If you’re inner muse is working correctly, you’ll find inspiration strikes just when you need it, but if you’re like the rest of us you’ll find that inspiration strikes at the oddest of times.
In this post I take a look at some tools to help manage inspiration: getting it to strike, and making sure it isn’t lost when it does.
Getting Inspiration to Strike
Take a break
One of the best ways to get inspiration to strike it to take break. When you stop trying so hard your mind find the inspiration — it usually does! Go out for a walk or one of the most successful methods is taking a shower.
Look at other peoples work
From books, and magazines, to museums and album covers the sources of inspiration are endless.
Building a Mind Map can be an effective way of finding inspiration.
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. — Wikipedia
There are many free and commercial Mind mapping software applications. FreeMind is a popular open source application, written in Java so you should be able to run it no matter which OS you’re on.
Keeping Inspiration Handy
You’ve worked hard (or maybe you haven’t) and inspiration has finally struck. But just how do make sure you keep a hold of all those great ideas and possible solutions.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Whenever you see something that is inspirational take a quick picture and you’ll have it for when you need it.
Inspiration can strike at any time, and usually does when you’re away from your computer. Keep some paper and pen handy at all times, for recording any ideas as they pop-up. Moleskin notebooks are popular among designers, especially the small squared variety that fit easier into pockets (yes I have one!).
Wridea is a web service first to avoid ideas being forgotten, then to organize and improve those ideas by giving you the opportunity to share your ideas with friends and necessary tools to improve your ideas by yourself and individually.
Sometimes you can’t get to a computer and don’t have anything to write on, or maybe you’re driving and can’t just pull over to write down that latest bit of inspiration. This is where Jott comes in. With a simple phone call you can have your inspiration emailed to you. Jott uses voice recognition to transcribe your message and emails it to the destination of your choice.
Leap / Yep
Leap and Yep are 2 pieces of software that are great for organizing your saved inspiration. Maybe you’ve taken screenshots of website or web page elements that you like to refer too, and you’ve saved these into folders on your hard drive. As you build up your collection finding what you need can become increasingly difficult.
Yep is aimed specifically at finding, organizing and viewing your PDF documents, and Leap for organizing all the the files on your computer.
Leap and Yep make use of tagging to enhance your folder hierarchy to make sure you can that inspiration just when you need it.
How do you manage inspiration? Or do you try not too and let it strike when it wants?