The internet can be a daunting place. An endless source of ideas, talent, perfectly lit photographs and images of brides wrapped in overflowing florals and veils. It's a place where everyone is a little bit famous, and ideas are seemingly 'never new'. As awesome as it is to constantly be introduced to beautiful, inventive concepts and glorious artists of every kind, even the most self controlled Creative can get sucked into the deadly washing machine that is the comparison trap...sometimes even unknowingly. Multiple blog posts simultaneously filling your newsfeed showcase "featured on [insert wedding blog here]" boasting gorgeous images. Fashion blogs adorned with the trendiest of graphics that leave to wondering "why didn't I think of that?". And Pinterest, providing hours of delicious eye candy but somehow leaving you battered and bruised all the same. It's nice to step away from the computer monitor and let all the ideas of others unravel, leaving space for something more exciting and new. Opening up the door for true inspiration. If you're feeling a bit lackluster, here are a few of my favorite ways to find inspiration: Engulf yourself in fiction. The ability words on pages have to completely transport you to another place and feel something is incredible. Note eloquently devised paragraphs and pull character stories for future reference. Some of my favorites are The Time Travelers Wife, My Name is Memory + of course, Harry Potter (so magical! Literally!).
Stream a documentary on HBO Go (or Netflix). It doesn't have to be photography related (however HBO's series Witness on current war photographers is captivating), but venture your brain outside the realm of where you live and what you know and dive deep into other cultures. I could watch hours of VICE on HBO (those guys are hilarious and the topics they cover are all completely new to me and eyeopening) and was super inspired by Beyonce's self recorded 'Life is but a dream'. Some other greats are the September Issue, Katy Perry's Part of Me , Love, Marilyn (the way she approached her career had me fascinated), and Marina Abramovic the Artist is Present is killer.
Catch up on reality TV. Hahahaha. No, really! Hear me out! Yes, it is full of drama and typically makes your eyes glaze over sending you into a hypnotic marathoning trance that you just can't. stop. watching...or dvring , however, there are some great reality shows centered around different business models that can be informing and enlightening, sharing perspectives on ideas that are fresh and new. I loveeeeeeeee seeing two talented girls try to make it in the biz on Empire Girls (the Style Network). It's like going behind the scenes on photoshoot via America's Next Top Model, and Rachel Zoe has gone from styling in a garage to a legit office on the Rachel Zoe Project. There are lots of inspiring real life (ish) entrepreneurs on TV and no matter what their profession there is always something to learn from one another. Tune it and take notes! (on the great points, not the cat fights of course....but can we talk about Brandi calling Joyce Jacqueline for a minute...?)
Go shopping (without any actual money). Wander boutiques, window shop, and take in all the fabulous and creative store displays that luxury brands have to offer. Kate Spade is perfect for fun, quirky designs and brilliant color mixing, and Anthropologie's set-ups makes every woman in the world swoon. When you find something you love, take a photo! It could be the crux of your next styled shoot.
Venture Out. Traveling to other countries is a sure fire way to get your creative juices going, however that isn't always feasible, so instead set aside one day to worry to simply travel outside your area. It can be somewhere as close at 15 minutes away. Ride up that side street you've always wondered about. Put your Hunter boots on and trek out into the snowy forest during sunset to finally scope out the light. Set aside a day to ride around, not just to 'location scout' (although that would be great if you found some places), but to simply see what's out there. If you DO find some great locations, Pocket Scout is a fabulous app to document them all.
Explore new mediums (+ the artists behind them): For me, it was picking up film that helped shift my perspective to my heart's desire. But trying out completely new things is a great way to expand your horizons, find confidence within yourself, and learn lessons new lessons to apply to your business and life. Pick up some acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby and go to town, or sign up for a dance class (tahitian, anyone?). You may just make a new friend, too, and that always feel awesome.
Check out performance art: Maybe buy tickets to a band you aren't that familiar with. Head to a museum's opening. Go see the nutcracker for crying out loud! (aheeemmmm, Marshall...). And if none of those things feel up your alley--check out Jay-Z's "Picasso Baby" documentary (also on HBO) and thank me later.
Get lost in an antique store. Walk around a true junk shop and learn to train your creative eye to be able to pick out the diamonds in the rough. It ain't easy, but it's an acquired skill. Honing your eye in the middle of a cluttered vintage shop is like exercising your creativity eyeball. Zeroing in on that one unique piece in a sea of trash that catches your attention is an art form that can help curate your own personal tastes tremendously--and help in more dire situations--like perusing the aisles of TJMAXX. If your creativity eyeball is exhausted from the day, just dig through boxes of vintage photographs and let your imagination run wild.
Pay attention during a movie. I know you're like "why WOULDN'T I pay attention during a movie? But really, pay attention. Analyze the scene transitions. Step back for a minute and note the color rendering of the film (when oh when is that awful cheeto orange and bright blue look going to go away? Wonder what I'm talking about? Watch Transformers + This Means War). Learn to appreciate cinematography and compelling storytelling and explore how it can influence your own work. (the Secret Life of Walter Mitty was pretty awesome for this, and Garden State is always a personal favorite of mine. I hear Wolf on Wallstreet may NOT be so good for this...).
Become a student of the world. I am forever taking notes. I mean forever. I am like Hugh Heffner and have started an encyclopedia-esque collection of moleskin notebooks. I write down every quote, every word I love, every time of day that the light is beautiful, and every other little nugget I can imagine. There is no system, no real rhyme or reason ( I have a notebook for business + life and a notebook for prayers + god...haha, wow...what a symbolic separation there, huh?). When I'm in need of ideas or a boost, I just flip through my notebooks and uncover bits of 'hidden treasures' that once seemed long gone.
In the wise words of Grace Coddington "Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you."
Then, of course, you can use Pinterest to organize it all..... ;) I'd love to hear what you do to get your brain going! xo