What Inspires You? Win a Limited Edition Print to Spark Your Creativity

Print of the words Sing in me, Muse, in gold on dark background

EDIT: The competition is now closed for entries. Mike will choose the winners and we’ll announce them here on the blog shortly.

OK the holiday season is upon us, so it’s time for some fun. 🙂

Designer and Lateral Action writer Mike Kammerling has kindly created a limited edition of five inspirational prints for Lateral Action readers, which we’re giving away on the blog – so read on for details of how to win one.

The prints feature Mike’s treatment of the opening words of Homer’s Odyssey, as the poet appeals to the Muse for inspiration:

Sing in me, Muse

Whether or not you take the idea of the Muse literally, I think we can all relate to the experience of a certain indefinable something – call it inspiration, the unconscious mind, the creative zone, or whatever – that takes over at certain times and touches our creative work with a little unexpected magic.

As a poet myself, I love Mike’s choice of subject and his treatment of the text. And we’ve debated the idea of the Muse on more than one occasion here on Lateral Action, so I was delighted when he approached me with the idea of giving the prints away on the blog.

For the competition, Mike has created an extremely limited edition of five copies of the print, featuring the name ‘Lateral Action’ as well as ‘Tinder and Sparks’ (Mike’s own brand), and printed on luxurious reflective gold card.

Detail of print, showing the names Tinder and Sparks and Lateral Action

For more detailed shots of the print, visit this page of Mike’s site.

For a chance of winning one of these prints, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us what inspires your creativity.

We’ll leave the comments open for one week, and after that Mike will chose the five winners. (And he’s kindly volunteered to ship these to wherever you live in the world.)

Close-up of the printHere’s Mike explaining why he chose these words:

I was reading the posts about Muses on Lateral Action and, drunk on the words, the first line of Homer’s Odyssey came to me. I remember thinking it would make a rather good print, and sat on the idea for a while until it worked its way into a style of its own.

So I thought I would give something back by giving some prints away, since I really owe its existence to this blog. And, of course, my own Muse.

If you’d like one of Mike’s prints to hang on your wall to remind you of that little spark of inspiration we’re all seeking, leave a comment below telling us what inspires you.

Comments will be open until the end of next Monday 12 December. After that Mike will choose the winners, who will be announced here on Lateral Action.

It could be a person, a place, a time of day, a mood, a piece of music or an artwork. It could be something sophisticated and artistic – or something as down-to-earth as the need to pay next month’s bills.

Don’t worry if it’s not something lofty and Romantic – Mike tells me he’s interested in hearing about what really inspires you, however magical OR mundane!

Thanks to Mike for such a generous gift, and good luck with your entries!

About the Artist: Mike Kammerling is a graphic designer, blogger and wide-eyed boy, whose mission at Tinder + Sparks Design is to make business beautiful. You can find more musings on design and creativity at his design blog and on Twitter.

How to get creative work done in an "always on" world

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Mark McGuinness' latest book Productivity for Creative People is a is a collection of insights, tips, and techniques to help you carve out time for your most important work – amid the demands and distractions of 21st century life.

“Of all the writers I know, I have learned the most about how to be a productive creative person from Mark. His tips are always realistic, accessible, and sticky. It’s not just talk, this is productivity advice that will change your life.”

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  1. Blissfully simple….a can of Irn Bru in the afternoon.

    There’s nothing quite like some Scottish chemicals to get your brain buzzing!

  2. Jason Newland says:

    I know it sounds a bit corny, but my children give me inspriation. They see the world how it should be, to live life and have fun without complications. They also treat everyone as equals.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Beauty and angst both inspire me, but they come out in different forms. I guess that’s the great advantage to being creative. Without my creativity, how would I get out what is inside of me?

  4. Easily my son (2 years old). Looking at him, listening to him…his naturally pure inquisitiveness of all things. His seeking for understanding and knowledge, a hunger never ends. He inspires me!

  5. I love that quote! What deeply inspires me is when people really dare to let their inner beauty shine through and offer to the world all they have to give or share.

  6. Deadlines!

    And frustration with how things are.

  7. Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

    Mostly what inspires is my inner irrepressible urge to ask myself ‘Can this be done differently? Why only this way?’ Invariably I end up with something novel that not only pleases me but also delights others who see, hear my creation. Most recent two examples : 1 – Two college students were moved to rescue a half-naked, homeless mentally ill lady, took her home, bathed and fed her. That was the beginning of The Banyan, which shelters wandering mentally ill women. In my introduction of one of its founders I said, “The woman whom you first rescued would have been grateful to the Mother Teresa in her teen and jeens!” 2 – Vote of thanks at the end of an event is something the audience gets impatient about and readies itself to vacate the seats. So last time I said, “Members of the audience came for the function leaving everything else and participated so encouragingly. As we believe ‘athiti devo bhava (meaning, a guest is like god)’ why not we start every event by thanking them and gently whispered into the mic, “so that they dont have to reach for the car keys or the cellphone when it is turn for a vote of thanks!”- Gurudatt, Pune, India

  8. Rumi

  9. Sam Ciccarello says:

    Mark, what gives me inspiration is that I have an enormous number of opportunities on my plate.

