balloon Light bulb by teconlene

Balloon Light bulb by teconlene

Ever found yourself working on a new creative project, and your mind just went blank? Where has all my inspiration gone? Will it ever come back or have I lost my creativity? Why can’t I think of even one idea to get me started?

If you ever asked yourself these questions, read this story. It might sound familiarly depressing at first but I promise there’s a happy ending (and a simple solution too!):

The other day I was sitting at my work room, thinking about an idea for my next leather project. I was looking for something to inspire me so I turned to my usual sources of inspiration: I started brainstorming while going through some design books and magazines I have in my studio. When that didn’t work I briefed through some of my favorite design blogs on Google reader. Pinterest was next… Then Facebook… Then some more brainstorming…

And you know what? Nothing happened.
(Actually, one thing happened – I started stressing out about deadlines!)

Illustration by prettylittlethieves
Illustration by prettylittlethieves

By evening I was all exhausted from too much thinking. I felt tired, disappointed, and mostly worried. I felt the need to clear my head. Luckily it was time for my Pilates class, and as I felt really stressed out I figured this might take my mind off things.

As I got out of my studio and started walking to class, suddenly it happened! An idea flashed in my mind. It was a matter of seconds, but what I’ve been struggling with all day suddenly had a beginning. Finally I had an initial idea to get me started on my project!

I must admit, this is not the first time this has happened. Over the years I learned that creative ideas sometimes appear when you least expect them.

“It’s like having something at the tip of your tongue” (this is our old dog Eddie who run away… we miss you buddy!)

 Why can’t my inspiration show-up on demand?

Our subconscious work very mysteriously. You present yourself with a question you don’t yet know the answer to, and then spend hours trying to solve it. You try everything you know and can think of, and look up more knowledge and information to help you, but sometimes you’re still stuck.

Let me tell you a little secret: Your subconscious continues to look for a solution even when you’re not actively working to find it. It’s like having something at the tip of your tongue but you just can’t remember, not matter how hard you try. And then the next day, when you’re not even thinking about it – you suddenly recall it.

Try this: Present your subconscious with a question and then go do something else. Don’t think about it. It may take minutes, hours, days, sometimes years, but as long as you WANT to find a solution, your subconscious will look for it. Constantly. And at some point when you least expect it – The solution will appears in your mind like magic! That’s the funny thing about inspiration, sometimes you don’t find it – it finds you.

Photograph by behindthecameraanddreaming
Photograph by behindthecameraanddreaming

OK, I get it, inspiration needs time to ripen, but can I do something to make it happen faster?

Your subconscious works best when it’s not disturbed, and the thing that might disturb it the most is… You. Over thinking is its worst enemy. Sleeping is a good friend. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about getting lazy and sleeping through the day, but the reason an idea came to me only when I left my studio and went to Pilates class was that I needed to do something simple, that didn’t involve thinking. My subconscious was finally undistracted and had a chance to work things out and answer the question I presented to myself in the morning. Over time I found that there are some simple things I can do to help new ideas appear faster:

Ideas Journal by TrimmingsShop
Ideas Journal by TrimmingsShop

 10 ways to help your inspiration find you

  1. Go out for a short walk around the neigbourhood
  2. You can also ride your bike
  3. Take a shower
  4. Nap
  5. Don’t skip your lunch break! (sometimes when we’re stressed and busy we forget to do that, but it’s actually a great way to take your mind off things for a short while)
  6. Wash the dishes (Hard to believe, but this one works for me almost every time!)
  7. It also works with laundry
  8. Work out: gym, Yoga, Pilates – whatever you like.
  9. Walk your dog
  10. And mostly – Stop thinking about your project!

I hope one or more of these ways will help you out the next time you feel stuck, and that many creative ideas will flow your way!

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