5 Places To Find Inspiration

5 Things

Nothing can be as daunting as staring at a blank word document, willing words to appear and yet being completely stuck. The answer isn’t more time in front of that blank page – you need to find inspiration!

This is a list of what works for me, the places where I find inspiration, online and offline:

1) Real Life: Take a walk, go visit a museum, have a meal in a restaurant you’ve never visited before. The key though, is to go alone and to go with a spirit of openness. Don’t think about your problems, just go to have a good time and think in general. I’ve found that you’re far more likely to hit upon a breakthrough in your thinking if you’re otherwise occupied and not really thinking about the problem at hand.

2) DepthHub: DepthHub is a subreddit on community aggregation site Reddit.com. It is, in the words of the tagline, “A jumping off point for deeply involved Reddits” – in terms of being a timesink and provider of food for thought, DepthHub is probably one of the best places to be. The only issue with it is that because great content is so rare, it doesn’t refresh often. Still, once a week at the very minimum, you’re guaranteed to find some content in there that’s bound to spark something off!

3) Study: It seems counter-intuitive, but it works! Deeply occupying yourself in a textbook that’s unrelated to the subject that you’re trying to gain inspiration on is very helpful, at least for me. I’ve found that studying or doing things that are not related to the area you’re working on – such as practicing painting when you’re trying to work on an engineering problem, or writing a poem when you should be working on code – helps because it stimulates areas of the brain that are not related to your issue. Also, don’t forget that you’re actually gaining new information or skills at the same time, so it’s a win-win situation all around!

4) Meet people: Sometimes you need a muse – someone who sparks off an idea. This actually happened to me, once. I needed to create a brand new interface for an application I was working on, and I just couldn’t get started because whatever I would think of was based on existing, familiar frameworks, and the client very specifically wanted me to come up with something brand new. In frustration, I went out to a friend’s place just to take my mind off the subject and ended up spending a few hours there. Which was amazing, because I met another friend of his, a commercial pilot, who had just finished some simulator time. Listening to his experiences gave me an idea for a starting point – and while the finished app had nothing to do with flight simulators or flying, that starting point was all I needed. While it may not be as straightforward as this experience, there’s no doubt that conversations with others, even if they’re not about your problem, can help immensely.

5) Work Out: Exercise is good for the body AND the brain! Getting those endorphins rolling around in your skull will lead to an increased sense of well being and all that oxygen pumping through your lungs into your brain will lead to ideas popping around like crazy!

Do you have any surefire methods to get inspired? Leave a comment and let me know!