    I can open as many e-commerce sites In English that I want in Italy and barely worry about competition (at the time of writing I have four with a dozen more on the way).

    Why? Because the Italians are not keen on fully learning ANY foreign language, in particular, English, and they’re just starting to discover shopping on the web (after all, Amazon.it just opened a few months ago and it’s off to a slow start) Also, many Italian companies don’t believe in e-commerce. So, I take their products and retail sell them.

    I’ve been living here since 2000. Sure the learning curve in starting an e-commerce was incredibly difficult. But I’ve so called graduated. Yes, I’ll always be 1-2 steps behind to what e-commerce is like in the USA…but I’ll always be 10 steps ahead in Italy.

    BTW, thanks for writing “Freedom, Money and Time”, mate!

    Cheers and have a happy and healthy Holiday Season!

  10. Witnessing and participating in acts of generosity, community, and kindness toward strangers.

  11. Music. Not one moment of inspiration is lost when I’m nestled in a great playlist! =)

  12. Mark and Mike –

    What a great idea.

    To inspire good writing, I like going to the American Wing Cafe http://bit.ly/tz5mww at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where beautiful sculpture, woodwork, and windows abound. They feel like muses to me as I work, as does knowing that the rest of the museum’s collection and exhibits are there as well.

    The word “muse” reminds me of a word that’s new to me: “meme.” I stumbled across it in Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s book The Evolved Self. There, he defines the word as “any pattern of matter or information produced by an act of human intentionality.” Thus, he explains, “a brick is a meme, and so is Mozart’s Requiem.”

    Memes, like muses, transform the consciousness of those who come into contact with them. So, once we create something and put it out there, it becomes a part of others and the things they create.

    My interpretation of this idea is that as we create, we ourselves become muses. Which in itself is very inspiring.


  13. What a wonderful holiday gift from both of you! And Mike, I love the colors and swirls, the way they pull you into a labyrinth, as we search for our muse in the words.

    What inspires my writing?

    When I was a kid, it was my own need to learn how to become a hero, someone strong enough to change the world for the better.

    After my pediatric internship when one of my fellow interns was brutally murdered, writing became my way to understand my grief and control the chaos around me. That’s when I wrote my first thriller, BORROWED TIME, and I dedicated it to Jeff’s memory.

    Much of my fiction since then has been inspired by my patients and their families. Ordinary people facing tragedy with courage and grace, proving that heroes are indeed born everyday.

    I still search for order in the chaos–after practicing pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics for seventeen years, that will never change. But now, after having sold hundreds of thousands of books and receiving fan letters from all over the world, I have another inspiration: my readers.

    I treasure each fan letter as much as the very first one. There have been people facing the pain of chronic illnesses who have been able to make it through the night because of my books. Fellow medical personnel, EMS, firefighters, and police officers have written, thanking me for the way I “tell it like it really is.” And readers who simply needed an escape from their lives have found refuge in my words.

    Honestly, no matter how much money or which bestseller lists I hit, I can’t imagine any feeling as wonderful as the feeling I get when I hear from readers who have fallen in love with my books. It’s an adrenalin rush that fuels my writing and inspires me everyday!

    Happy Holidays to everyone here at Lateral Action!

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      CJ, you definitely are one of the winners of this contest! Wonderful social service and enjoying it too. Thats great. Keep growing and be happy!

  14. Thanks everyone for the great replies (and festive wishes) I’m enjoying these… keep them coming!

  15. My inspiration comes mostly from the area in which I live: Along the Salish Sea in Cascadia. It is an area rich in art history and wilderness beauty.
    I also find that my art buddies inspire me on a regular basis. I enjoy seeing their work and talking the art thing up.
    Of course, a good exhibition at one of the museums or galleries is always an inspiration, as well.

  16. I am inspired by seeing the amazing things other people create. Every time I see someone else’s creative work, I get the itch to start up on my own work to see where I can take it. And if I’m feeling writer’s block (or its lesser known cousin, dancer’s block), all I have to do is read someone’s story, or watch another dancer!

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      I too do this most of the time. With guidance from Mark’s LA I have been able to enhance my ability to identify creativity in most of what others do and so I dont any opportunity of interacting with such creatives. Thanks Erica for reminding of this source of inspiration.

  17. A great movie or a wonderful song or piece of music – I think “I couldn’t create either of those, but I can write, and I can strive to make something just as amazing.” That initial response feeds my own desire to create the best I can.

  18. Jason Collier says:

    Inspiration for me comes from seeing the beauty in the simplistic aspects of everyday life, culture, and geography… a simple landscape, a park bench, a unique song, a couple “in love”. I think anything that has great depth but on the surface appears to be simple inspires my creative juices to bubble over.

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      I couldnt agree more with you on this. If you see my photographs on deviantART (inspired by Mark, of course) you will understand how my concepts resonate with yours.

  19. I’m inspired by all types of things, anything really that captivates my attention. Luckily, I don’t struggle with ADD. I’m also inspired by opportunities to communicate something important to me when deception has been uncovered.

