Finding Inspiration in Ordinary Places

Design, How To, Wellbeing

Finding Inspiration in Ordinary Places: How to get out of a creative rut

I have this book called Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal. It’s a journal that asks you the same question on the same day for five years. One of the recent questions it posed to me was “What is your recipe for creativity?” On days when I find myself in a bit of a negativity pit (read: When I’m in a rut!), I would likely find this question impossible to answer. But on this particular day, the moment I looked at the question, I knew the answer immediately. I suppose that’s because I was feeling inspired that day, and I answered thusly: Warm beverages + Time spent in nature + Inspiring friendships + Observation + Absorption = Creativity.

Here’s my my recipe for creativity, in case you were curious.

Warm Beverages

I feel like this is a bit of a “duh” ingredient. Pick your favourite warm beverage. Sip it, ruminate, ideas will come to you. I, personally, really like tea. And matcha lattes.

Making Lemonade Out of Those Lemons

In my personal experience, on “Negativity Pit” days, inspiration doesn’t come easily, if it comes at all. You can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to find you because Negativity Pits can last a hell of a long time. But I find that you can usually course correct a little bit if you are able to produce something meaningful despite a lack of inspiration. In situations like these, I will latch onto whatever is going on in my head, whatever strange, looping thought, no matter what it is, and try to turn it into something else. Try to explain it in a way that might be meaningful to somebody other than me. This often happens in the form of a free-writing session, or a poem, or a journal entry. Just something that will get me creating in a way that comes naturally and easily to me.

Time Spent In Nature

I cannot shut up about how inspiring nature is. I love a nice crisp day out, walking through tall trees, along running water, maybe with somebody to bounce ideas off of, maybe not. I feel most alive when I’m spending time out in the fresh air. Bring a notebook, a pen, a snack, and a giant bottle of water. Be prepared to pee in the woods. (Try not to be alarmed if a mosquito bites you on the bum. #lifelessons)

Inspiring Friendships

In a recent post, I wrote about how you tend to become an amalgamation of the people that you spend the most time with. So pick good people. Spend time with people who encourage you, who love you, who support you. Pick people who are more successful than you and learn from them. Success through osmosis, no? Flock to friends who are smarter than you, even if you find them intimidating. Because they will teach you things and make you even more awesome.

Observation and Absorption

This tip is one that I learned in art school many years ago. Observe the world around you, and gather inspiration from there. People watch. Evesdrop. Read from a wide variety of subjects, writers, and time periods. Read all of the motivational notebook covers at the bookstore. Branch out from the usual genres of music that you listen to. Consider connections. Become that insane detective making yarn diagrams on their walls. Explore these things in a way that is fun and meaningful to you. Creativity isn’t just what’s in your head, it’s what’s outside of it too.

If you have any recommendations based off of how you find inspiration, I would love to hear them. Leave your comments down below.

More later. xxoo

Beautiful Books I’ve Read Recently

Book Review, Design, Monthly Favourites

Beautiful Books I've Read Recently: A Handful of Books to Inspire You

I have had the pleasure of reading a bunch of beautiful books over the last few months. Today, I’ll be sharing a few that I think you’ll enjoy!

1) A Monster Calls

This book BROKE me. A Monster Calls is the illustrated story of a boy coping with his dying, terminally ill mother. I don’t remember the last book that made me cry so much. But in addition to being heartbreaking, it was also incredibly sweet and beautiful. It discussed the topic of grief in a unique way. Jim Kay’s illustrations were lovely, as always. A Monster Calls is a book that will make you want to give your loved ones some big hugs. 

2) Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

I couldn’t help but throw in a couple of the design books I’ve recently enjoyed. Just My Type is an entertaining guide to fonts, interspersed with stories about the history and drama of type. Whether you’re a type nerd or not, this book is a fun and helpful one for any designer’s shelf.

3) Paper Girls Vol. 1

If visual storytelling is your cup of tea, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls is a must-read. It tells the story of a squad of newspaper girls who suddenly find themselves transported from 1998 to a very strange 2016. The art in this series is STUH-NING, coloured in this super cool, muted-sunset sort of palette. Can’t wait for more!

4) How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul (New Expanded Edition)

Yay, another design book! This one has been recommended to me as a must-read for all designers. And having read it, I wholeheartedly agree. How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul is a guidebook for designers of all experience levels. Specifically, Adrian Shaughnessy how to be a designer from a business perspective, using his personal experiences to illustrate his points. I highly recommend this book!

5) The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a crazy beautiful book. It’s a spooky fantasy story, that reads almost like a children’s book, but with a more adult perspective. It’s a really quick read for if you don’t have a ton of time to read for fun. Prepare to be equal parts inspired and creeped out.

Anyway, friends, that’s all I’ve got today — just a quick shortie post for you! More soon. xo

More soon. xxoo

Handlettered hi

I’m Changing

Design, Personal

I’ve found it really challenging to stay active in this space over the last year or so. That isn’t because I don’t care about health and nutrition anymore, because I definitely do. In fact, I’m probably more passionate about my personal food journey at this point in time than I have been since I was actually in nutrition school, and that’s a great feeling. I’ve made some shifts since the warmer weather has started including becoming more actively plant-based since watching Cowspiracy, and embarking on a five-day juice cleanse in the spring which felt amazing.

But I’ve also become pretty invigorated by some other things. For one, I’ve been teaching more yoga classes and have been experiencing some really great shifts as a result including a more regular personal practice, and this really unexpected sense of fulfillment that I haven’t managed to find through any other activity.

But even further away from that, and perhaps even because I’ve been better supporting my personal health is that I’ve begun to feel more creatively inspired, particularly in the realms of design. Over the past year, I’ve been working on learning graphic design through online resources, and books, I’ve been working with an awesome company in North Carolina, and I’ve started putting my portfolio together. 

Anyway, the point of this quick post is just to let you know that as a result of the changes going on in my life, these changes are going to be reflected here on the blog as well. I may still occasionally post about nutrition-related topics, but I’m planning to get more focused on sharing my design learnings and journey. I’m so excited to show you some of the things I’ve been working on. 

More soon! 

Anne xo