Inspiration can strike when we least expect it. Some of us struggle to harness it, or even acknowledge it, when it comes. If we’re prepared, we can use the inspiration around us to provide great details and ideas for our stories and art.
If we’re listening.
My friends came to visit a while back, along with their four-year-old twin daughters. I watched the girls turn my dining room table and blue yoga mat into a cave with a river winding out. They sat in the darkened room for an hour, exploring this imaginary cave, telling stories, creating their own adventures. They became real life Dora the Explorers.
When we open our minds to the wandering possibilities or to the daydreams of childhood, we’re cultivating creativity. And inspiration won’t be far behind.
Recent studies into creativity have shown people with ADHD performed higher on creative tests than those without it. By letting our mind wander or jump around, it makes strange connections that inspire creative thought.
In school, we’re taught to focus, to find the right answer, but when it comes to creativity, there is no one right answer. The more outside the box you think, the more creative your work may become. You’ll never know if something works if you don’t think it up first.
You can’t rush inspiration, but cultivating a lifestyle that promotes creativity can help. So relax. Stress only shoves creativity out the window. Try taking walks and give yourself time to think and reflect. Find that rock by the lake and take in the sights. Sometimes, all you need is a creative spark and inspiration will take over.
Write It Down
My iPad goes everywhere with me. Inspiration hits me at the strangest times. When I’m at the grocery store, or almost asleep, or waiting for a table at a restaurant. If I don’t have something to record my ideas in, I’ll forget I even had them.
With my iPad, I can take a picture or video of whatever I see that inspires me, store it for later, and I even have a voice recorder handy. You can do the same with your smart phone or tablet PC. Or, you can keep a handwritten journal or notebook. Just take it with you.
The key here is record it. Write it down. That way, you’ll have all your ideas when you’re ready to use them.
Be an Organization Junkie
A lot of creative folks have brilliant ideas but their papers are all over the place. Stacks of notebooks and ideas. Torn napkins with scribbling on them. That may work for some, but my bet is, when they can’t find the idea they had for their story, they may get really frustrated and waste a lot of time they could be writing or creating.
Organization can help you harness your creativity. Come up with an easy system for recording your ideas that works for you. There are some great apps for organizing notes. I use Notability, an app that allows you to organize your notes into folders and even record voice memos and insert photos directly on the screen.
Other great apps are Evernote, which allows you to organize your notes, and Corkulous, a virtual cork board for you visual people. You may prefer a laptop or the trustworthy filing cabinet. Whatever works for you, as long as you can find your ideas after you’ve written them down.
So, the challenge this week – get inspired and get organized! Read a book, write down three ideas you have, start a creativity journal, or organize your notes on your computer or iPad.
What are ways you could start using your creativity this week?
For More Reading: How to Cultivate Creativity by Elana Miller, MD