  20. A beautiful print AND quote!
    What inspires me is the freedom from expectations. It’s a little more than curiosity with the space to explore without worry of failure or ‘wrongness’. Plus colour is an inspiration.
    I find I paint best when I begin with some freedom from closed expectations and allowed to explore a compelling path to just to see what happens. I still expect excellence and professionalism but when I try to see the end before the journey, or force a direction, it never ends well.

  21. Fantastic!

    I rely on a sense of serendipity and re-interpretation of what I find in real life… it’s an organic approach, but it works!

  22. My dance partner and I togther create moves and variations in Modern Jive that can only come from synergy and a HUGE dollop of creative flow. Together we allow each others mistakes to become next weeks class. This type of creative partnership in dance is rare. or at least has been so in my long dance life.

  23. Reading. Historical research. Gathering the threads of history to weave into a new story.

    And, well, musing…

    (Thank you for this.)

  24. “immersing in Natures sighs, book ended by man-made uglies”

  25. My most inspired ideas come while I’m walking outside -usually with my energetic pooch! The combination of fresh air, deep breathing and visual beauty erase my stress and let my creative juices flow.

  26. I’m really inspired by old letters or postcards, by fading signs on buildings, by thorough research, by double meanings in language, by water colors and ink drawings.

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      Yes, Julia, I too have sometimes been inspired by these. Thanks for reminding!

  27. nature really inspires me, the way light plays over things, or how fog adds shapes to air…
    I find inspiration in so many places, in just remembering to look at things differently, to take something out of context!

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      Becky, your second statement is THE source of inspiration for me most of the times. Not to lose those sparks of inspiration I always carry with me a pen and stapled pocket-size papers to scribble at least the key words if I am traveling. So my wife doesnt throw any bits of paper without first checking with me – such an understanding soulmate!

  28. I know this is odd because it also frightens me but I’m inspired by a crisp, good quality blank page, especially if it is in a notebook and even more if I think it would be good to write on with my fountain pen. When ever I see one of these I want to own it and do something with it. They call to me. I have too many. Trouble is, it’s also scary.

  29. Things that inspire me:
    The grey sea and its smells, the wet wind as it blows
    The dark of night turning into orange-pink day
    The sound of the first birds as I finish a sentence
    The smile on your face when I finally come home

    A handshake, a taste
    A shiver and drops of sweat
    Nature when it’s dying or in full bloom
    I have no religion but miracles do happen

    Every day

  30. Stunning prints Mike, Mark, I hope your competition goes well.

    What inspires me is the detail in something.
    You go to a church and you look up and a mason has carved an ornate rose in stone, it must have taken ages. The petals, the leaves, if it was painted I would want to touch is. the detail is what inspires me to think about the mason who died 400 years ago, what his name was, and is anyone of his descendants sitting in the pews looking up and seeing his mastery?

    When on the motorway and you see someone animatedly singing to the radio… what are they singing, why are they singing, are they getting joy from it?

    And as I look at the ordinary things, I take a closer look at the details and find inspiration in their (my) imagined story

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      Sarah, I too was enveloped by the strange feeling of anonimity of the great artisans whenever I visited old monuments, temples and churches in India.

  31. Inspiration comes from realization;
    The realization that being me is unique
    Recognizing my faults and realizing they make me me
    Realizing that yes life can be better, but it can always be worse – being thankful for what I have
    Finding inner peace through outward exhibitions of friendship
    The ability to breathe life into fictional characters in my books and short stories
    Taking love to the next level by giving more than you get
    Looking back after falling down emotionally to realize just how strong I really am

  32. The best painting I ever painted is of my Wife Caherine and she would never let me sell it. It hangs in my studio and everyday I paint I look at my wife’s face inspiring me to try and create better works.

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      I really admire that ever lasting bonding and, Ryan, for so many others reading your sharing itself can be a source of inspiration for their creative pursuits! Thanks for sharing.

  33. People inspire me.

    Children, Old, Young, poor, rich, school-going, college-going, university-going: all are very special. How many of us have wondered why we lost our curiosity of learning and knowing things like when we had the same during our childhood.

  34. Memories of the sounds and smells of the sea through my bedroom window.

    Memories of my 4 adult children who haven’t spoken to me since I left that window behind.

    The immeasurable love of the little girl whose answer, every single morning, to “How are you?” is “Happy!” and the unshakable faith of her mother, sitting next to me as I write this.

    And the burning visceral ache to show everyone who doesn’t see it yet the the world is beautiful beyond comprehension, and that the sky is blue blue blue and the sun is shining gold, even when the grey clouds hide them for a while.

  35. I’m inspired by simple acts of kindness, courage and determination.

    These simple acts inspire me because it comes from the purest place — commitment to doing the right thing.

    From the Occupy Movement, to One Million Acts of Kindness to Jonah Mowry’s video about what it’s like to be bullied, all of these make me want to create great things that make a difference.

  36. Inspired by so many things, but probably the quirkiest is looking at trees–all kinds; in all seasons; in sun, snow, or purple shadow; evergreen, or bare and bonelike, or with just one rag of a leaf waving in the breeze; trees all together in layers on a hillside, or one majestic giant, standing alone. I could go on but . . .

