Why I don’t worry about running out of ideas…. ever!

 

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One of the questions that people ask me the most is something along the lines of "How do you keep coming up with new ideas?" This question always catches me off guard because running out of ideas isn't really something I think about. I recently wrote a post about staying inspired, but the topic of developing ideas is something else entirely, and something I'd love to chat with you about. 

 

In the beginning I remember the fear of "using up" my best ideas. I was under the impression that maybe I should save my better ideas for the future. Over the years I've learned that creativity is a learned skill, not a lucky break. The more good ideas that I come up with and execute the more I can imagine. Coming up with good, usable ideas is definitely something that you can practice at and improve. Isn't that cool? 

Here's a little bit about my creative process, when it comes to brainstorming new ideas…

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Every day I sketch out and list ideas in my journal. Some ideas are good/usable and sometimes even great. Some ideas are weak, but have potential if I spend more time developing them. Some ideas are horrible. Really, really bad ideas. I don't love thinking of awful ideas, but it's part of the creative process so I write them down and then turn the page and keep going. Sometimes I have ideas that are good, but won't work for me currently. I save these for later and sometimes I give them to my friends too. Oh… and some ideas can be labeled as "spam"… these are just the product of living life. Sometimes when big trends are happening I end up sketching a lot of ideas for the trends, but they never make the final cut because they aren't really ideas that I'm passionate about… they're just on my mind as a product of my environment. Remember, all of these ideas are healthy! No one has 100% good ideas all the time. It's important to learn to prioritize the ideas you love most (we all have limited time) and to keep your creative mind awake! 

 

The more time you invest in developing your creative ideas, the better they will become. I've noticed that the more time I spend daily sketching, the better quality my ideas become. I highly recommend taking some time each day to list out ideas for your blog, hobby or business. Daily sketching is incredibly fulfilling and you'll never have to worry about "running out of ideas" again with journals full of them! xo. elsie

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  • i love this post! It really does inspire me to jot down my ideas in my journal! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Great technique. Ideas just come and go. The you implement a good idea the better but it doesn’t mean that you missed doing an idea is already a failure. You have to make it better the next time.

  • Thanks so much for this little tidbit. I’m a studio art major and sometimes even I worry that I will ‘use up’ all my so-called ‘good’ ideas. But you make such a valid point that really it’s just training your brain to think creatively on a daily basis and pretty soon it’s like second nature.

  • i love this. i try to write something new every day, even if only a sentence. many times it’s an idea that just needs time to develop it’s wings or find a partner idea to latch onto.

  • Just found and started following your blog…I’m so incredibly inspired…love it!!! And this article really helps me out…thank you!!!

  • “I’ve learned that creativity is a learned skill, not a lucky break.”

    i love this statement! thanks f0r sharing y0ur great ideas to the w0rLd! ^_^

    can we follow each 0thers’ bLogs????

    http://fashionmoto.blogspot.com/

    http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3032396/fashi0nm0t0

    http://fashionmoto.tumblr.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/fashionmoto

    als0 c0nnect with us thru g00gLe

    Thank y0u! ϡ

  • Great post Elsie! Thanks for sharing your tips! You’re such an inspiration!

    http://fromheretofashion.blogspot.com/

  • Elsie, I love this post. I’m always coming up with tons of ideas for things I want to do (or think the world needs) but I’m not great at managing them. I usually think I don’t have time to flesh them out so they drift off into the ether. I always carry a notebook but you’ve inspired me to get a BIGGER notebook! That way I can flesh out the ideas rather than feeling like if they don’t fit into my ‘to do’ list I can’t be dealing with them. So, thank you!

    Also, re. coming up with new ideas, I used to keep a lot of ideas to myself (particularly at work in my day job) as I didn’t want them to be “stolen” but I’ve realised that the key to being creative is to “give away” ideas all the time. You’re right that if you keep practising, new ideas will come into your head all the time. Hurrah!

  • hi elsie,
    i just read the article about you & emma in the latest edition of ‘mollie makes’. i am a regular reader of your blog, so it was a lovely surprise to be flipping through my new fav mag & discover you there too. best wishes to you & emma. jules X

  • Thanks for the great tips Elsie 🙂
    I’ve just started carrying a notebook everywhere and writing all the ideas that come to my head – good, bad & kind of crazy 😉 It’s been so refreshing to see that it just spurs on the creativity even more! Cheray x

  • Can you tell us what kind or brand of journal you use or even take a picture of it?

    Thank you for such smart words.

    Kerrie

  • I totally agree! My art professor always told us that we need to have a journal with us at all times, and ever since then I always do. I love making lists, sketches, writing down goals, ideas, songs lyrics, whatever inspires me at the moment. It’s a great resource to have! Great post!

    bubblegumcigarette.blogspot.com

  • Thank you so much! I love your posts and ones such as this are SO inspiring to me. I started a notebook for my blog but I haven’t kept up with it. This is a wonderful reminder that I need to set time aside to develop my ideas!

    Warmly,

    Elizabeth

  • A very helpful post!! I now have tiny notepad in my bag because of this post!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Much the same as writing, when you keep practising, keep writing it gets better with time and effort. This is a really lovely post that I am sure will reassure so many people out there.
    Thanks Elsie!

  • Another great post Elsie!

    Funnily enough I spent just over an hour last night writing down blog and crafting ideas after having had a massively inspiring few days + then I woke up and read this!

