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Nourishing Dreams: Finding Inspiration in a Parking Lot

It is said amongst creative types, that if we wait for inspiration to strike we’ll never get anything done. Most artists and writers force themselves to sit down at the easel or computer and throw paint on a palette and words on a page until the inspiration flows. Like most writers, the words just don’t flow for me after a long day at work and the lure of e-mail and Facebook threatens to sap me of what little energy I have left.

In times like these, I turn to the outside world and the unusual bits and pieces of my daily life to get the creative juices flowing. For example, I have a thing for statues. When I was in Munich I made my husband stop in the middle of the bridge while I took a picture of this statue. The woman looks so happy and content and I like to put it on my desktop to keep me inspired.

Another day I was wandering around a nursery and came upon this statue dancing and taking in the rare Pacific NW sun.


When I can’t find a statue to admire, I turn to houses for inspiration. One sunny Saturday morning, I was taking a workshop in Portland and a woman came in all excited because the mansion across the street was for sale. I went to the window and looked at this house and immediately fell in love. After the class, I went outside and took pictures of the house and eventually wrote a poem about all the grand things I would do if I could buy that house. I don’t normally write poems so this was a Big Deal for me and I was pleased with the outcome.

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I take inspiration from my daily commute. I once saw a woman board the train who was wearing shorts (it was 50-degress and raining that day) a jacket and listening to music on a portable CD player. As I snorted at her primitive technology, an opening line from a potential story popped into my head: A woman walks out of 1995 and onto a train in 2011.

While I was writing this blog post, I was chatting with my friend Jaymi about the new Etsy shop she had just opened. She was excited about the possibilities for selling her wares and rattled off ideas like adding more products, creating banners and coming up with a fabulous tag line. Sometimes just talking or chatting with friends about your ideas can get your juices flowing.

I’ve given you just a few of the ways I squeeze water out of rocks when the creative juices just won’t flow. Now I want to know how YOU find inspiration in your daily lives. Do you have a ritual? Do you take a walk in a particular neighborhood? Do you go somewhere inspiring? Drop me a line and let me know. If I get enough responses, I’ll write a series on finding inspiration from the ordinary.


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

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