  37. Prerna Dusija says:

    I derive my biggest inspiration from Love.

    Only love for ones work fuels creativity, can keep one constantly in an elevated state, as well as motivated. Coincidentally, my name ‘Prerna’ means just that – Inspiration.

    It took me a while to understand the secret of doing anything successfully; is to be inspired all the time. Greenery, a good book, your blog and your course (no flattery, it really cheers me up), a casual sms from someone wishing you a good day can all make one fall in love with life every single day. It is that love that lets one do the things one deeply cares about and allows one to see the world through the lens of positivity and optimism.

    If I don’t wake up everyday feeling grateful and knowing how much I love my life I know I wont feel inspired. The ‘can do’ element (which often drives one to succeed at work) comes when one is fuelled with passion and determination. If I don’t love it, I can’t do it.

  38. Long walks with my dog. He really is my best friend; always up and at ’em and always—always!—up for walkies! Of course what he doesn’t realise is that in blowing away the cobwebs in the fresh air and surrounding ourselves with the natural world I’m letting inspiration in, too. Good boy!

  39. The sky inspires me – I like to go where I can see a big beautiful open sky. Even better is to see that sky at the beach, where a walk along the seashore while the tide comes and goes takes the busy-ness out of my mind, leaving space for ideas.

  40. I am inspired when I have a whole day ahead of me and I get in my room with my stuff all around me and cabinets of supplies, a computer and music! Just sitting at my art table and knowing I have the gift of time gets me going. Once I start, I just don’t want to stop for anything!

  41. What inspires me most is the fact that everyday I’m blessed with the opportunity to bless humanity with the unique gift of creativity that I’m blessed with.

    Also, as Paula Scher said, “I have a pile of stuff in my brain, a pile of stuff from all the books I’ve read and all the movies I’ve seen. Every piece of artwork I’ve ever looked at. It’s all in there. It’s all on one side of the brain. And on the other side of the brain is a specific [job for a client]. And if you pull the handle on the slot machine, they sort of run around in a circle and what you hope is that those three cherries line up, and the cash comes out.”

  42. I was browsing my emails on my iPhone today while waiting in my car for someone when a young man approached me. He literally begged me for a job. He is from the northern parts of our country and moved down to the economic hub of Johannesburg hoping to find his luck here He now realises that he cannot find employment in these harsh economic climate and desperately need a job so he can save enough to go home. As he spoke to me, his voice echoes a deep and sincere cry for help.

    People like him needs someone to take them by the hand and show them how to fish.

    I am in the final stages of a self-help book which teaches the people in my country in laymen’s terms how to promote their businesses on the Internet. We have people with amazing talent, but have very little training in business skills.

    Today, I handed this guy a couple of coins , but I hope to give him a copy of my book next time we meet. After all, its people like him that inspired me to write it in the first place.

  43. My daughter inspires me. She thinks I’m smart. She thinks I can do everything from fishing a bottle cap out of the bathroom drain to finishing a 5K run. She inspires me to try harder, to be better, to be worthy of all the confidence she has in me.

  44. Kelly Hendrickson says:

    Wow! I think it would be easier to list what DOESN’T inspire me! Except right off hand I can’t think of anything. Everything inspires me at different times – nature, emotions, people, songs, sayings, etc. If pressed to narrow it down….one recurring thing that inspires me is texture and perspective. Looking at a common object really really closely, tree bark, tire tracks. Common things can take on an amazing new life when viewed differently. Kinda like life, huh? My 4 year old granddaughter is like that…I LOVE seeing the world again through the eyes of a child. SO inspiring. Oh and my studio inspires me. Can’t get it really cleaned up because I invaribly come across a bit or snippet of something and start wondering: “What would happen if….” Well, there goes the cleaning project and I’m off and running on another creative adventure. And I’ve begun to realize I’m an artist all the time – 24/7. There is not a time I’m wondering how to interpret something around me into my art. And it is a truly wonderful discovery lifestyle!! Wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

  45. Kelly Hendrickson says:

    ummmmmm should have been “There is not a time I’m NOT wondering how to interpret something…” Sheesh where is the edit button when you really need it? LOL

  46. Hi Mike! My mom inspires me to work hard and be grateful for all the blessings in my life; Nick Vujicic (who heads up the Life Without Limbs nonprofit) inspires me to always persevere and help others despite what obstacles I encounter in my own life; and the Yanko Design and Core77 websites get my creative juices flowing.

  47. I´ve come to believe that the greatest source for inspiration is seeing others grow with me.

    -> We do video projects with a team of volunteers and the cool thing to see is that these team members have started to initiate their own creative projects on times when I´m to busy with my work. As if they have come alive.

    Another source of inspiration is taking action – bringing a piece of your dream into today.

    -> For example I dreamt of becoming a storyteller, but I didn´t have stories of my own. I picked up a bunch of books, selected the best stories, recorded them with a microphone and uploaded them into a blog. Now I´m a better storyteller and a lot of readers grab some inspiration from the blog. And I even didn´t have to grow old to start doing it 🙂

    Third source of inspiration is speaking – i come alive while speaking in public or having conversations. Now that´s the reason why I will stop now, because writing is not so inspiring as speaking 🙂

  48. New things- things that I don’t fully understand yet. Whether it’s a new genre of music, a new friend, or a place I’ve never seen the likes of before, these are what inspire me the most.

