Welcome to this creative blog, where I take a little look into the fascinating world of inspiration. In this blog, I explore the essence of creativity and the art of finding inspiration. Find out how everyday moments can spark the flame of imagination, and how a diverse range of influences can enrich your creative process. Use the suggestions below to enhance your own ideas. Feel free to comment below.

1: Understanding Creative Inspiration

What exactly is inspiration, and how can you use it?

Creative inspiration involves two stages: a passive stage of being 'inspired by' something, followed by an active stage of being 'inspired to do' something. In the passive stage, objects, people, or ideas evoke inspiration. By cultivating a heightened sense of awareness, new possibilities open up beyond our existing ideas. At this point, the seeds of inspiration are planted.
The transformative power of inspiration comes in the active stage. The new possibilities that have taken root in your mind, inspire us to express these ideas in fresh ways. Inspiration acts as a conduit, transmitting creative ideas which are channelled and transformed into something tangible.
By understanding how the passive and active stages work together, you can see that inspiration is what fuels our drive to create and enables us to break free from old ideas, fostering innovation and opening new paths for our creative pursuits. [1]

2: Collecting

Where, and how, do you find inspiration?

The world is filled with inspiration waiting to be discovered. By observing the world around you, by choosing carefully your surroundings, and embarking on new adventures or seeking out the unusual and unconventional, you can unlock the creativity within you. There are several techniques you can try:
The Art of Observation: 
  • Practice mindfulness to enhance your ability to observe and be present in the moment. Perhaps try this through practices such as meditation and deep breathing.
  • Mind-wandering: Allow yourself to indulge in meaningful daydreams that are based on fantasy rather than problem-solving. Let your imagination roam freely. This is my favourite! 
  • Adopt a curious mindset to find inspiration in everyday life. Ask questions and use curiosity to approach familiar situations with fresh eyes to discover overlooked details and ideas.
  • Sharpen your senses and become more aware of the world around you. Listen to a diverse range of music, tantalise your taste buds with different cuisines, and experience different textures. Think about how you personally might awaken your senses. For instance, I would take a walk along the beach and feel the sand between my toes; or a walk through the cool, dark woods and breathe in the scent of the trees; or venture out on a rainy day and feel the drops of rain on my face. Look for these sensory experiences and see how they can inspire your creativity in ways you may not have considered before.
Create your Surroundings:
Create an environment that stimulates your creativity. Consider the following tips for setting up an inspiring space:
  • Consider the lighting to suit you and your mood. Different types of lighting can create different feelings.
  • Use inspiration triggers, such as personal objects or images. Choose items that hold sentimental or symbolic value and incorporate colours and textures. Maybe consider items that evoke specific moods or themes, for instance elements from nature.
  • Remove anything you find distracting.
  • Make use of visual prompts like quotes, artwork, or other visual stimuli in your working space to serve as prompts that spark creative ideas.
The Power of New and Unusual:
  • Look beyond your main area of interest and explore different mediums such as books, movies, nature, art, travel, and people.
  • Step out of your comfort zone and try new experiences. Challenge yourself to try activities or hobbies that are unrelated to your primary creative pursuit. Stepping outside your comfort zone can stimulate your mind and provide new perspectives.
  • Look for inspiration from unconventional sources. Venture beyond your traditional places and seek inspiration from everyday objects, street art, urban landscapes. Look for other unconventional sources. By venturing outside of your comfort zone you will experience different emotions. Research has shown that by experiencing a broad range of emotions, and opposite emotions at the same time, such as excitement and frustration, [2] you can fuel your creativity.

3: Recording and Organising

How do you organise all the things that you collect?

