Boost Your Creativity with an Inspiration Board

By Wendy P. Jones

Creativity is a lot like love—if you want it to flourish, it needs your attention.

There are several things I do regularly to deepen my creativity. The most important is that I am disciplined about showing up, even on days when I’m not feeling it. As writer Carl Hiaasen says to aspiring writers: “Put your butt in the chair and keep it there. Write! Don’t dream about writing. Don’t talk about writing. Just write.”

The same thing goes for any creative practice. Suit up. Keep practicing. Eventually, it’ll get easier.

Priming Your Creative Pump

Boost creativity with an inspiration board

Secondly, prime your creative pump. One of the many ways I do this is with an inspiration board, which I keep next to the desk in my studio. Your inspiration board can contain anything that sparks your creativity: inspirational quotes, an index card containing a great line of dialog, a piece of fabric with amazing colors or patterns, photographs, your first dollar earned.

The content of my inspiration board varies because switching things up tends to get my creative juices flowing. Currently, my board contains the following:

  • Some small studies of subjects I want to get right. Right now, my board contains studies of cat’s eyes, of trees reflected in water, and of aerial views of koi.
  • A family photo of my brothers and me with my aunt, who fostered creativity in all of us. I’m about 5 in the photo—a time when I was most myself. Looking at the photo helps me tap into the core of who I am.
  • A note from a friend. This helps me feel connected and remember my value.
  • A plastic viewfinder. I take this pocket-sized tool with me on walks. It helps me see colors more closely and form compositions. In short, it helps me pay better attention to my surroundings.
  • My business card. This is left over from when I first started to paint. I had decided that I wanted to be an artist, so I called myself an artist, and then stepped into it, learning the skills and acting like an artist. When I had a case of imposter syndrome, I looked at the business card to remember my promise to myself. Keeping my word is important to me, so this trick got me back into a good mental space quickly.
  • A bracelet with ocean-toned stones, and a sandy-hued color mixing chart. These color combinations will find their way into a project I’ll paint someday. For the time being, the concept is cooking.
  • Two color palettes that I’m using for a current project. One palette includes my initial color choices; the second shows some of the colors fusing.

I’m always interested in how creatives keep themselves inspired. I’d be honored if you shared your creativity tips below.

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