Inspiration. It’s hugely important in my everyday life. It’s the thing that keeps me staring at my computer screens, working on project after project, unapologetically ignoring the rest of the world. It’s also the thing that helps me produce my best work. Unfortunately, inspiration isn’t always that easy to find.
This past weekend, my wife and I went to Six Flags near San Antonio. We rode plenty of rides and ate plenty of good food. It was great (besides all of the roller coasters that jumbled up my head). But that’s not why I’m telling this story.
After the trip, I started to reflect. What was my favorite ride? What was the “best” moment of the day? We had many memorable experiences, but none of them really stood out as something special. Until I thought of it- the one moment that stood out among the rest. We saw a show with live music.
It was your typical show in a theater with a band and several singer/dancers. You probably wouldn’t have thought that it was anything special. But I did. I loved it. There is something special about a group of people doing what they love and expressing themselves. The performers had a look of pure joy in their eyes as they sang for the audience.
I remember leaving the theater feeling inspired. I couldn’t help to think that I wanted to make music or some type of creative project. Maybe a fun short film. Really, I just wanted to do the same for other people that this group of performers did for me. I wanted to inspire and be inspired.
Sometimes finding inspiration can be tough. There are so many distractions online that tend to “dull” us and not inspire us. I have spent way too much of my time watching cute cat videos online instead of watching something useful. I’m not saying it’s wrong to watch cat videos, I just think that they can end up draining me creatively, rather than inspiring me. Yeah, they make me laugh. And yes they are fun to share. But that doesn’t make them a good use of my time.
As a regular human, I love wasting my time on stupid online videos. As a creative professional, I absolutely hate it. It provides no real value for me. Which is why I try really hard to search for inspirational content rather than funny content.
Here are some resources I use to find inspirational content.
Dribbble. If you’re a designer, you have surely heard of dribbble. Fellow designers share their latest work on the platform. Looking at other people’s work is probably the most inspirational thing I do. It gives me ideas of what I could do and motivates me to try new things.
Muzli- This chrome extension shows curated content each time you open a new tab. You can tell the extension what type of content you are interested in. It’s geared towards designers/animators/creatives. I love it because I am constantly opening new tabs. And every time I do, I see interesting work.
Tabs, Tabs, Tabs– At any given moment, I have hundreds of tabs open on my desktop. As I’m writing this article now, I have 31 browser windows open and each one of those has probably around 10 tabs. That’s 310+ sites that are open right now. You might think that is crazy. And it is. But I love it. If I am researching a certain topic, I’ll start a new thread of tabs and keep it open until I’m ready to revisit it. If I’m ever in need of inspiration, I check out some of the articles that I already have open. This system works pretty well, but you have to have a fairly powerful computer to handle so many sites at once.
Pocket– Pocket is a bookmarking system that lets you add tags to pages that you bookmark. I use this in conjunction with all my tabs to save content for later. I have a whole tag dedicated to inspiring content.
There are many ways of finding inspiration. Actually, there are almost too many places to find inspiration. You can get lost among the crazy interwebs, tangled between cat videos and truly good content. It’s hard to filter through the junk. But it’s necessary. I do my best work when I am inspired, so I will continue to pursue the most inspirational content I can find.
Let me know in the comments below what you use to stay inspired. I’m always looking for more content!