Searching for inspiration and finding procrastination

April 27, 2013

I came to my senses about an hour after my initial search began. I had made my way to a fascinating article about celebrity fashion and siblings of celebrities who are actually better looking than their more famous counterparts.  In the bastardized words of David Byrne, “How did I get here? This is not my internet search, This is not my internet time.”

Looking for Inspiration in All the Wrong Places

It started innocuously enough, and with good intention. I was hungry for a little creative inspiration.

I typed ‘creativity’ into an empty search bar and clicked on a huffington post article about prioritizing creativity.  It was a somewhat dry article about how we need to change our educational system to encourage more creativity in order meet the demands of our new information based economy in the internet age.  Yawn. Not quite what I was looking for in the inspiration department.

Then, whispering “click me click me” on the sidebar under most popular articles, The truth about the 6 inch alien.  Now this could really get my creative juices flowing.

Dissapointingly I find a hyped up story about some skeletal remains that are probably human, but shimmering like a hidden jewel is a link a youtube video for a new movie called Sirius, about the confirmed scientific existence of UFOs. I have to see this, it could change everything.

I start watching and up pops a link to the new trailer for Iron Man 3. I know there’s some creative stuff in that movie. Click.

Beyonce looking waxier than ever…By: Cliff

I’ve officially entered the YouTube vortex at this point, and there’s no coming back. An interview with Robert Downey Jr, then one about how he and James Franco competed for the starring role in some movie, then a link to something about Franco’s brother and here I am. 12 pictures of celebrities with their siblings who may or may not be cuter. Wow, I didn’t know Beyonce had a sister, Beyonce is so much hotter than Solange…..wait, what the hell am I doing?

I went out looking for inspiration and found procrastination.

LOL Cat Scratch Fever

The internet seems to be designed for this. The next mind blowing article is only a click away. Ads bombard the senses. Funny videos about lol cats scratch and claw for what’s left of my subdivided attention.

What an epic and entertaining waste of precious time.

There is inspiration out there online, but it can be difficult and time consuming to sift through the cyber junk in order to find it. After this latest daliance here are a few things I am going to try.

1) Stick to Stories from Google Alerts: I’ve got a filter setup that sends me links to stories about creativity everyday. How about just sticking to those, and not clicking on the tempting eye candy that takes me away from the task at hand.

2) Set A Time Limit:  30 minutes max for searching, if I haven’t been inspired yet or have a definitive direction then it will have to wait for another day. And set a timer so when it’s done it’s done.

3) Disable ads and popups: In firefox I’ve installed an extension called adblock plus – This prevents some inadvertant clicks and gets rid of that clutter that feeds the distraction monster.

4) Bookmark for later with instapaper: If I do find something I’d like to read later, I can just bookmark and skip for now, so that I can keep looking for what I set out to find.

4) Separate Surf Time from Inspiration & Research Time: Surfing can be fun and lead to some interesting finds, but it’s a crapshoot. Setting up some free surfing time for search and discovery can help delegate it to smaller chunks that don’t take away from the task at hand.

5) Go offline! Imagine that? How about finding some inspiration on a walk, or at an antique store, or a record shop, or taking the bus somewhere random and finding out what actually happens in real life.

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Flicking The Switch: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday

April 23, 2013

I’m sitting in a cavernous pizza joint at the edge of suburbia, taking in the sights and sounds. It’s 2:00 on a Friday afternoon and I’ve had the luxury of being off a schedule today. There are a couple of stragglers here, people who started the weekend at noon, as I did shortly after.

The sound system is quite robust, though not overpowering, and the music is some sort of Janis Joplin retrospective. It is running through her older catalog with cover songs interspersed – a sprinkle of Black Keys here and some other blues bands paying homage to the amazing Janis.

What made my ears perk up was a bit of stage banter during a live recording. It was something about the power of music and doing it with your whole heart. It was gone before I could capture it, but found this quote that captured the same spirit:

“If you can get them once, man, get them standing up when they should be sitting down, sweaty when they should be decorous, smile when they should be applauding politely-and I think you sort of switch on their brain, man, so that makes them say: ‘Wait a minute, maybe I can do anything.’ Whoooooo! It’s life. That’s what rock and roll is for, turn that switch on, and man, it can all be.” – Janis Joplin

For me, the switch was turned by tuning into the music, and especially the inspiring words that then made me want to listing. I wasn’t expecting to be turned on here, or looking for it, having lunch in an uninspired location.  But here it was, and it got me to thinking that creative cues, or switches,  are all over the place.

So often I feel like I need to seek out inspiration somehow, go to an art museum or see some amazing musicians play amazing music. But really life happens in between these events, and creativity can spring out at any moment.

I am reminded of the movie American Beauty, where Ricky finds the mundane beauty of a plastic bag dancing in the wind.

YouTube Preview Image

I think the trick is just in opening up to the moment, and seeing that beauty is everywhere. Inspiration can be found on a walk, or a spring snow, even litter on the side of the street. It is not so much about seeking it out as it is about opening up to it.

The switches are always there, but first you have to recognize them, and then turn them on (or let them be turned on), to find the inherent creativity that lies in each moment.

This week I am going to practice opening up to the switches that are everywhere, and seeing if I can flick a couple on.




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