Creative Challenges: Inspiration

Recently I was facing a few creative challenges in a few units at university, one of them being to do with creative flow. In my imagining reality unit, I was feeling very uninspired and felt an inability to come up with unique ideas. De Bono (2012) says that ‘Without creativity there is only repetition and routine’, and this is something I was fearing in my ideas development as I wanted to be original and do something unique.

Usually, when it comes to brainstorming I always have an initial undeveloped idea in which I begin to develop further in my research however in this instance I had no direction in my ideas and was overwhelmed with many different ideas. This seemed to be the case for a few weeks as even though I was researching I felt like I was getting nowhere. I knew I had a few artists in mind that I was interested in yet I had no sort of direction or narrative to drive my photographic series.

I then learned of a process called ‘Jackdawing’ which is the collation of seemingly useless artefacts such as newpaper clippings, photos, postcards etc that has no immediate connection but you know you were gravitating towards at a certain time (Infinite Ideas 2012). If you continue to add towards it for a couple of weeks and then make a conscious effort to find a connection, you allow themes to float to the surface and become a catalyst for an idea. This is what I began to do, creating an ideas board on ( where I would add pins of photography styles that appealed to me or that I was drawn to, to then go back and find a ‘spark’.

Yet sometimes the best ideas come when you are not even looking for them, and as I was in bed trying to get to sleep one night (after adding a few more pins to my board) I remembered a thought that came into my mind when I was washing the dishes that day. It sparked my interest and I immediately got the urge to start brainstorming.

One thing I have learned through this process is that ideas can come from different means of inspiration just throughout your daily life, not just through research. If you’re constantly looking for them, you will find them as ideas are everywhere.


DE BONO, E., 2012. How To Have Creative Ideas: 62 exercises to develop the mind. Random House

INFINITE IDEAS, 2012. Creative thinking: Mind-flexing, brain-storming, juice-flowing ways to discover your inner genius   Infinite Ideas

YAQUB, A., Imagining Reality Pinterest Board
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One thought on “Creative Challenges: Inspiration

  1. Great insight and love that you get ideas when washing dishes. For me it is usually brushing my teeth. Jackdawing is a great technique, I think I do it naturally and always have facebook groups, evernote and loads of other ways of clipping ideas for projects. Sometimes ideas kick around for years and years until they properly manifest. Great blog!


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