Yes, Ideas Flow from Life—And Also from Inspirational Aids

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

― Anaïs Nin

Though she likely wasn’t a multi-tasker in today’s sense, Anaïs Nin recognized the need to get away from her desk for her ideas to flow. Creativity seems to find us when we’re not multi-tasking, and when we’re not at our desks.

But not everyone can escape the office. Ever find yourself trapped at work and in need of some new inspiration? offers 10 tips that are adapted from Ten Ways to Instantly Boost Your Creative IQ by Dennis McCafferty at Baseline Magazine. Big idea # 2? “Try art: Drawing what’s on your mind can help you make sense of it, even if you have no artistic ability.”

You can draw anywhere, especially at your desk. Don’t think of yourself as a sketcher? Then start out thinking of yourself as a doodler. Anyone can doodle. You probably have been doodling ever since grade school. Once you get in the habit of doodling on your legal pad, take it a step further and buy yourself a sweet little journal. There are hundreds of options—from the timeless Moleskin (a novelist’s favorite) to the more endearing creative journals with inspiring quotes (look at the dozens of blank notebooks you’ll find at Barnes & Noble alone).

The Sketchbook Project and its related Journal, which promises “more than 300 ways to fill a page,” connects an entire movement of sketching artists at its website, and you’re guaranteed to find some inspiring ideas there to help you advance from doodling to drawing.

To go beyond doodling and drawing, try the ideas here, from listening to new music, querying others for differing viewpoints, to merely taking a break:

Share some of your methods for getting your best ideas—do they arrive while you’re sitting in your office?

My ideas take shape here: Art + Photo


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