5 Things to Inspire Creativity

There are so many things that inspire me. Some inspire me to work harder, others to play more, and some to be a better person. Inspiration comes in so many forms. Here are five things that inspire me and that can inspire you too:

1. Looking at Photographs — Whenever I look at photographs of people or places I’m unfamiliar with, my creative juices get flowing . Just today, I read this article about National Geographic photo archivist Bill Bonner, saw the first photo, and imagined an entire life for the people captured within it. Then I clicked on the National Geographic Found Tumblr link at the bottom of the article and discovered a ton of  fascinating photos which inspired new story ideas.

2. Great Books and Great Readers — This video of Neil Gaiman’s wonderful reading of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham inspired me. It made me see the book in a new way and hear the words differently than I’ve ever heard them.  His reading reminded me of innocence and fun and hope and excitement, of childhood, and of all the wonder that goes into creating. It inspired me to open my mind to look at my own words (and the words written by others) in new ways.

3. Nature — If I take the time to look around me at the beauty that is outside, I am inspired. The birds taking a bath in a puddle, the bark patterns on trees, the crisp winter air swirling the snow, the sun creating harsh shadows across the sidewalk, the squirrels chasing each other — they all make me stop and look at things differently. One of my greatest experiences was my trip to the Galapagos Islands several years ago– it’s an environment relatively untouched my humans. I saw the wonder of  sea lions giving birth and Frigate birds swooping down and eating newly-hatched turtles. I saw crabs scurrying across sand and rock, and I played in the water with sea lions. I saw magnificent sunrises from atop volcanoes and colorful sunsets from the beach. I hiked through fields and discovered Galapagos tortoises eating grass in their natural environment. From inside lava tubes, I saw the beauty of lava formations. I could go on and on. Nature inspires me to seek new ways of looking at things and to find the excitement in all that is around me.

4. Risk — People who live life to the fullest by going after their dreams and taking the risks needed to get there are an inspiration. It’s my friend’s son who is teaching in another country and who loves to travel and experience all the world has to offer. It’s another friend who worked for years on her debut novel before getting it published and then performed a celebratory dance (with teenagers from a school of performing arts) in front of more than one hundred people at her book launch party (the book takes place in the dance world and is already going into its second printing several weeks after release). It’s the people who every day dare to dream. They are my inspiration to live bigger and to live greater. If we look around and find those who inspire us, it will help us take more risks in our lives, and in our writing.

5. Music — Music creates a world of feeling and wonder. It evokes mood and awakens our senses. If we truly listen to music, it forces us to live in the moment, to experience that time and place for all that it is, and all that it can be. Although I can’t write while listening to music because it distracts me too much, listening to music before I write excites me and helps me immerse myself deeper into the moments of the story.

We all find inspiration in different places. What are some things that inspire you?