friday to you :)

  2. One of the things you don’t know about me yet, is that I am a writer. Currently, I’m working on a book that has been 20 years in the making. Compiling years worth of poems into a much larger work that tells the story behind them: one of deep loss, picking up the pieces to move forward, and the journey of healing. It’s a memoir of sorts really. All of the cures for drought that you have listed are actually things that I do as my own cures. Down to the reading preferences! I read fiction of all kinds and self help primarily, and I’ve found too that the self help books actually increase the drought. Give me a classic fiction novel, or a heaping dose of Stephen King, or anything fantasy (Tolkien is my favorite), and I’ll be off and running. Quarantine, social distancing, and distance learning have wreaked havoc on my creative process; the drought is real over here!! Haha. Lately folk music has been my form of reigniting that inspiration. I hope you’re able to reignite this weekend too. Oregon sounds lovely! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for Monday Sarah! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I didn’t know that! What an exciting project you’ve been working on… I can’t wait to read someday :) One of my favorite books is a similar type of memoir. Have you read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed? If not, you have to check it out. I love hearing that you practice similar “cures” for creative drought or times where inspiration is lacking. I’m also a big fan of folk music. Jamestown Revival has been a longtime favorite of mine, but I’m sure you already know of them. Oregon has been really nice to unplug and take a break. xo

      1. I haven’t come across that book yet, but thank you for the recommendation, I will for sure check it out! I’ve been looking for book recs for my fall reading list. I’m going to dive into some Jamestown Revival too…I actually hadn’t heard of them, but I’m excited to listen. Thanks Sarah!

        1. Yay!! Let me know what you think :)

  3. Love your portrait / head shot — the light glows, just like you.

    1. Aww thank you so much, Kim! Made my day :) xo

  4. Nice headshot! Ditto to what Kim said. My daughter was going to do a photoshoot of my husband and I (I had a cute idea) but my honey went on a fishing trip. Glad though cause I was not feeling it today for taking pictures.
    I cannot imagine the pressure and stress to find creative things to do or have the energy to complete with deadlines, etc. I usually solve problems (sometimes realize new ones) when I am wide awake in the middle of the night. The only thing I solve in the shower is what I am wearing for the day. HA! There is sooooo much we need to do (clean, paint, repair, move, get rid of) in our house that it over whelms me. The last couple of nights I have been painting with a ‘paint by numbers’ kit. Its been ages since I have done one but it allows me to think, dream, escape while doing it.
    Travel is a great way to refresh the mind. We hope to take a couple of road trips this fall (fingers crossed). Blogs and Pinterest are my go-to for inspiration. I cannot clean or paint without music playing. The more upbeat the better. Thrifting has been one I want to do more. Now I have the time.
    Enjoy Oregon. Look forward to reading about it.

    1. Thank you so much Danna :) You all are making my day! I’m laughing at your husband dipping out on fam photos for fishing (that sounds like something I would do, ha). Sometimes you’re just not feeling it. You two will get that cute photo soon, I’m sure! I have no idea what it is about the shower for me. Unlike you, I can’t trust my nighttime ideas… they usually are a result of pure exhaustion and make zero sense. Ha! I need to get more sleep. I love that you’ve been doing a paint-by-number! What a perfect way to relax, get creative, and just do something out of the norm. How fun! It sounds like an awesome stress reliever. Crossing my fingers for your road trip. Oregon has been that for us- we cook in our airbnb, enjoy the beach, social distance, and keep to ourselves, but the change of scenery alone has been just what we needed! I’m with you on cleaning and painting with music. Have a wonderful weekend! xo

  5. Carrie Jaeger says:

    Excellent advice ☺️ The ‘hoarding of creative inspiration’ – is so true!!

    1. Yes!! I definitely hoard my precious inspiration. Haha! Have a great weekend Carrie :)

  6. wenda scott says:

    you are darling. i wish i had just an ounce of creativity. i hope you stay out of Portland. love your blog.
    best regards, Wenda Scott

    1. Aw thank you Wenda! We’re sticking to our airbnb on the coast- not traveling to Portland this time. Have a wonderful weekend :)