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Sources of Inspiration and Keeping Creativity Active

Inspiration comes in many unlikely forms, and sometimes a completely un-related area of interest will manifest itself in creativity elsewhere in your life. If August Kekulé can dream of a snake biting it's own tail and conclude the structure of benzene in 1865, you surely can find inspiration in the oversaturated modern world. Below are some of the things that I draw inspiration from.

  • Push your boundaries. Going outside of your comfort zone - whether it be within a new area of photography, a sport, or personal growth - stimulates your creativity and fuels your brain for inspiration.

  • Try something completely new. Too often we find ourselves in the same daily routine. Changing it up by engaging in new activities resets your thought process and allows you to stay sharp. Start small; try driving a different route to work or walking home a different way, and work yourself up to a new interest like cooking, art classes, learning a language or an instrument! I often turn to visiting my local National Geographic to hear some of my heroes talk about adventure.

  • Try changing locations. It's been said that something as simple as changing seats in your office (or not having assigned seats) has a great influence in productivity. Personally, I like the hum of coffee bars to hone in my concentration. It's also been shown (PDF download) that walking boost creativity - it's no wonder Steve Jobs and Mark Zukerberg both held walking meetings.

  • Keep a journal - actual pen and paper! Writing down ideas not only helps me to remember them, but having them in written form allows me to literally draw connections between thoughts and grow thoughts organically. Try sketching, doodling or trying the 30 Circles Test to spawn creativity.

  • Keep a folder of inspiration. Tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Pocket are free, and their integration into today's social media world make bookmarking and downloading images/articles/clippings very easy. I like to keep a folder of photographs I like as well as possible locations for photos.

  • Healthy bodies prompt healthy minds. It's no secret that keeping healthy keeps your brain sharp, and Youtube legend Casey Neistat couldn't agree more when it comes to his studio design. Go on a bike ride, walk to the coffee shop, or take a weekend to do a hike!

  • Follow other artists. Communities like Dribble, 500px, National Geographic Yourshot, and Tumblr make following other artists very simple, and RSS tools like Feedly make it possible to cull together all the feeds into one spot. Another source not to miss is Demilked - some solid content in there.

  • Feed your brain. This goes along the same lines as trying something new - forming new connections by learning fresh things. Medium articles are a great spot to start reading, but it's a bit like the Wikipedia of the inspirational world. Tried and true sources like Ted and Talks at Google are great visual education, and ambient music channels on Soundcloud, Spotify, Noisli, or always seem to help me out!

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