My Search for Creative Inspiration

doodle of a wellWriting for a living is a bit like drawing from a well. On good days, I have a steady flow of ideas, stories, and images. I practically drown in all the thoughts pouring out of my brain.

But on bad days, I dig and I dig, but I come up dry. The few drips of imagination that I manage to squeeze out are barely enough to fill a sentence like alone an entire page.

This last week has been a bit dry for me creatively. I had one or two loose ideas floating around, but nothing seemed important enough to be worth the time and effort.

So I decided I needed to have an inspiration night.

What Is an Inspiration Night?

Inspiration night is a bit like priming an old-fashioned pump. I flood myself with artistic images, old buildings, shiny lights, and fresh faces in hopes of finding something to get my creative juices flowing again.

doodle of a sketchpadSome inspiration nights take me to busy city streets while others take me to quiet peaceful museums. I simply get in the car with my adventurous husband, and we go wherever fate may take us.

I usually bring a camera with me so I can look at the world through a different lens, and every once in a while, I take my notebook with me to record some thoughts and sketch what I see.

Where Did I Go This Time?

After an inspirational dinner of pretzel bites and schawarmas, we went to the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo. As soon as I saw the Christmas lights, I knew we had come to the right place.

I wanted to photograph everything, from the tops of the Christmas trees to the window displays.The fire pits made the area feel cozy, snug, and romantic. And despite the night being overcast, the weather was warm enough that I didn’t have to worry about my fingers freezing during the trip.

fire pit

Unfortunately, we came a bit too late in the evening, so many of the stores were either closed or closing. I would have liked to take a peek inside some of the more unique shops, but I still had fun imagining what the stores might have sold.

Did I Find What I Was Looking For?

Inspiration night isn’t about finding the ultimate idea for the next story or blog post. Rather, it’s about finding that creative mindset, that frame of mind where I believe anything or everything could happen. It’s about being open to whatever imaginative daydreams came my way.

Though the shops at Riverwoods were definitely eye candy, I did feel that something was missing for a while. I took lots of photos but I couldn’t quite find an angle or lighting that I truly fell in love with. It was too dark for me to sit down and sketch for a while.

Eventually, Chris and I stopped at one of the last few open shops: the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The first thing I saw as I walked in the store was this adorable sleeping bear:

sleeping bear in santa hat

This cuddly friend looked like he popped right out of a story book, and I could feel the gears in my mind start to turn. Why was he sleeping? Why was he wearing a Santa hat? Does he love chocolate? Would he share his chocolate with me?

Pretty soon these creative thoughts zeroed in on the chocolate. I couldn’t focus on anything creative after that. My one thought centered on whether I should eat the chocolate-covered pecans, the peppermint bark, or the fudge.

peppermint bark and other chocolate

Chris found a chocolate-dipped apple calling his name. And after changing my mind about a hundred times, I finally settled on a chocolate-dipped pretzel.

The staff at the store were super nice and understanding. In fact, they encouraged me to take as many pictures as I wanted. They said if I tagged the store in the picture that I could even pick up a free piece of chocolate later. And of course, I couldn’t say no to that.

As we paid for our tasty snacks, I realized that my muse and source for creative inspiration was standing right in front of me.

Chris holding a chocolate dipped pretzel

Yes. My wonderful husband holding a piece of chocolate. He is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. With his help, I’ve managed to write more than I ever possibly thought I could. And he continues to inspire me to improve and do better.

What Inspires You?

Inspiration comes to everyone in different ways. I seem to thrive on love and chocolate. But do you have any tips and tricks for pulling yourself out of a creative slump or fighting writer’s block? If so, I’d love to hear about them!