This post is in collaboration with Tropicana. All thoughts are my own – as usual!
When I was working full time, it seemed I was always bubbling with ideas. Rising at six and running out the door with wet hair and Orla’s fat little hand in tow, I’d sit in my daily commute traffic dictating blog posts to my audio-notes, listing the photographs I’d create when I only had the time.
So when I finally quit to do this full time, I expected my creativity to soar. I saw myself in a little mental montage sequence, typing away in a messy topknot, shooting flowers down rural Yorkshire lanes.
Reality was different. Somehow, without the constraints of time-pressure and the wash of real-life-experience, my inspiration stalled. I’d open up my macbook, bring up a fresh blog post, and stare quietly at the blank white square. My messy updos continued to disappoint in similar ways. Nothing was how I’d imagined it. It was, in fact, a total flounder of imagination. For the first time I had to really think about my inspirations – where I found them, how I could access more. With the luxury of time and flexibility in my mornings now, I introduced a new start to my morning, to wake up that secretive part of my brain that thinks in pictures and nicely balanced sentences.
Step 1: Consume what you want to create.
If you want to write, read more brilliant books. If you want to take beautiful photographs, spend time
looking at beautiful photography. It sounds obvious, but it was a step I started skipping once my time was my own – I threw myself into working and forgot to fuel up. Now, while Orla comes around in a nest of duvet and bed hair, I snuggle next to her and browse through my visual social media. I’m quite specific about what I look at: I only follow Instagram accounts that inspire or encourage me, and tend to focus on photography & lifestyle Pinterest accounts to avoid getting distracted.
Step 2: Dress the part.
Going self-employed gave me the first opportunity in my adult life to not conform. I didn’t have to wear work-appropriate clothing, do my hair, put on makeup or even wear shoes. It was fantastically liberating! A few months down the playsuit-and-topknot route though I began to realise I quite missed some of my old identity. I found it hard to write sassy, energetic content when I was essentially still in pyjamas; I felt more shy about heading out to take photographs in strange places without my glossy exterior shell. Eventually I found a new work wardrobe and style, and a happy middle-ground. Now I always make myself shower and get dressed for a work day – it’s somehow essential to getting inspired for the day ahead.
Step 3: A moment of calm.
My absolute favourite part of my morning routine is when Orla is eating breakfast, and all is quiet. I tend to leave her happy at the kitchen table and sneak off with my small glass of Tropicana Orange juice to perch on the window seat and look out at our beautiful, ever-changing view. There’s just something about taking a moment to soak in all that nature and goodness before diving back into this techno-world that clears my head & reminds me why I started doing all this to begin with! Then Orla will inevitably spill her breakfast or shout for more toast, and the morning chaos resumes.
What do you do to get inspired for the day ahead? I’d love to hear any tips?
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This is not a post about anxious drivers. I am not an anxious driver - if anything I'm really quite a gung-ho driver, convinced (like everyone else) that I'm usually setting a pretty good example [...]