  49. I love to read an epic adventure where an average person is called upon to do extraordinary deeds.Even if it’s fiction, I find inspiration in the fact that such heroism came from someone’s imagination.

    And these types of stories are found throughout history. It makes me feel connected to the human race to know that we all possess the seeds of greatness in our hearts and minds – that we’re capable of more than we realize.

    These books and stories remind me to reach for more, to do more, to be more – for myself, for my family, and for the world.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share.

  50. What inspires me is my ideal routine.

    Wake up early
    Drink Coffee
    Play around online for 30 minutes (maybe more!)

    Predictable? Yes. Boring? Never.

    I get my best work done when I am able to keep a routine like this going…

  51. Hi Mark and Mike,

    Happy Holidays to everyone! And, thanks for holding the contest. It’s a beautiful print!!

    I find I’m most inspired when I’m really focused and concentrating on my work. As I work on my ongoing projects I’m literally buffeted with fresh ideas for everything I do.

    I started building my website about Jazz Studies a few months ago. It started slowly, and I only had a few ideas about what I wanted to do and write about. I started keeping notes on my computer, basically a “to-do” list of ideas I wanted to work on for the site.

    Well, as I worked, the list got longer, more involved and a lot more detailed. I wrote my mission statement, and meta descriptions for the site. Article topics, and subjects I want to teach about. Information products I want to create. It now includes ideas for supplemental websites I want to build to compliment the original, and I’ve made similar lists for each of those projects.

    The important thing is its really a work in progress. I stay connected to the list by checking off the items already on it; which keeps me working. And, I add more items to the list as I work. It’s like a perpetual motion inspiration machine.

    I find I look forward to writing blog posts, and information articles which always intimidated me before. Not only for the joy of writing and sharing, but also for the ideas I’ll get from working on it.

    Thanks so much for Lateral Action, and giving us this forum to share in. I enjoyed reading about the inspirations of others, and I hope my experiences will help others as well.

    Once again, Happy Holidays to All! I hope you all stay safe and enjoy time with family and friends!

    Best Regards,
    Jonathan Martin

  52. the limitless capabilities of us, that’s what is inspirational. for me

  53. Slade Powell says:

    My inspiration comes from a quiet place inside me. If I settle my mind a bit, I can feel this big cavernous space inside my chest that’s not empty, but filled with silence. It’s calming and centering and puts my whole project in perspective, which makes it so simple to get moving on it.

    The prints are beautiful, Mike. Thanks.

  54. There is nothing that inspires me more than hearing someone else say, “I’m so inspired right now!” Seeing other people get fired up, motivates me like nothing else!!!

  55. I have no idea where my inspiration comes from- sometimes it is like a bolt of lightening- it just appears. It could be in the middle of the night when I lie awake, or as I am talking to someone! It can come when I am doing something mundane, or as I am creating new works. When I am hanging out for some new inspiration, I paint something small and intricate in the meantime (never stopping the creative process), my inspiration appears in the space.

  56. There’s a little prayer I love that is my inspiration:
    “Every day is the prayer. An authentic life is the most sincere form of worship. Believe this, and all things really are possible.”
    This gives me hope and faith, too.
    Best to all,

  57. That print in itself is pretty inspiring… as are the words on it.

    What really inspires me however is my fiance. She’s a ballet dancer and a psychologist… wicked combination.
    When she dances you can literally see the emotions and feelings being expressed with her body, through her movements, through the way she smiles or looks out through the crowd. It’s also immensely interesting to speak to her, because she has so much information stored and such a capacity to interpret it and link it into complex ideas that my mind simply has to work at it’s maximum capacity or else I get left behind.

    I really like a lot of the comments people left on here. It’s a really inspiring to know that so many people open their minds to opportunity.

    All the best!


  58. I am inspired by the creation of life. Both the gestation period and giving birth are powerful metaphors in understanding creativity. I cried tears of exhilaration, amazement and humility when I held my children for the very first time. The waves of emotion inspired a book proposal that I intend to submit, one day.

  59. Great post, I hope I win.

    I’m inspired by my kids to be a good father.
    I’m inspired to taking care of business in order to live a guilt free life
    I’m inspired by running cause it makes me tired and feel good

    thank you

  60. Hey everyone!
    I just came across this interesting challenge today. The first reaction was to go to the bottom of the page and post my thoughts. But then I realized that too many and random things inspire me so I almost gave up on participating.
    But then it instantly hit me – both figuratively and literally – as I realized that one of the most inspirational places and moments for me (as it provides break-through ideas whenever I’m stuck in a project, or generates more pure&powerful solutions when the flow of ideas is already good) is when I am sitting on the toilet. 🙂 So, there you have it. My place of absolute inspiration in its most purest form. (I did not transform this into a technique or a method, but I embrace the gift whenever the “the calling” happens during a creative process.)

