We can all agree that the Internet has opened up a whole new realm of inspiration and connection for creatives like you and me. We have instant access to so much content and visual stimulation. It can be a feast for the eyes, propelling you into a world of imagination.


Unfortunately, you’ve probably experienced information overload as well. Inspiration can quickly turn to overwhelm and self-doubt. It’s important to limit your information diet, but of course you want to take advantage of everything available as well. It can be fun to surf your favorite blogs, scroll through Pinterest and leaf through your favorite magazines, but then what do you do? How do you put inspiration to use?

Physically using your print magazines and tactile materials…

I’m a huge fan of print magazines and have a pretty hefty collection on my bookshelf. This year I’ve decided to really put them to use. Yes, they are beautiful and precious, but they would serve me better if I cut them up and used them in my journaling. I can also give specific issues to creative friends when an article would serve them well. Finally, I could also donate books to the library and allow others to gain some inspiration and knowledge. I need to process and pass things on.

Thinking back to 2012, so many books and magazines were kept safely on my bookshelf – collecting dust. So I’m making it a point to go through my physical inspiration stash and use them somehow. This goes for art prints, papers, stationery – all those bits and pieces of inspiring materials we tend to hoard. Stop hoarding, start using!

Using digital and virtual inspiration…

It’s sad to see many print publications disappearing these days, but thankfully a new generation of digital publishing is rising up to take its place. I definitely turn to online magazines and virtual content for inspiration as well. I want to share my list of favorites for visual eye candy, but before you click away, I wanted to talk a bit more about how to put that inspiration to use first.

Although you are looking at something virtual, if it peaks your interest, don’t hesitate to snap a photo or print out a copy to include in your journal. You have to take notes somehow if you are going to put that inspiration to use. I often have my journal beside me, so that I can doodle and jot down notes while perusing around.

To take it a step further, don’t just clip or bookmark the inspiration. For those who use Evernote, it can be too easy to just clip everything and never have time to look back! Think about why you want to stop and record that inspirational spark. I find it best to actually write out my idea as a task or project.

The point is to take in the inspiration, digest it and really think about how you can apply it to your work and life.

It really only takes a few minutes to see something inspiring and then decide that you actually want to start a series of prints in that same color scheme. Or perhaps a certain geometric design you saw will be the starting point of your next line of sewn bag design. Put inspiration to use by taking that tiny step ahead in the process. Eureka – inspiration hit – now what does that mean for you? I guarantee that changing your mindset in this way will help you feel truly inspired and more importantly – productive – at the end of the day. It’s really inspiration time well spent.

Now here’s my list of inspiring publications…

Of course, taking a walk outside and snapping photos can be amazingly inspiring as well. Putting inspiration to use can apply whenever that spark ignites.

I want to add that it’s not about making your recreational time about work – by no means. If you are taking time to recharge then acknowledge that the time is spent for that reason. However, if you are out trolling for inspiration, then make sure you put that inspiration time to use in the end. Looking for inspiration is completely different from recharging your energy!

So what sources do you turn to for inspiration? Have you put that inspiration to use?

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