Zebras. Pigeons. Football. 3 Tips on Finding Inspiration

Editors Note: Today is Milan’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MILAN!!!! We’re so grateful for you, your life and everything you are.

"3 Tips on Where to Find Inspiration" - bodybinds.com

I love creativity because there is no right or wrong way engage in it. Creativity manifests itself in so many beautiful ways through all kinds of things. River dancing is creative just as a boudoir photo shoot is creative. Pole dancing is creative just as an Amish woman hand sewing a quilt is. Successfully executing a $20/week grocery budget is creative just as hosting a party with a $2500 budget is.

Creativity doesn’t discriminate; it and the inspiration that ignites it can be found anywhere, in everything and in every part of our day to day lives. In a world abundant in stimulation, sometimes we’re still stumped on how to stay inspired or find more to keep us going.

Here are a few tips to help keep it flowing.

1. Look for Inspiration

A common misconception is that inspiration hits you over the head and stays with you forever if you’re a “true artist”.  Let’s be honest. That’s only the reality of some creative and artist types. I feel that they are an exception to the norm. Most of us fall into peaks and valleys when it comes to the inspiration to create and form new ideas. I’ve learned over my creative life that we have to help it along. Constant inspiration for your creativity is a daily and deliberate exercise. Sometimes you have to go out and get it! Not all your songs have to loosely reflect your own personal life’s experiences. Look for other stories, be they frivolous or serious, that you can tell. Travel to a different state or town in your country or visit a different country to gain a different perspective and experience different tastes, sights and sounds.

Go to a park, party/event or museum and people watch. In an indoor or more people focused setting you can create a story about an individual, couple or family that you see or let them represent a theme that inspires something. Talk to new people or people you wouldn’t normally gravitate to.  Older people inspire me a lot and many times share great nuggets of wisdom. Learning more about others and their stories can result in creation.

If you’re in an outdoor setting, like a garden, park or beach, you can animal watch as well. On my safari adventure in South Africa over the summer, I was really inspired by the beautiful zebras I saw in abundance. Their awesome black and white patterned, “daily outfit” reminded that sometimes with personal style that less is more. This reminder inspired me to purge a lot of my wardrobe once I came back. I vowed to have a wardrobe of only items I needed and loved. This resulted in me having less items but more styling options to express myself. Who knew a zebra could inspire all that!

2. Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone

If you’re a ballet dancer or teacher, take a hip hop dance class or a salsa dance class. Learning a different form of dance you’re not familiar with can add new elements to your tool kit. I’m a creative writer and though I love a good fiction novel more than anything, I expose myself to ALL kinds of books and literature for inspiration and new ways to write and express myself. I read hair blogs, cooking blogs, fitness magazines, classic Mark Twain, smutty romance novels, personal finance books, books on femininity and sexuality, biographies, sci-fi books, etc.

Sometimes your inspiration will come from your least favorite things. Most inventions are the result of someone having an experience or  feeling that they didn’t like. They were then inspired to change it or make better. Or take fear for example.  Its one thing to overcome a fear. However, you can also understand a fear more by becoming inspired by it. If you fear bugs, go on a bug collecting excursion with a bug expert. I hate and have an irrational discomfort in being around pigeons. Maybe one day I’ll visit a pigeon coupe to learn more about them and get over it. Key emphasis on “one day” but overcoming that fear could teach me something!

3. Release Your Expectations

Don’t try to tell inspiration how and when it can or should come to you. That bird pooping on you, while running late to work, in the rain could be a spark for something. The key is to be open for ANYTHING to inspire you. It can come from an excursion, someone you don’t like (!) or something that happens during your everyday life. There are no rules. Maybe you begrudgingly went to the football game with your boyfriend to support one of his interests and you got ideas for your next photography project. Be open to pulling/finding inspiration from and in ANYTHING. When we place expectations and limitations on how we can receive it, we can lose out on the opportunity to experience any at all.

Inspiration is a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you’re at the peak, high on tons of it and other times you’re in the bottom of the valley scraping for it. This is normal. The main thing to take away from all of this is that it’s a deliberate and daily exercise. Don’t try to force it, just be open to receive it however it will come to you. Eventually, maybe looking at the cloud patterns in the sky for just five minutes of your morning commute to work will spark an idea that solves a problem you’ve been stumped on for weeks, a winning book title or dress design that sells out in minutes.

Have you ever been inspired in an unconventional manner? Share your experience below.

Milan is a bohemian, new age, Scorpion lady with sophistication and funk. She has a passion for life and adventure and is a glutton for books and all things creative. You can find her at any of your local cultural events, in the park practicing yoga, in the kitchen jamming to A Tribe Called Quest songs while cooking dinner or her blog www.AGrlCanMAC.com talking about life and beauty.