The Rules of Inspiration

How good of an designer do you consider yourself? How good of an artist? What about writing? Are you the bee’s knees? The cat’s meow? The end-all, be-all of creative genius?

Whatever your answer, it doesn’t matter. Because whether you realize it or not, there’s someone out there who is better than you. Someone that makes all of your hard work look (or read) like it was created by a total novice. There may even be a whole group of people that create such inspiring works, you’ll want to throw out your computer in total frustration.

Essentially, we all want to become better at what we do. To improve our design, art, and writing skills to a point that we are considered to be at the top of our game. The best of the best, so to speak. In getting there, many individuals will browse the web in search of fuel for our creative ideas.

For example, browse the content on Dribbble long enough, and you may start to feel completely inadequate at what you do. Which leads me to a little something I came up with, called “The Rules of Inspiration”.

This is just a little informal set of rules (more like guidelines, really) for myself that I created to help keep my life as a creative thinker in perspective. Feel free to share, if they work for you.

Too much inspiration is bad for you.

Swimming too deeply in the waters of inspiration can quickly drown you from staying focused on what you are good at. Shut out the incoming signals when you begin to feel overwhelmed.

Variety is the spice of life.

Try to seek out inspiration from as many sources as possible. Don’t expect to make a new kind of pie if you’re picking your fruit from the same tree every day.

Study your history carefully.

Opening your imagination to names like Yves Klein, Dieter Rams, Oskar Barnack, Massimo Vignelli, Louis Armstrong, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Frank Frazetta, Andre Norton and many others will do more good to inspire your illustration, writing, and design than any current trend ever will.

Avoid false inspirations.

It’s too easy to like something because you happen to like who posted it. Or perhaps you may begin to like something because a group of people are all commenting about it. Prepare to judge something purely on it’s own merit. You can either find it inspiring, or you don’t.

Don’t be afraid to inspire yourself.

Occasionally, we create works that we forgot about. Remember to go through your archives once in a while. There may just be an idea hiding in there that was never seen to completion for some reason. Perhaps now is the time to make that idea happen.

Be an inspiration to others.

I may have began this article with the heavy news that you’re not the best. But there’s also a chance that somebody out there looks up to you and what you do. Keep that in mind as you create your work, as a reminder of just one more reason to keep your quality-control meter set to “high”.