If you’re looking for some creative inspiration, you don’t have to look very far. Here’s a list of 25 things that have inspired my creative life (maybe some of them will inspire you too):
Artful Blogging, flow, and Bella Grace are my must-haves. A perfect weekend afternoon for me means sitting in a comfy chair at my local Barnes and Noble with a stack of magazines in my lap.
I pour over the pages and collect all my favorite details from the pages into my iPhone. A pairing of fonts here, a photo there. My phone is full of photos from magazine spreads.
2) Adult coloring books
Hours go by, and I’m still sharpening my pencils and filling in the white spaces between the illustrated lines. It’s peaceful, and I love to come up with new color combinations when I’m coloring.
It gives me that quiet brain-break kind of creativity that I need to help me feel refreshed and inspired.
3) Young adult fiction books
A box just came to my door yesterday with a new YA series, and I literally can’t wait until Saturday, when I can curl up on the couch and lose hours lost in the worlds of my books.
4) Planning in my Hobonichi planner
Floral stickers, patterned washi tape, markers, and color pencils. Need I say more?
5) Receiving snail mail
My creative friends have sent me lovely things over the years, from crafted postcards to trinkets from other countries, to books. Nothing beats opening a letter from a friend and seeing their giving spirit.
6) Cross country road trips with people I love
Filling up the car with extra things because we have the extra space; stopping on the side of the road to take a photo of a beautiful thing that I may never see again, even when cars are zipping by at lightning speed; seeing my Mom cry as she sees the Grand Canyon for the first time; camping in 30 degree weather and working with my laptop in the middle of a national forest while the stars shine above.
The memories and the moments of quietness that happen when I’m away from the fast-paced rush of my everyday life still fill me up every day.
7) Coffee mugs
Cute coffee mugs inspire me. They just do.
8) Watching YouTube
I’m addicted. YouTube is my happy place. My favorite illustrator and creative person to follow on YouTube is Frannerd. Now you’ll be addicted too. I just told my biz-BFF Kris about her, and Kris spent the next two days gobbling up every last video. You’ve been warned.
9) Chatting with my friends
I can chat it up when I’m with my friends. My best business friends give me so much space to brainstorm and dream the most amazing things.
10) Writing blog posts
This is a new thing for me since I used to dread opening up a new document to write a post. Now there lots of ideas, and countless words pouring out, when I sit down to write to you every week.
11) Traveling to foreign countries
Standing in front of the waterfalls in Ecuador and feeling the mist-filled breeze on my face; looking out my apartment window in Russia at the snow against the birch trees; hiking up and down the slopes of the Great Wall and feeling the history there.
People and cultures and places capture my heart the most.
12) Making lists + Dreaming about the future
Sitting down with my favorite cup of chai and a large artist’s sketch pad is my FAVORITE thing. I’m an excellent planner.
13) Being in nature
The stillness and quiet get me. Like when I hiked up to view a waterfall in Belize almost two years ago. I couldn’t hear anything around me, except the whoosh of the air moving in and out of my body.
The silence was loud. Now and then, a howler monkey would call out. It was scary and beautiful all at once, and I felt like the only person alive. I took in everything and loved every moment.
14) A fun brainstorming, jammie wearing, Zoom session with my business bestie
Adult-sized onesies are allowed. In fact, they’re highly recommended.
15) The artwork of my many clients
I mean, can I just plaster my walls with all of their lovely paintings and photographs and fill my house with the yummy candles they make?
My clients inspire me to no end.
16) Reading my favorite blogs
My current favorite is Meet Edgar’s blog. The mix of funny gifs and the little funny one-liners makes me snort so loud! I could never read their blog in public, but I sure love reading it in my office, with only Josie to hear my giggles.
17) Pinterest & Instagram
The place to go for us dreamers, right?
18) Craft stores + random art supplies
My husband dreads going to the craft store with me. It takes at least an hour for me to stroll down every aisle (at least once).
19) A trip to my local coffee shop
A change of scenery sometimes helps when I catch myself staring blankly at the screen. Packing up my work and bringing it to the local cafe often does the trick, and gets me working again, in no time.
I love the noises of people chatting and the whir of the coffee machines. I’m not sure why it inspires me…it just feels like a cozy space outside of my home with lots of life in it.
Listening to Essentialism by Greg McKeown, not only made cleaning more fun, but it also helped me learn to focus only on the essential things that need to be done each day. (Thanks, April, for the suggestion!)
21) Painting my nails or putting on a little bit of makeup
I don’t know why, but when I feel like work is drudgery, I try out a new nail color, and it perks me right up.
I love to doodle all the live long day. It eases my anxiety and makes my heart happy.
23) Listening to music on Spotify
I’m not sure if anyone else has an eclectic taste in music like I do (like Dolly Parton and Panic! At The Disco), but music is what gets me through incredibly looooong hours of work.
24) Online courses
Learning from others helps me to grow personally and professionally. I have a slight addiction.
25) Going on a photo walk
The quickest way for me to find some instant inspiration is to grab my camera and go to a new place. I’ve had a camera for sixteen years, and I still see the world in photographs.
I’m constantly looking…even when I don’t have my camera. It’s like there’s a shutter in my brain that’s constantly going off and seeing all the beautiful things and what they’d look like as a photo.
I love sharing my view of the world in this way. I think it has to do with how we each have our own creative perspective and how each point of view is legitimate and beautiful.
I’m always looking for new places to find inspiration. What’s one thing that inspires your creative life? Share it in the comments below so that I can add it to my list!
I love traveling and just sitting in a strange coffee shop watching people go by :)
Amanda Creek says
Oh! Another great place to people watch is the airport. :)
Bonnie Lecat says
Ok, I love and am inspired by all of the things on your list! :) Thanks for sharing!! There is nothing better than the electric charge you feel from a rush of inspiration, right? The only other thing I can think of that you haven’t listed, is “clearing my desk” by doing some yoga or meditation. I like making room for some new ideas to show up and this sometimes works like a charm!
Amanda Creek says
What another great place to gain some inspiration. I tried aerial yoga this past weekend and it was absolutely wonderful. I feel much more energetic today than I did last week, and I’m wondering if that has anything to do with it. I’m glad you mentioned this, Bonnie!
Erin Stewart says
Oh my…how have I not come across Frannerd before now!??
Working in the garden or exploring some wild place near me definitely helps my creativity. I also find that I have to take creativity breaks lately to keep me motivated to keep working on the more business-y things on my to-do list. Taking an hour to paint a botanical illustration in between writing blog posts and answering emails, etc. has really been a productivity booster for me. Also, macrame. Something about it is like therapy for me!
Amanda Creek says
Hahaha. Right?! Frannerd is the BEST.
And how could I forget painting? That should be on my list. I just can’t take an hour, though. If I were to start painting during the day, I wouldn’t be able to tear myself away from it. Gardening also sounds lovely.
Erin Stewart says
Gardening is amazing. There have been all kinds of studies about how it improves your health and increases ‘happy.’ I love it. =)
For inspiration, I love people watching on a community college’s campus, and at dog parks. I totally love reading “black out” poetry where someone has crafted a poem with words from a page of a book blacking out or doodling over all other words. Yummy!
Amanda Creek says
I forgot people watching! I love watching people at the airport. That’s very inspiring for me.