9 Tips and Books For Creative Inspiration
While creativity is sometimes portrayed as a sudden flash of inspiration, there is a lot of basic legwork behind it, people do not necessarily talk about as much.
Here is the good news: as a creative you do not have to think of yourself as being solely at the mercy of the muses, but rather as an enthusiast, an aficionado and a diligent learner who with every additional step is becoming better at his craft.
Building on John Lennon's words: "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans", think about the following nine steps as an exercise that helps set the scene against the backdrop of which life (or creative inspiration) will happen.
1. Learn From Peers More Experienced Than You
A good artist should discover and endeavor to keep up good work with other types of artists in his field. This is very useful, especially if you want to make changes to your work.
Being an artist requires serious creativity. When you know a better artist than yourself with a similar style and concept, such competition will help you improve.
2. Interact with Recipients of Your Work
Summer is a known period popular for artist's showcase, festivals, conferences and exhibition.
During this period, the world slows down as various artists display their beautiful works.
The benefit comes when you spend time creating social interactions with the guests.
Do not compare such with online visitors as they only see your work through pictures previously snapped and your personal website.
Talking to recipients of your creative work may allow for confirmation; a reality-check; maybe criticism.
But what is for sure is that it will help you learn something about your audience, their expectations, likes and dislikes.
3. Discuss with Creatives you Look Up to
In my mind, an artist's creative inspiration heightens with the number of events he attends.
The individual creative level will increase especially with the presence of a crowd.
When visiting an art museum, you may sometimes wonder how this fellow artist possibly was able to create such a beautiful piece of art.
Pondering over such work and meeting up with the person behind such creative design should be enough to inspire you.
Also in some cases, a less intimate organised event can give a more focused inspiration.
This will give you an opportunity to discuss with the artists.
4. Know Your Space and the Work Done by People Around You
“A good writer must be a good reader”. For you to be creative and successful in any field, you must absorb, study and be conversant with other similar work done by people around you.
Whether they are famous or not, amateurs or professionals, doesn't matter.
What matters is the effort you are putting into become better at what you do.
5. Explore Your Community's Creative Venues & Events
When searching for inspiration in community events, checking online for listings will be helpful.
You may go the old school way by looking for an old newspaper or check out bulletin boards in a library or coffee shop.
You can also subscribe to local venues' e-mail newsletter to find out more about upcoming events.
Whether it is a poetry-slam, improv theatre or a comedy night, an environment of creative experimentation may well spark something in your own imagination.
6. Embark on a Field Trip
While in school theories of what you were learning were to be found in textbooks.
But going beyond textbook knowledge, what is the best way of getting practical, first-hand exposure to the joys and challenges of your discipline?
Taking a field trip! As a creative, your creative inspiration may be from embarking on a field trip to visit a famous artist or check out a museum.
If the distance is manageable, you can also travel to a place that may have inspired these individuals to become who they were.
Think Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France. It inspired some of his greatest works like the Water Lilies.
A popular artist will definitely have his work online, including his biography and history so you can delve into their environment and sources of inspiration.
7. Let Music Stimulate Your Neurons
If you want to keep track of your favourite musician, you can follow up with their tour schedule and listen to them at a live concert.
This is not really as difficult as it looks. It just requires paying close constant attention to the tour dates of the artist and take the time to go.
Since you enjoy their music, this should not require too much of an effort while at the same time:
exposing you to some high-quality artistic work
helping you relax while enjoying the concert
teaching you something new you had not noticed about your favourite musician before
8. Build Your Own Support Network
Sometimes friends and family members may not be in support of your decision to be a creative.
Not only will they kick against it, but they also won't be in full support. When a situation like that arises, there is a better alternative.
Surround yourself with like-minded creative people. This could be done online or in real world settings including at meet-ups, conferences, co-working spaces, night classes and the like. Individuals found here may become your artistic support network.
They may give you tips, help you keep going during the rough patches and celebrate your achievements with you because they know how much they mean.
9. Never Underestimate the Power of Play
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Another vital factor for creative inspiration is the power of play.
This should never be toiled with. In most cases, being with children is more than enough to bring out that youthful character in you.
Children will inspire you in ways that will surprise you.
Addendum: Tools To Help you Cultivate Your Creative Flow
Different things work for different people. Whichever of the above described steps will work best for you in finding creative inspiration, whether in the end of the day you find it in nature, travel, music, art, people, places, scents or feelings – cultivate it!
Let it permeate your craft. And hold on to it. Let it permeate your craft. And hold on to it.
Books Recommended by Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
To help you cultivate your muse, if you will, we have hand-picked for you a selection of books that come highly-recommended by some of the most creative minds of our time, including Elon Musk (Tesla), Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple).
Also, in addition to these inspiring books, we were looking for an equally inspiring, uplifting and helpful course to help you get into your individual creative flow and then cultivate and grow that inspiration.
Get Into Your Creative Flow Online Course
Literally, what we found is amazing, to say the least: Steven Kotler, a New Times bestselling author and leading expert on high performance built "Get into your creative flow", a series of 32 video-taped classes you can conveniently take online.
11,800 people have taken it before you and found it so helpful that Steven's course features as one of the absolute top rated classes out of creativelive's 1,500+ high-quality and professional content courses. That sounds trust-inspiring.
Why 11,800 people loved it?
Because it speaks right to their heart, as they all in one way or another – whether as entrepreneurs, coders, scientists, artists or writers – have to generate novel ideas and present them to the world on a very regular basis.
An author of 8 books himself, Steven understands the pressures of being a creative: balancing the necessity to be productive with the wish to be innovative; fear creeping in, immediately stifling good ideas; fear of failing getting in the way of finishing projects and presenting outcomes; the perfectionist inside you who always thinks you cannot publish your work just yet, to only name a few.
Steven knows. He actually puts a finger in the wound of many of the most common ailments creatives experience, but also puts a name to some of the more extreme anxieties some experience, demonstrating that he has either been there himself before or knows people who have.
So, good news for you. Whatever blockage you may go through in your creative work, as unique as your situation is, Steven, building on a track record of 80 publications in TIME, New York Times, Wired, Forbes and Atlantic Monthly Review among others, probably knows what you are talking about.
Easy and Effective Techniques to Generate Creative Flow And Be 4x More Productive
And more importantly, he has a plan of how to get you back into the flow: this state in which your productivity levels can skyrocket to 400% of your normal levels.
Course graduates testify to this point, explaining that Steven put in words and graphics a state that many experienced as manic before, also making clear how this state was part of a cycle which to many was an insight they found empowering.
What makes Steven so strong is the combination of flow science, demystification of the creative up and down cycles and most of all the amount of practically relevant, easy-to-replicate techniques for reaching more flow in your creative work.
Absolutely worth the while, you can go through "Get into your creative flow" at your own rhythm, review what resonated most with you or finish it all in one day – as many of his students who got hooked on it do.