Where to get inspiration

You know how they say inspiration is all around you? Well it’s true. But to most, they’re flustered because goshdarnit if it were all around us then why is it so hard to find? I’ve credited my randomness (which means that I might be talking to you about one subject and then shift to another without batting an eyelash) to constantly getting inspiration all the time.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m a ball of randomness.

I’ll be thinking one thing one minute and flitting to another a moment later. It’s not that I have a short attention span; it’s because I’m taking everything in, all the time. I’d be looking at that pattern on the wall, to the rug on the floor, connecting patterns and lines and POOF something new is born in the recesses of my mind.

It could be a pattern that I’d like to explore, or it could be a way to solve a problem that I’ve been having – anything and everything is collected and accumulated which results in waves of impulses shooting around in that noodle of mine.

You’d think that by now my mind would have exploded (or imploded) already with all the things that I’m absorbing. Well, there’s a method to my madness of absorbing inspiration and I’m going to share that with you today:

1. I look up and down

We all tend to look at things in a straight manner. Walking ahead, how many of us look up, or even down for that matter? I’ve seen things in new perspectives when I shift my viewpoint a smidge. It could be that normal commute home, but take a moment to take in your surroundings, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see things you thought were never there before.

2. I read. A whole lot.

I read business books. Articles and everything I can get my hands on. I read TechCrunch, Inc.com, and the Wall Street Journal. I read Time Magazine. I’m reading The Decision Book, and I flip through Oh Comely. The point is that I do not discriminate about the things I learn about – I find it fascinating that one day I’m reading about how organic cotton is made, and then moving on to reading about World War II in a few clicks. Yes, it’s random, but I don’t memorize all of the things I absorb, because…

3. I’ve learned to see patterns in things

I’ve written about how I connect things in my mind for fun, but I also use the technique to find solutions to problems. It could be that article that I read last week that might help me solve a problem today. Or perhaps I can’t figure out how to make an illustration better but I remembered that there’s this fellow who used a certain analogy that could be applied to my brief. I don’t copy and paste – I synthesize and solve problems based on how others have done before me, and this could mean so many different ways depending on how you see things.

And to make sure my brain doesn’t go KABOOM on me…

4. I don’t use my brain to store things. I use it to come up with new things.

I write down a lot of things in my journal and my sketchbook because I know that I cannot trust my memory– it has failed me a few times. I would come up with this insanely great idea and then sleep on it and forget all about it when I woke up. So rather than just forcing myself to remember, I unload all the information in a safe place – a notepad, my phone, etc – so that I can come back and retrieve it later.

And because I know that my ideas are in good hands, my mind is free to take in more things and to expand on what I’ve seen and learnt, and to come up with even more ideas.

Tell me, what works for you?

Not all who wander are lost print by Eeko Studio.

8 Replies to “Where to get inspiration”

  1. ha ha ha Love it! I look for patterns on walls, doors and floors when I am sitting on the loo (in strange places).. may be I need to bring out my pattern looking int ot the rest of the world 🙂

  2. Excellent article, Amy. It was a joy to read and I could easily relate to everything that you articulated. I find that sometimes too much information/inspiration can be overwhelming and very distracting, so like you explained, writing things down helps to store away those thoughts for later use 🙂

    Thank you.

  3. ella says:

    Fabulous! I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one. What a beautifully put together post. In terms of what works for me… I am still trying to figure that one out. But yes writing things down, in journals, sketchbooks, on the desktop of my laptop, hands, arms when one is about to attend a meeting and blue and green biro all over the hands is not such a good look!!
    Prioritising and accepting that i cannot do everything if I want to get really skilled at the things I love the most is where I’m at at the moment 🙂

  4. John says:

    What a great post Amy. Most artists do a similar thing. It’s a shame our education systems are still stuck with a linear model rather than a multi-layered, holistic approach.

  5. gwen gibson says:

    Wonderful article, Amy. I just joined Pinterest and am enjoying filling my boards with inspiring images. It’s a good way to see whether or not there’s a unifying theme to my choices. (Probably not.)
    Today I pinned Beth Emily, thanks for introducing her.

  6. natemac says:

    loved this post. great observations and suggestions. Also, love the quote in the top pic. I’ve done some art based on it as well!

  7. Mona says:

    This is very similar to how my brain works! But when I’m not rested or don’t have enough time to properly organize my impressions, my brain is miserable and cluttered. Have you ever read about HSP – highly sensitive persons? It describes this type of brain and nervous system that is highly receptive and finds nothing uninteresting, and puts the pieces together in unusual ways. It made such sense to me.

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