April 16, 2011

Finding your inspiration

April 16, 2011
Like writer's block, sometimes your creativity can go into a slump. Sometimes the creative juices refuse to flow.
What do you do when this happens?

Here's what I do.

I remember back to that first day that I said to myself "You are pretty good at this. You should start a business!"
I think about how I felt, and how I knew I couldn't fail. I had so many ideas that I had written down and so many more waiting to burst out of my brain.
Where did I put that notebook anyway?  Ah, there it is.
Then I look through the pages and remember how much fun it was coming up with ideas and building my projects. Not work, just fun.

Now I remember why I started doing this. It's fun!!

Take a step back and look at the big picture. Money is nice but freedom is countless times better! I love how creating makes me feel free. I love when someone really enjoys and appreciates my designs!

Now that I'm feeling better about myself it is easier to move on to the next part of the creative process: Inspiration!

What inspires you?

I have 2 little boys (soon to be 3!) and they are the most inspiring part of my life. It really shows in my work because, as you can tell, Cantaloupe Corner is chalk full of little boy's designs. Trains, crayons, robots, guitars. . .
So many of my designs are inspired by the things that my boys love or sometimes it is what I see when I look at them. Add that to my more-than-slightly cheesy sense of humor and you get clever sayings and fun designs.
I am also inspired by nature, anything vintage, music, and random everyday stuff.

Think about the things that make you really happy, or really curious, or things that create other strong emotions.
Inspiration comes when you allow those feelings to rise to the surface and you give them direction.

Go for a walk. Take a small note pad with you. Use your senses to touch, see, hear, and smell the world around you. Write down the things that make you feel alive inside.
This is a way to dig deep into yourself and find out who you really are.
Keep this notebook with you in your purse or bag. Look back on your inspirations often and add to them everyday.

-Last night the color of the sunset was so beautiful! I think I want to make something in that esquisite color.
-My kids were acting like they were robots today and their favorite robot line is simply "I am a Robot". I wonder if a 2 year old can do the Robot dance.
- I need to find a good cause to donate some of my time and money too. Who is it and what can I do to help?

The best art comes from that place deep inside your heart. If you are passionate about what you do, people will feel that passion. They can sense it. Don't create what you think the world wants from you. Create what you really are. Each item you create, whether it's t-shirts, sculptures, jewelry, or baby bibs,  should have a little bit of you in it.

When you feel in a slump, look back on all of this inspiration. Often you have great ideas or inspired words that you have written down but haven't done anything with. Get started!

Need a kick in the pants to get you going?
Once you have an inspired creative idea you have roughly 90 seconds to WRITE IT DOWN! If you let this 90 seconds go by and don't take any initiative on your idea it will soon be gone, never to return again. You never know when your million dollar idea will come.

Some of my best t-shirt ideas came to me at 5:00 a.m. I keep a notebook at my bedside so I can write down my favorite ideas as soon as they come.

So even if you are still feeling like you are in a creative pigeon hole, don't fret! Sometimes your brain just needs a break. Soon you will be writing down new, fresh ideas.

But my best advice is to just keep at it. Often a slump can lead to good things! It helps you to look back and see what you have done and look forward to what you will be. Sometimes it leads you in a new direction. Follow your heart and your inspiration and they will never lead you wrong.

P.S. Don't forget to join our Inked Tote Giveaway!
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