“Hey, how do you like the headline? I’m not really sure whether it fits the image. What do you think?”
– No answer. Not a single word. Neither a sigh, a smile or the raise of an eyebrow that I could take as a feedback.
But how could I blame that plant for not responding to me? Have you ever heard one of them commenting on your work?
If so, I’d really like to hear that story!
I sometimes miss those days, when I could just look up from my screen and throw my fresh idea over to a colleague.
The feedback I got in return always moved my work forwards. The discussions that arose, helped me to see things from different angles.
And sometimes, I ended up exploring completely new ways of proceeding with my projects.
We all need some inspiration from time to time. We need those sparks from other people, that challenge our points of view and move our thoughts to another level.
Since I spend a lot of time working on my own as a freelancer now, I started looking for my daily dose of inspiration on the web.
You might not find a direct feedback to your recent thoughts about a project. However, what you find are people releasing those sparks of inspiration that might boost your progress.
These are my personal top 5 sources of online inspiration:
Sometimes, when I get stuck at work, I take a cup of coffee with TED. I might take a look at a video that just got promoted over facebook or I could explore the database to find a talk or an article about a specific topic.
What once had started back in 1984 as a conference for professionals from technology, entertainment and design (= TED), has become a powerful platform for new ideas that are worth spreading. Ideas that spark. And even in case you have no problems with your workflow, TED can be a nice companion for a lunch break, too. Just give it a try and take a quarter of an hour to listen to inspiring people who share their knowledge and passion.
Afterwards I usually jump up and get back to work with the intention to make this world a better place.
I never earned any degree. Neither in marketing and sales, nor in writing or design. For me personally the university was just not the right place to get educated. I learned the very most of my skills on the job, during daily practice. And besides this, I learned the basics about how to use design tools through video courses. Recently I came across Skillshare, a community where experts share their know-how through online classes. It could be design, photography or writing skills you learn or train there. But you can also find business, crafts or culinary courses. I enjoy taking a class from time to time, to learn a new skill that might enhance one of the projects I am working on.
Photography & film are on my list for the upcoming months, so be prepared to see freshly inspired content soon!
Two years from now, I was really bad at design. I knew how to use the Adobe Apps like Illustator, Photoshop & Indesign. But knowing how a tool works, doesn’t mean that you can create something with it. Just like: because you learned how to spell words, does not mean that you can write a novel, right? But since I needed and wanted to improve my design skills, I took some extra time for training. One part was taking video classes to enhance my knowledge of how to use the tools. The other part was learning about design itself by following blogs, such as Adobe Create and the Canva Designschool.
While you probably have heard of Adobe's design software as the "must-have" for any professional art-worker - you might wonder, what Canva is. Well, the online design tool Canva was made to let people create good looking layouts in an intuitive and easy way. It comes with a huge amount of templates as well as with an integrated photo and illustration database. It’s nice for quick and easy stuff like the "inspired" graphic I'll include right here.
However, I personally prefer to work with the powerful Adobe Apps, including all their premium functionalities. But I continue to follow both design blogs of Adobe & Canva on a regular basis, since I feel that they both really spark my work.
Most of the time at work I enjoy the sound of silence. Because silence is a great benefit when I already got sparked with inspiration. All I want then, is to turn that one special idea into reality. Facing hardly any disturbance can lead to a big bunch of things done on those days.
But sometimes I get stuck. There is this empty white sheet of virtual paper on my screen and I have no idea where to start. I feel the time running out and the deadline approaching me. But nothing I come up with, seems to be right. So I grab a pencil and a piece of paper and move over to the kitchen. Maybe the idea hides itself around here and it just doesn’t want to come over to the office?
I ask my leafy fellow on the window board about his opinion. But he’s not very talkative, as I already mentioned.
Then it's time for some music. And I can never thank my husband enough for installing the Spotify app on my smartphone.
I simply explore the lists and pick the one that matches my mood. You might not believe it, but: hidden ideas love music. They just can’t resist it. They have to come out and dance with you! Well, you might have to start dancing first, but trust me: it works!
After all, what still inspires me the most of all, is talking to real people - face to face. I appreciate every single moment spent in conversations about thoughts and ideas. Sometimes I would like to collect the precious sparks from these conversations and carry them with me. The only problem is that it might look a bit odd, when you have dinner with friends and start taking notes...
What’s your favorite source of inspiration? Any recommendations for "Leafy" and me?
And don’t forget to tell me your story about a talking plant - if you know any!