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      Hey, Daniel. I like your ‘daring to share!’ At this rate you would need a designer washroom, fully equipped with a laptop, paints, brushes and canvas, guitar, drums, casino-keyboard what not! To respond to intensive and sustained creative urge one would be better off with either constipation or diarrhoea, I suppose!

  61. Color. Lots of bright, bold color. Plus music. And my cats and husband. Everything important.

  62. Inspiration definitely comes in mood form for me. It is an energetic enthusiasm and pure joy branching off of love.

  63. Beautiful women! 🙂
    And handsom guys! (if i were somebody that i am not)

  64. Hi Mark,

    I’ve been inspired very much by Blake Mycoski since I read his book:



    A sort of young Richard Branson, obviously a less glamour start but much more meaningful !!

  65. Anyway, one thing is to be inspired by an enlighted businessman, another thing is to transform your dreams in reality! But it needs to give you a positive further boost to keep on moving, doing, thinking and so on!!

    Ciao, greetings from Italy!


  66. At the Edge

    I am at my best at the edge
    A place of challenge and creativity, curiosity and change
    A place both attractive and scary.
    A place between past and future, pregnant with possibility

    I am at my best at the edge
    At the edge I can see all kinds of things I can’t see from the middle – glimpses of journeys that I might take.

    My dictionary defines the edge as:

     a rim or brink
     the point at which something is likely to begin
     the area or part away from the middle
     a margin of superiority; an advantage
     a provocative or discomforting quality

    My edge is all of those things and more – more than any dictionary definition could capture

    But my edge keeps changing.
    It is not always where I expect it to be.
    It is different to others’ edges so I am often at the edge on my own or with people I have yet to know.

    There is no comfort at the edge.
    It’s not possible to be comfortable and at the edge at the same time.

    Every so often I need to step back from the edge
    into the realm of comfort and complacency.
    A place to rest from the rigours of being at the edge.
    But soon I tire of this and find myself back at the edge.

    Join me at your edge
    and together we can create the impossible
    That can only happen at the edge.

  67. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for starting this interesting discussion. It’s fun to see the variety of responses to this query.

    For me, I find my best inspiration in the white spaces during my day – those gaps found between completing task A and before we take up working on task B. A few years ago, I tended to use these gaps to ‘get more done’, resorting to cramming in more work to increase how productive I was.

    However, I’ve come to realize how beneficial it is to not colour in those white spaces with more tasks, more chores; that this only leads to a reactive mentality than one that allows your mind to reflect and contemplate and especially finish drawing out those connections I might not have otherwise seen between unrelated elements.

    Of course, the real beauty of appreciating these white spaces is that it doesn’t matter where I am or what I was in the middle of doing. Instead, it’s more a frame of mind of being okay and accepting of having these white spaces wherein which my creative mind can run free to explore and ponder the question – “why if?”.

  68. A clean desk, a blank piece of paper & silence…

  69. The seasons, but especially autumn. I experience autumn as a pale blue colour which for me is the ultimate colour of both yearning and of the consolation for yearning. Autumn at once makes me feel like I am far, far from home (especially seeing the lights of shops and houses in the early dark as the evenings draw in) and like I have come quietly and with strange magical comfort back to the only home I have ever known.

    What inspires me, in short, is the world elsewhere, which I may never reach, but which I feel painfully, doubtfully certain is my true home.

  70. Del Soden says:

    Nothing inspires me at present. The problems of life, mine and family, are dampening any creative energy I might have hidden away somewhere under my huge stash of quilting fabric. Fatigue is my only company. Oh woe is me.

    • Gurudatt Kundapurkar says:

      Del, I remember an old lady jumping away to safety from a car that came so fast and was about to knock her. In normal times, that very lady would have been able to take just a few steps at a time, halt for a while and again resume. Apparently anyone is more likely to get overwhelmed by challenges of life which affect the entire family. There are very good chances you too would make incredible effort and succeed to cope with the challenges facing you. If you were not of this kind, you wouldnt even have bothered to participate in this global sharing on inspiration. Believe and have faith, the spark you just have let out will ignite the potent energy in your entire family and I am sure you will share your most pleasant experience on this forum with the rest of us. Del, you have within you what you need the most now.

    • Sorry to hear you’re going through a fallow patch, Del.

      Have you seen my ebook on dealing with creative blocks? It may be helpful – you can download it for free from this page: http://lateralaction.com/creativeblocks/

  71. “If not now, when?”

    and of course Sigur Ros!



  72. A few things inspire me: Nature, attending a variety of art exhibits, meeting other emerging artists, positive feedback from successful emerging artists. It is always provides a great sense of accomplishment to see your name included in an exhibit which in turns provides inspiration to start the creative process again!

