Finding Inspiration in a Dry Season

DESIGNKatie DennyComment

As a freelancer and business owner, I’ve been spending the past few years really trying to find balance between creating work for other people and designing for myself. With most of my time spent during the day on client projects, I often find myself left creatively exhausted by night- like the design fuel in my tank is completely empty, and I have nothing left to pour out. When this happens, I often find myself heading to my computer at night, desperately seeking ways to renew my creative energies... only to continue on a hamster wheel of looking at what other people are creating, rather than finding new ways to inspire myself...

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If there's one thing I've learned, it's that "pin"-spiration is not inspiration. To be honest, it's taken me about 3 years to figure that out. Of course, I love Pinterest. But I've found that more often than not, when I look to Pinterest to give me some sort of inspiration, I end up in the same place I started (sometimes hours later), with a blank stare and no real motivation to create something of my own.

That's because Pinterest and all of the magic on the internet is for curating, not creating. It's for collecting work that other people have done in an effort to add value to some aspect of your life. Of course, I've found lots of ways to decorate my gallery walls there (along with plenty of suppers to impress my family with). But for me, I'm interested in the creating part- making something out of nothing- and have been learning how to bring new vision into my life and work I'm making.

When I look away from what other people are doing and into my own experiences and surroundings, I find the most motivation to start planting and cultivating. And that has been the place that has gotten me out of the dry, deserted area in my work.

So, after much seeking and learning, I found a few of the most impactful things that bring me fresh vision and artistic motivation:

1 - Looking at the old to create something new. Old books. Old historic sites. Old architecture... there's so much inspiration to take in from the past. I have been inspired more by old lettering on paint-peeling buildings than I have from any blog on the internet.

2 - Hanging out with other creative-minded people. ...Because when other people are excited about the work they're creating, it encourages you to get excited about making things, too.

3 - Going somewhere out of the ordinary. My husband and I recently moved to a new neighborhood in our city, and we're so much closer to exciting restaurants and amazing parks and little outdoor markets that we've never been to before. With so much left to explore, I decided that this month, it's my goal to make it at least one place a week I haven't been before (of course, not including all the enticing restaurants around us...).

As I'm coming out of a period of feeling like I've been on the hamster wheel- wandering in circles through the wilderness and feeling creatively dry- I'm trying to be more intentional about spending my time enriched in new experiences around me, while also finding inspiration in the things I'm surrounded by that I may have been overlooking all this time. I'm determined to be intentional about getting out of the internet each day and into the richness of the place I'm in at this point in my journey.

...Which reminds me of a quote I recently found in an old journal:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -Marcel Proust

May you go out inspired. ♡