How to Stop Looking for Creative Inspiration and Trust Yourself

10 August 2018 | by Gina Lucia

I have a confession to make to you all. I’m a recovering creative inspiration seeker.

What does that even mean?

Well, I made it up – obviously – but essentially it’s the addiction to looking for inspiration at the expense of your own original thoughts and ideas.

I have this skill of browsing the internet to seek out reasons to do something. A little boost to get me going, a little poke in the ‘right’ direction. But essentially all I’m doing is procrastinating.

How many times have you browsed Pinterest, pinned something and then straight away went and did the thing? I bet never, unless you’re a total boss, in which case, ooo get you!

like a boss

You see, I get these ideas, these strokes of genius for business, life, and yes Limit Breaker. But instead of sitting down and fleshing out the ideas, I jump immediately into getting ‘creative inspiration‘. It goes like this:

‘Wow, that’s a totally great idea. I wonder what other people have done. I wonder if I can get some inspiration from them.’

And off I go to spend hours on Instagram and Pinterest without actually doing the thing.

stop looking for creative inspiration

To make matters worse, instead of implementing my original idea, I start to create something that has warped into a monster. A mess of a thing that I’ve created by piecing together ‘inspiration’ I’ve found on the internet.

Is nothing sacred any more? Can I not think of anything on my own, do I have any original thoughts?

Of course I do. But I’m supplementing them with the thoughts of others and passing that off as inspiration. You see I’m misusing that word.

What is creative inspiration really?

Inspiration is a sudden thought, a trigger in your brain that comes quickly and gives you the drive to do or feel something.

It’s not a bunch of rectangular images saved to a digital board. Thanks a lot, Pinterest (I’m kidding, I love you really)! Let’s call that research instead – because that’s what it is.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

stop looking for creative inspiration

How to stop searching for creative inspiration

My realisation has lead me to create some mindful barriers to stop me from seeking inspiration online. Specifically, I ask myself the following questions:

  1. How do I get my real inspiration or ideas?
  2. Where am I getting my fake inspiration or ideas?

The answer to the first question took a little exploring and may actually require a little trial and error. Although after a little paying attention to my own mind, I determined that I get my best ideas while outside walking, or sitting on a train or bus.

My answer to the second question made me realise that Pinterest was one of my go-to places to search for ‘inspiration’. That and Google of course. It’s not that these places are bad, but as soon as I’d input the problem I wanted to solve, I immediately cancelled my brain’s capacity for original thought.

From here I put both together. When inspiration hits, or when I need to flesh out an idea, I put my phone away, or step away from my computer. I grab a blank piece of paper and write.

Problem solved. Original thought has returned and behold its wonderful bounty!

Don’t get me wrong, some of my ideas are terrible, but they’re mine and that’s what matters. We’re so consumed by information, social media, ‘influence’ in one form or another, that gaining your own perspective without any of that influence can be bloody hard.

It can be done though. So if you have some burning ideas, don’t let any outside influence in until you’ve explored it fully. You’ll feel more ownership and satisfaction when you know it’s truly yours – trust me!

Featured image by ian dooley

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