Part One: Finding Inspiration
As part of a four part series in advance of the next thread Bristol, we are writing a collection of articles on why we think creative talks are so important for a sense of togetherness, community and inspiration. The design industry learns a lot from these sort of events, and the feedback we receive from thread talks constantly inspires us to move forward, keep learning and building on some of the great creative work we see around Bristol. In this first installment, we look at the idea of inspiration, and why you have to make time to get out there and find it.
Inspiration rarely comes to you
Anything that means something to you, you’re going to have to go out and get it. At times you’ll have an idea for a project, a design or a piece of work staring you in face, but at other times you’ll have to work hard to go out and find inspiration. That’s part of why creative talks are so important and discussion around the idea of inspiration, what it means, and how to actually put it into use (especially in the context of being creative and making it your career) can be especially useful.
It makes sense not to sit back and relax once ideas and inspiration comes easily, as effective as those ideas might be. Work hard on any given project, but explore other possible opportunities and don’t be afraid to take risks. Another reason creative talks are so important for a sense of community, is that it’s very hard to push yourself on your own without having someone to bounce ideas off. Even if all you get is a cursory nod of approval, that can be enough and leave you with a new sense of vigour, and the idea that what you’re doing isn’t so mad after all.
Build your expertise
Inspiration is far easier to come by if you expand your portfolio of skills, and are able to adapt given ideas to different mediums, for example. Build your expertise in other areas of life, too, and this will make it easier to see how creative adaptations can inspire change. Some of the best products and most useful businesses in today’s world are all about adapting creative ideas to everyday life, and this doesn’t happen unless you grow your skills across a range of mediums, subjects and walks of life. Creative talks and gatherings are excellent for meeting people across a range of different disciplines to chat about emerging trends across many different industries.
Make finding inspiration a habit
In day to day life it’s hard to find time to plan inspiration, and if you’re not open to it, you don’t necessarily register when or if a good idea is worth following or not. Make outside-the-box thinking a habit, challenge your own perceptions and practice this each day. You’ll be in a great position to then talk about your experience at a creative talk, and be in the right headspace to learn from whatever challenging subjects the speakers choose to talk about.
Take some time out to quieten your mind
After weeks on end of doing the same things, staring at your screen and searching for the next great idea, you’ll be too mentally and physically exhausted to appreciate what’s around you enough to be inspired. Take time out to quieten your mind, properly switch off (and that means switch off!) and get a bird’s eye view of where you are, what projects you’re working on and why. Escape to the countryside, go to bed earlier and remove all stimulus for a few days. You’ll return feeling far more creatively inspired and far more willing to attend talks, courses and workshops that can genuinely help you build on your inspiration.
Don’t be afraid of failure, and remember, it’s not the end of the world
At the end of the day, as long as you’ve got a roof over your head and you’re happy with your current life situation, having difficulty finding inspiration isn’t the end of the world, and it’s important to remember that. Don’t rest everything on it, it’s not that important and occasionally it can feel like we take it too seriously. That’s why we love putting on talks like thread - at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of creative people in the same room chatting about what they love. A successful creative business requires a certain amount of experimentation, and therefore failure to some degree. Don’t be worried about this and remember it’s not a negative. As Charles Kettering, inventor of solar energy said: ‘Failure is one of the greatest arts in the world. We fail towards success.’
Use the people around you
This is the last, and perhaps the most important point. One of the reasons thread Bristol inspires us so much is because of the people involved. It’s everyone who buys the tickets to the speakers on the night - surround yourself with people that inspire you and make you happy, and creative freedom will come far easier. We've stuck by this at Fiasco Design, and from everyone we work with to who we hire, we're a strong believer in getting inspired and making sure the fit is right.
Everyone has a story to tell. Meeting people at creative talks helps you get inspired by those stories and the people behind them. It also opens yourself up to ideas from other people that could help your own inspiration for projects further down the line.
Next up in the series, we discuss meeting the right kind of people, and why getting into creative talks opens yourself up to a host of new networks.