Inspiration might be one of the hardest things to come by. Being in a creative rut is the worst and it tends to stick around like the plague, right?
For me, when everything seems out of control in my life, the first thing to go is my inspiration. The littlest of things can make it disappear, but the more things not going great, the longer it stays away. When the inspiration is gone, sometimes I just want to crawl in bed and not move or bang my head against the wall in hopes that some sort of “good” idea will come.
Recently, I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way, but overwhelmed) by things going on. I could feel the inspiration slipping through the cracks. Gone were the ideas and in their place stood lists on lists on lists.
But I realized something. Inspiration doesn’t just happen. (Okay, maybe sometimes it does “just happen,” but not always.) To be inspired, you have to seek inspiration. Hunt it down, search for it. Last week, I was on this inspiration high because I was constantly going after it.
I went for walks. I flipped through old magazines. I scoured Pinterest and Tumblr. I booked more meetings with interesting people. Even going into my favorite stores was inspiring. The inspiration was flowing again and it was great! Still overwhelmed, it wasn’t like my to-do list was suddenly wiped clean, but I wasn’t frustrated by a lack of creativity or ideas.

I listed some of the things I did above, but here are some of my tips for really getting the most out of your inspiration seeking:
Long Walks // I think walks are the best, especially when you free your mind to simply wander. Wandering feet, wandering mind = lots of ideas! Not only are you (constantly) changing your environment, you’re also out and about and getting the blood flowing. For me, fighting that urge to crawl in bed is at least half the battle. I come back to my desk, at the very least, feeling energized and relaxed. I prefer long walks, but even just getting outside for 15 minutes will do the trick! No music though, otherwise I’ll start humming along and focusing on lyrics instead of just letting my mind naturally wander.
Magazines // Pre-Pinterest, old school inspiration here. I love to flip through old magazines and catalogues that I have lying around my apartment. An advertisement or even a creative use of a prop can get the creative juices flowing in an amazing way. Between the colors and the imagery and the fonts and the headlines, there’s bound to be something that sparks and idea or two! If you’ve gone through everything in your house, I always think a trip to the bookstore is in order. (Or, the nail salon… why not kill two birds with one stone there?!)
Pinterest & Tumblr // Sometimes I find keeping up with these platforms to be a little bit too much. It can be overwhelming to just be bombarded by anything and everything all at once. And 99% of the things don’t interest me really at all. However, you can’t deny that there are some great gems on both platforms. Amy and I have been playing these games together every night that I swear have been absolute game changers in how I interact with the two platforms. And it’s simple. (Amy is my inspiration queen!) So… we Gchat each other and whenever we need an extra shot of inspiration (or simply a distraction from something annoying), we play. It’s easy. It starts with a question and then you have to find a picture (or two or three or a million) that answers it. Examples: What decade do you think you should have lived through? or What’s your ideal country, city, and beach homes? It takes a while and lots of hunting to answer the question “perfectly,” but it’s a) really fun and b) an amazing way to pull yourself out of a rut.
Meet With People // When in doubt, grab coffee with someone. It can be someone you admire, an old friend, someone you want to know more, or really anyone. Phones away! Last week, I had my usual meetings which always leave me feeling motivated and excited, but I also had a couple of coffee dates with girl crushes. You never really know where the conversation will go, and that’s the real magic of these meetings! Even if you go in knowing what the “agenda” is or what questions you want to ask, where you end up could be somewhere totally different. I always walk away with my brain spinning with new information and ready to conquer just about anything!
Shopping // I swear this isn’t just an excuse to shop. In fact, I find the most inspiration when I’m not planning on buying anything and simply taking everything in! Store displays, textures, colors, interesting pairings, even just people watching. Touch and feel and imagine. (I tend to go around and put together outfits in my head based on imaginary events. Weird? Possibly.) This is good to keep my mind focused on something, but a something that’s totally un-stressful and carefree!
Where do you get your inspiration? Any tips/strategies for getting out of creative ruts?
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Violet Clouds

I like Pinterest but I love going through magazines, pulling them apart, taking the bits I like and putting them in a scrapbook. I have books going back years and it's a great way to see recurring interests or elements. It could be an entire article or just a particular item that caught my fancy. Plus the act of physically cutting and pasting relaxes me and I'm not stuck with piles of old magazines.

Kim Topolewski

I try and not think about my lack of inspiration, because it'll stress me out and give me even more anxiety. I do similar things, like take a walk or hang out in the Internet but I don't actively search for inspiration. For me it does just happen, and when it does I suck as much of it in as possible. 🙂 Pinterest definitely helps to collect those ideas into one place so I can remember what I was inspired by!

carelessly graceful

Jessica Joyce

To be honest, I don't believe in inspiration…I think it's just an excuse to not work, same thing as "writer's block." I'd never get anything done if I was waiting for inspiration. As you write in this blog post, there are so many places to be inspired by and make work happen. But in the end, whenever I say I have "writer's block" I guess I'm just scared of failing or doubting myself.
What I do believe in, however, is coffee.

Your Friend, Jess

Clare Conway

Hitting the gym – whether it be running a mile or shooting hoops for an hour. I am not a fan of being alone, but having the only noise be the noise in my head which starts to wander and either my feet hitting the treadmill or the basketball bouncing, I am a whole new and focused person after my gym session.

I also enjoy going to church (I am Catholic) and taking something – even if it is just one line- from the homily to carry with me and inspire me the rest of the week.


I've been in an inspiration "rut" for awhile now. I think I'm finally starting to get out of it! I've been working a lot with my photography, buying new candles, and of course, using pinterest! I'm going to start going to my local yoga studio. I think turning off for an hour the crazy life for an hour or so is important!

The Quarter Chronicle




Seeing this photograph on tumblr reminded me of few things.
1) I miss the “old J. Crew” a lot.
2) Winter doesn’t have to mean drab, boring colors
3) The holiday season is perfect for being FESTIVE
Just because J. Crew doesn’t provide such wonderful and visually appealing ads anymore doesn’t mean you can’t put together similar styles now!
Coat, J. Crew
Skirt, Ann Taylor
Cardigan, J. Crew

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I agree! The old JCrew practically defined the holidays for me in previous years. Sigh….


I miss the old J Crew too!! Every time I go in the store I always ask if they'll ever get back their bright colors and they say oh well we have this..and it's an ugly ugly light "pink." I miss it 🙁


Hey Carly, bet there are followers who would like tips on packing bags for travel…particularly the extra pair of shoes everyone wants to throw in. I'm sure you could be opf great help.

The City Boy

i thought i was one of the few who noticed that j. crew has changed over the past year or so…glad to see someone agrees.

I prefer the J. Crew of about 3 years ago…..their window displays have gotten horrible. I often wonder what the visual team is thinking when they dress the manequins


hello Ann Taylor skirt–I want you!

I totally agree though on the J.Crew color scheme…I need some brighter colors in my life! stat!

hope all is well 🙂 xoxo {av}

Penny Prepster

Don't we all miss the "old" J. Crew? I love that color combination you shared. I actually wore a variation of it to my company holiday party and it felt very festive! Check out my OOTD on my blog here.

Relevant Notes Blog

I love the red and yellow – that color combo looks so good, especially with the grey. I just stumbled upon your blog… you had me at the lime green background 🙂 and post-its = love.