  73. Erik Chang says:

    What inspires me?
    That is the question i’ve always encounter even myself can’t find it. But then as i juggle down my memory i see my own inspiration in a very different unique way, First of all I inspire God for all these wonderful creations and ideas in life even the paradigms on how things work. Then i inspire variations of people like an artist, musician, doctors, writers, directors even garbage collectors they have a different roles in life that makes the world go round and the passion of people on how they love their work despite of frustrations ang angst of life. and lastly this quote:
    “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
    Walt Disney

  74. Cindy Brown says:

    Would you believe the Muppets are my muse(s)? Last week, while at their latest movie, I found myself watching the audience almost as much as the onscreen antics. The delight in the theater was palpable and contagious–everyone left with smiles on their faces. It helped me realize that there is a place for non-cynical and nonsensical comedy, which is what I write. I came home and started querying literary agents again (I’d taken a breather after the first round of rejections). When I get published, I’ll have to put the Muppets in my acknowledgements!

  75. alind sharma says:

    I always set-up small incremental milestones (preferably 15 days time frame) . The completion of those milestones insires me to complete by broad tasks of larger time frames. And I talk daily with one of my colleagues/friends about their family for about 5 minutes. Thats put a new life in our relationships. 🙂

  76. I’m inspired with life in general whereby helping others reflect on their lives positively. And on the creative front I’m inspired with the color around the world either on clothes, trees, walls etc. Colour is my world of inspiration. Thanks

  77. Everything around me inspires me. I walk past a receptionist and see a Renaissance Beauty. I’m preparing a meal and the red onions just cry out to be captured in paint and line. A pair of worn shoes with curling laces on a tile floor. But most of all it is the need to find solutions to practical problems that make my creativity go into overdrive. Most of my self initiated projects begin with a design need or problem to be solved. If someone else will benefit from my work, then that is the strongest driving force, the thing that makes me jump out of bed at 5 in the morning to fit a few hours of creative work in before going to my “office day job”.

  78. Margaritis Malioris says:

    The smiles of people around me! Mostly the young ones!

  79. Come to the Edge.
    It’s too high.
    Come to the Edge.
    We might fall.
    Come to the Edge.
    And they came. And we pushed. And they f l e w.

    I see this poem everyday. It’s by Guillaume Apollinaire. By ‘see,’ I mean that it’s a poster on somebody’s office wall that I can see from outside my own office window. It’s a black poster. Doubly framed by the square window it’s sitting in the middle of. The lettering is white. But I can see it from 50 yards away. It belongs to a creative person, no doubt. Sometimes this person is working late into the night. Often as late as I am. I can see him pacing up and down. Animated. Talking to himself. Or on the phone. He’s mostly alone. I don’t know if he’s successful? But what I do know is that he is content. He seems to have found great meaning in the moments that make up his time.

    Please help me give him this poster. But make it soon. He is about to fly.

  80. people watching and eavesdropping… you’ll be surprise by how people react to different situations and the endless part-conversations. 🙂

  81. ‘Fittingness’ – things, events, words, that by their arrangement have a rightness, a completion that suddenly overwhelms you. From a stranger’s outfit to a book title, it’s like a surprise when you’re not looking.

  82. Abraham Adeyemi says:

    I’m inspired by my closest friends as I feel that in each and everyone of them, there is something which I see and admire in all of them that I want within me. Furthermore, their high standards is what keeps me focused on my own as essentially, nobody wants to be left behind!

  83. I have to say this comment thread is inspiring me. 🙂

  84. It is such a simple thing actually-inspiration. With it, you can conquer the world. Without it, you are in a pit of despair. I have various strategies to inspire me- one is working with someone that is vibrant and energetic: it always rubs off on me, and leaves me ready to work, work, work. However, that isn’t always possible as I am a one-women-show. In the absence of a person, I turn to the small things of beauty in my studio. My little pack of white ceramic animals, my whimsical silhouette art featuring my two pups and various projects that I display around my studio. Those small thing, accompanied with some good movie soundtracks (like sleepy hollow, Frida, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, 500 days of Summer and Disney classics) always does the trick.

    I am sure that Homer’s immortal words will also help. ;)And look gorgeous in my studio to boot!

  85. I find challenges very inspiring. Recently I was asked to contribute to a innovative version of a pattern which I have never considered making, Reflecting on associations led to three proposals in a couple of days. I’m lokking forward to being challenged again in the new year. 🙂 Mlise

  86. Most often it is music that inspires me to write and tell a story. But, what really inspires me to keep on when the going gets tough is my kids. My daughter works every day to build a business she can be proud of and my 15-year-old son is going to be testing for his black belt tonight. Just this morning, I was thinking of how inspiring that is and that maybe I should look at my writing journey as the journey of achieving my black belt in writing…once that level is achieved, there is only more to go, more to learn, more to share with the world.

    Love Mike’s print, by the way! Quite beautiful!

  87. Things that are just beyond my perception inspire me – the things that I can’t yet see clearly, or articulate fully.

  88. Rosie Jeanne Mere says:

    What inspires me is just being around right now. What a time! The best seats for the greatest show on Earth…..I just want to grow very old so that I see and feel as much as I can while here and I can’t wait for what comes next…..I am inspired most of all by inspiring people – their courage, humour, intelligence and passion for life.