Recording and organising the inspiration you have gathered is essential. By using a system, you can bring order to the chaos and transform your scattered ideas into cohesive concepts. A well organised system allows for easier retrieval for later use.
Creative Note-Taking
Capture and organise ideas that you generate.
  • Keep a Journal: maintain a dedicated journal to record thoughts, observations, and sparks of ideas. Journaling also helps to keep track of idea evolution. Just looking back over the notes I've made in a notebook can trigger new ideas and remind me of ideas I'd forgotten.
  • Digital Tools and Apps: make use of note-taking apps like Evernote, mind-mapping tools, or digital platforms for recording your ideas and observations. I also use Trello as a way of storing snippets in an organised way! It is free and easy to use.
  • Bullet Journaling: customise a bullet journal for note-taking, task management, and creative expression that suits your style.
    Building your Inspiration Library
    Building an inspiration library provides you with a go-to resource that offers you a wealth of ideas for you to draw from. Try putting together your own repository of inspiration with these methods:
    • Create a digital or physical collection of books that inspire you. Surround yourself with sources of motivation that you can look at, or flick through the pages. Digitised books offer an easy way to expand your collection. I've found this to be really useful for books that are no longer in print and that are too expensive to buy.
    • Bookmark online resources: save and categorise online articles, videos, and research papers using browser extensions, bookmarking platforms like Raindrop, or note-taking apps like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote or Google Keep.
    • Create visual collections: make use of platforms like Pinterest or Trello to create virtual mood boards and save visual inspiration that is in line with your creative vision. Again, I've found Trello to be a useful way to capture and organise ideas. 

    4: Making Meaningful Connections

    How does analysing the items you collect, help to generate new ideas?

    By using visual analysis, recognising recurring themes, brainstorming, and utilising mind maps, you can uncover meaningful connections within your collected inspiration. These strategies fuel innovation and provide a structured approach to synthesising your ideas. To discover valuable insights, and fuel the generation of fresh and innovative concepts from your collected inspiration, you could follow these strategies:

    Unveiling Patterns
    Recognise patterns and trends within your inspiration:
    • Visual analysis: examine visual elements across different sources to identify visual patterns, colour schemes, or compositional elements that appear across different sources of inspiration. In this way you can uncover underlying connections and gain a deeper understanding of the themes or visual aspects that appeal to you.
    • Recurring themes: take note of consistent themes or motifs that emerge, as they may hold significance in your creative exploration. I have certainly found that I find recurring motifs popping up in the images I collect, like bats for instance!
    Connecting the Dots
    Discover relationships between ideas that initially appear to be unconnected:
    • Brainstorming: Freely explore connections and associations between inspirations, allowing thoughts to flow without judgement. Try involving family, friends or colleagues for different views.
    • Mind Mapping: Visually represent relationships and associations between ideas, uncovering new connections and generating innovative concepts. Start with a central concept and branch out, creating a web of interconnected thoughts and concepts. By visually organising your ideas, mind mapping enables you to uncover new connections, explore tangents, and generate innovative concepts.

      5: Collaborate, Connect & Inspire

      As you progress on your creative journey, you will find there comes a time that you need to extend your reach beyond your own mind. Look for collaboration and community, recognise the value of finding supportive networks and enjoy sharing your creativity with others.
      The Power of Collaboration
      By joining forces with others, you gain fresh perspectives and a fusion of ideas. Collaborative projects often produce the spark that helps to push creativity. Look for collaboration as an opportunity to learn, grow and explore the potential within yourself.
      Finding your Creative Community
      Connect with supportive communities to share ideas, experiences, and encouragement. Find communities, either in-person or online, where there are likely to be creators, and where you can share experiences, knowledge and ideas. These are places where you can find feedback and encouragement.
      Paying it Forward
      As you grow and evolve in your creative pursuits, remember to give something back when you can. Share your knowledge, experiences, creative processes and insights with others. Through mentorship and teaching, inspire emerging talents to embark on their creative journey


      [1] Thrash, T. M., & Elliot, A. J. (2003). Inspiration as a psychological construct. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 871–889. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.871

      [2] Fong, Christina Ting. “The Effects of Emotional Ambivalence on Creativity.” The Academy of Management Journal, vol. 49, no. 5, 2006, pp. 1016–30. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20159814. Accessed 24 July 2023.

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