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Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

Where do you find creative & innovative inspiration?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (403 points ) October 1st, 2011

I’m someone who wishes to be creative in my approach to the problems of the world and who desires to bring positive artistic expression to culture. Inspiration seems to be this allusive thing that only happens with the event of an “aha” moment. So, in order to create more opportunities for aha moments, where do you look?
What avenues, whether they be forums, books, websites, discussion groups, etc to you turn to for inspiration?

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19 Answers

DreamTrees's avatar

Actually, the word is elusive, which is what creativity is….it comes with inspiration and makes itself known differently, depending upon who has their antennae raised.

By specifying “positive artistic expression” keep in mind that positive is a matter of outlook. Some of the greatest artistic contributions came from artists who were mentally ill, addicted to a substance, abusive personality, suicidal, and on and on.

For me, the Muse awakens me in the middle of the night, and I often know it before I even open my eyes. Find the things that inspire you, allowing them to take their course with your creative side.

john65pennington's avatar

The Bible. Best book of inspiration in the world.

Paradox1's avatar

Invoke the prayer of the muses (Homer’s Odyssey, TE Lawrence translation)

dreamwolf's avatar

You just have to live. Like a writer, an artist of any sort is merely an observer who expressively presents their work.

zenvelo's avatar

I think @Schroedes13 hit it on the head. I get inspiration walking in nature, even being aware of nature while walking to work in the morning. Open your senses to the wind, the air, rain, or heat. Listen to the birds and the streams. Look at the clouds, or the sky, or the stars, or the way sunlight comes through a tree.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Absolutely everywhere. I’m just built like that.

cynema's avatar

The greatest ideas seem to come to me, driving on the Interstate, alone, at night.

wundayatta's avatar

Inspiration isn’t anywhere except inside yourself. It’s a way of interacting with the world. It’s a way of being open to anything and to being sympathetic with it. It’s a way of love and a an absolutely emptiness of criticism.

Creativity is what happens when you get out of your own way. Most of us have a life’s weight of stop signs built into our brains. We stop ourselves before we even get started. We have an idea and they we think “what would Sanderson think? Or what would Olivia think? Or what would anyone think?” Then you kill the idea because Sanderson and Olivia and anyone else, in your imagination, wouldn’t like it.

After a while of doing this, you never even bother to have ideas in the first place. You have all these preconceptions already. You want “positive” creativity. You want “aha’ moments. You think creativity can be found somewhere out there, on some avenue or website or something.

Creativity is not out there. It’s inside. It’s you letting go of your preconceptions and prejudices that keep you channeled in acceptable ways. It’s you doing what you really want to do instead of trying to be safe. It’s you daring to be different. Not just to be different, but because whatever you do is the appropriate thing for you to do.

If you get out of your own way, creativity is easy. It is wonderful. It is like being a child. Childlike. Your sense of wonder makes you see things how they could be anything at all. In your mind, you picture a million different options, or no options, just the way it goes inside you. You see it, and you write it down or paint it or dance it or express it in whatever medium you want to.

The other thing about creativity is that it doesn’t require any effort at all. It’s always there, but usually we stop it. Once you get out of the way, it happens without thought. It’s like watching a movie. You just sit there and watch the film roll. Then you record what you see in whatever medium you want. It’s so easy you can’t believe it. Absolutely no work is required to be creative.

Of course, recording it is another thing altogether.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t find it anywhere; my head is full of it, and I can hardly turn it off.

lloydbird's avatar

@YARNLADY Please pour it out into a book. And put me down for at least one copy.

tranquilsea's avatar

I find it everywhere and usually when I’m not looking. I carry a book around me for that reason.

Sunny2's avatar

For me it’s usually a problem to solve or a job to do that inspires me. Sometimes it’s something I want to say to someone. Sometimes it’s something I want to share with someone. Given a blank piece of paper I have nothing to say. Ask me to illustrate something or write something with some purpose and I’m there with ideas. Alone? A blank page. That’s why I can never say I’m an artist or a writer. Those people have ideas bubbling up all the time. I got some drawing talent from my mother, but none of her genius. Hence the blank page.

YARNLADY's avatar

I put my inspirations in design, formerly costumes and currently making needlepoint coasters and place mats.

As for writing, I have tried from time to time, but it come out very boring as in “I saw the mixed colors of the leaves during a recent trip through the Eastern Sierra, and my designs are full of the colors I saw and the feelings I had. I teach plastic canvas needlepoint to folks at retirement homes and to children whenever I can, but I don’t know what the long term results are.

I answer questions on various Q & A sites, especially relating to crafts. I find crafting to be very relaxing, which is what this world needs.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

For me it’s about knowledge. The more of it I gain, the more I can make up solutions because I can combine various information together quite well and I never think there are limits.

Bellatrix's avatar

It might come from a problem I am trying to solve and in just mulling it over I find a creative or innovative solution.

It might come from reading a news story that gets my mind thinking about how a situation could have started or be played out in the future. Or from listening to a conversation in a coffee shop (I do that a lot. I am nosey). Or from seeing a work of art and thinking about how I might adapt their idea and create something unique.

Inspiration is all around us. Keep a notebook with you at all times and when you get one of those “ah ha!” ideas, write it down. You will forget them again. Got to catch them quickly as they fly past.

Earthgirl's avatar

There are so many blogs and websites now that have a point of view and very fine focus. For example if I like Victorian /Steampunk there are loads of websites and blogs and books devoted to it. I love that I can google anything and follow it down to endless avenues of inspiration. Finding people who like the same things that inspire me is so great. Whereas in the past we would have been separated by geography or age or ethnicity, now people can come together in common interests and share whatever their passion may be.
I have my favorites, one of which is Wicked Halo whom I discovered on Flickr. I love the magazine Juxtapoz.Inspiration is everywhere. In the people you see, the museums and galleries you go to, music, dance, nature! Being open to it is the most important thing.

SU_ZANN's avatar

Become the keen observer, ...look for anomaly, irony, juxtaposition, opposites…Looking for those differences in things, people, places words etc… can be an opportunity to examine what is hidden in the world before us. Start with what you are most familiar with. Warhol proved that Art can come from your kitchen cabinet. Sometimes the anomaly, irony, juxtaposition, opposites exist before us…we don’t always recognize them..if not..explore…. without falling prey to cliches.

Don’t wait for the single right answer answer. Think of this as an exploration, experiment, I bet you will find many solutions.

Thank you for a great question.

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