  89. Frederick Rosa says:

    My first inspiration was a crush I had on someone. I used to edit her pictures reflecting the way I felt about her, and that inspiration and creativity made me want to study digital graphic designs. After I graduated from high school, I spent a lot of time practicing my designing skills while listening to music (my second inspiration). The rhythm and lyrics helped me get my imagination running while enjoying a good song at the same time. Then finally, once I entered college, a whole world was revealed to me. Before that experience, I used to download some type of images that were kind of the same, but then I discovered many different kinds of designs (from photo manipulations to advertising designs, etc.) that with one look they caught my attention, and I ended up saving them in my “favorite pics” folder. To finish off, my third and last inspiration, has to be the apprecciation of my passion and dedication to the work I do for others. It inspires me because it makes me feel that I did a good job, and it motivates me to keep getting better. But most importantly it always reminds me that I CAN do it.

    Thanks for reading, and sorry for any bad english.

  90. Besides the music that puts me in a wave of harmony (if it is very rhythmic even let me out feet ^_^) inspired me to read. When I find a good book, well written, filled me, and now with entries from some excellent bloggers.
    My dream is to help someone (only one and it would be nice). I want to get people well and I consider myself capable. Music and reading give me the strength that drives me to follow my dreams. So inspiring me.
    I just need action. My but I’m looking to focus on a specific topic and quit peck around.
    Regards fron Spain

  91. Throughout the entire work inspires me a lot of things. And hard to pick just one thing. But recently, the main inspiration is the people! To be more precise – a manifestation of feelings. Kindness, compassion, consideration, courtesy, just a smile girl on the street or help a stranger. For this we really want to do.

  92. What a lovely idea (and print collection!) and what great responses … you could pull these together into an e-book, Mark! 😉

    My sources of inspiration vary – mercurial as the proverbial muse. Sometimes it is solitude that gives me the time and space my ideas need to step forward from the shadows and slowly coalesce into tangible forms. Sometimes, it is being in the company of other creative people – bouncing our ideas off each other and watching them transform and mutate with each ricochet – combining with each other and evolving right before our eyes. Many times, it’s nature that opens my eyes and my heart. My daughter inspires me to reach back into my own childhood and take risks now that I might not otherwise take.

    There are so many sources of inspiration, but none of them can reach me unless I add the critical, secret ingredient – my attention. Life gets so busy – it’s easy to be distracted by everything going on around us and miss out on precious moments of inspiration. But, when we stop, breathe, look, and listen – we give our muse permission to step up and step in.

    Happy holidays and happy creating!

  93. How wonderful to read all your thoughts and comments – what inspiring people you all are!

    What inspires me is the moment when I am working with a client and they suddenly realise for themselves what is possible, or get back in touch with why they want to create. The sharp intake of breath, the glint in the eye, the excited raising of an eyebrow, the quick smile – and the realisation of their own greatness!

  94. Renee Beauvais says:

    Beautiful print, fun contest, and very life affirming modes of inspiration – Thank you!

    I’m inspired by enthusiasm, mine or that of someone else. It can be enthusiasm over ANYTHING, just to be in that state of mind opens the flood gates to ideas and expression.

  95. Jackie George says:

    Wow, great competition and great to know all the inspriring modes of inspiration, in many of which i see what inspires me aswell.
    To mention a few, I am inspired by listening to good music and singing as well..by reading a good enlightening book….the company of my children…infectious enthusiasm…..and above all a knowledge of the holy, in knowing that I am in right standing with God which releases me to pursue my dreams.

  96. Christopher Jones says:

    I’m inspired by the every day. Possibilities of doing something new. Improving my life. Working for my family.

  97. Gregory Bradley says:

    The sea. I grew up a stone’s throw away from the south coast of England and regardless of the time of year, the weather, or the actual stretch of coast itself, the ebb and flow of the tide – and the general surroundings – it’s the one constant I can rely on to inspire me, with or without camera in hand. (Even the seagulls.) The number of good creative ideas I’ve had during or after a trip to the coast is far too many to mention.

    Nowadays I live in London and don’t get to ‘go coastal’ as much as I’d like, so I’ll say listening to the Beach Boys also inspires me in a different way – aside from the music itself, listening to the outtakes of Brian Wilson directing and cajoling his band and the ‘Wrecking Crew’ session musicians into getting to the perfect take is like being a fly on the wall watching a creative master at work. Inspiring in a different way!

  98. Stella Edemekong says:

    I get inspired by a number of things: People, music, quotes and challenging situations. Recently, I just stepped out of ‘comfort zone’ to try my hands on a venture I should have had running for some years now because my friend, in showing me what he was doing, ignited the fire in me.

  99. Keith McMahen says:

    As a published poet and an autistic (Aspergers Syndrome / high functioning autistic) I must say that my muse is elusive and can drop in at the most unexpected time and place and I can miss her if I’m not attentive but I must say that words and how they can be so beautifully put together by authors, poets, prophets, dreamers… has so many times given sight to someone who doesn’t see the world like normals do, is blind in many ways in their world and allowed me new vistas, horizons and worlds to see, to explore and bring home new insights, understandings, growth. This in turn has allowed me to see myself and my world anew and inspired me to creatively express what lay fallow and inexpressible until that moment when the muse through those words gave me sight and touched my lips and …