  • This is fantatsic idea!! I always sketch all my ideas and plans, but I guess I miss bad ideas part, in which I agree completely with u, might be very important part for further growing!! Thanks Elsie!;)
    xoxo
    Jelena (glamfabchameleon.blogspot.com)

  • This is really helpful for me too, and I’m not in the business of creating fashion lines, etc! Thanks for always putting your tips up for us 🙂

  • I agree that creativity is a learned skill. I definitely have found that the more time I work on my creativity, the better it gets, and I also feel more inspired! But I never thought to be so organized about my creativity. I always just keep a running list in my head. I’m thinking I really should start writing them down.yes. 🙂

  • I’m with you – I think ideas are never ending. It’s good to sort them out and find out which ones work best for you!

  • This was a great post! As someone who’s just starting out, running out of ideas has been one of my biggest fears as well. Good to know there are others out there who think about the same things!

  • I totally agree. I’m always writing down a ideas. It really helps!

    ♥ Gina Michele
    CrochetClouds.com

  • great post! I carry a journal with me. You can never have too many ideas written down!

  • “Over the years I’ve learned that creativity is a learned skill, not a lucky break.”

    I totally agree with this. I had the same problem as you, but then I stopped to think about it: the idea of my blog is to talk about things that make me happy. So, I decided that instead of living to blog about it, I would live and THEN blog about it. Totally new perspective 🙂

    Jenna
    callherhappy.com

  • This is super helpful! I always feel like I have no good ideas at all and I want to start exercising that part of my mind more. I am creative from a photographic perspective but I struggle with capturing my thoughts into ideas, time to buy a journal I think…

  • “Daily sketching is incredibly fulfilling .. ”

    haha, thats exactly what our examing-committee is used to say to us each and every single time we have exam.
    and its true : )

    http://striped-bubble.blogspot.com/

  • I love this…….Personally I jump between designing swimwear to designing homes/houses depending on which way the wind blows, ohhh and of course dead lines bring the best and the worst out in me … sometimes one side is not flowing and the other is ,,, and then pow … wow all the answers for that roof line come flooding in from nowhere….. i have taken everything you have said here on board , it really clarify’s my days for me …. because sometimes I feel like I am just waisting time … But as you say , none of it is a waste of time…..I would never have found these wise words if I did not cruise through blog’s on a regular basis… Cheers

  • you do always have the best ideas (and cute hair, which makes the pictures THAT much more fun to look at). the best part is they are “tweakable” ideas that i can usually mold to fit my preferences, etc. You rock!
    Smoking Crayolas Blogspot

  • Great post! I am definitely in the “scared I’m going to run out of good ideas” phase. One of my biggest challenges is when I come up with a great idea for a blog post it becomes too complicated to execute. i.e. I need to take pictures, I need to go buy supplies, etc. etc. And it seems like it will take me all day just to write one post. How do you overcome that?

    I appreciate any advice you are willing to offer!

    xoxo,

  • Carrying a notebook or even jotting them on your phone is very useful. The only problem for me is finding the time to turn these ideas into reality x

  • Thank you for sharing all those great ideas with us !
    Since I’ve discovered your blog it has become my favorite !

  • I seriously cannot live without you (your blog) and your inspiration! You are a true blessing in my life.

    Thank you!

  • Great post! I carry a journal with me to write ideas down but find that my desk often has a bunch of little colorful sticky notes all over it too lol!

  • love this! so funny because i brought a new journal with me to work today and your post totally inpsired me to come up with lots of fresh ideas. i like how you say that some of your ideas are “spam” or not good ideas. i get discouraged when i don’t make every idea come to life, but your post helped me put that worry into perspective. thanks for the inspiration as always!

    xoxo

    erin

  • Great blog, the fist picture is so cute 🙂

    http://chicgeekblogger.blogspot.com/

    Please take a minute to look at my trunkshow;

    http://iouproject.com/tsh/jessica-karen/

  • Do you have any images of your journal scribblings? That would be a really fun way to get a glimpse of what you do every day. How to stay inspired is a great topic!

  • wonderful advice. I just love you. THE END!

    I hope you’re well.. and I am still wondering if you got my “Hollywood” postcard with the poodle and the vintage barbie.

    I hope you diiiiid !

    love, polly :DD

  • thanks for the inspiration to get creative!
    -Georgia
    http://swonderfulgd.blogspot.com/

  • I do this! It’s so helpful and there is always something to flip back to and redevelop. Love that you shared this!

    http://2anchor.blogspot.com

  • as an artist and a blogger i cant completely agree that not every idea is going to be great. it really helps to have a notebook with me at all times because you never know when inspiration will hit you!
    http://wwwfortheloveofdesignblog.com

  • Great post, Elsie! I totally LOL’d at the Horrible Ideas part of the piehead chart 🙂

  • I just recently bought a journal where I can jot down ideas I have. I take it with me every where I go.

  • Love this! Sometimes I think that I don’t have any ideas, but the problem is that I never take the time to write them down. I need to find myself a journal stat! 🙂

  • Thanks for the encouragement! This definitely gives me the motivation I need to keep brainstorming!

    http://www.thoreausdaughter.com/

  • I do the same thing!! I have a notebook that I write all of my ideas in….I don’t get to a lot of them because life gets in the way but I try. My brain never stops! lol! That’s a good thing and a bad thing because some days I spend all day thinking of ideas and I don’t get to start any of them! lol

    http://julies-thisandthat.blogspot.com/

  • I always find it hard to remember all the things I come up with during the day, no matter if good or bad. i should really start keeping a little journal of sorts to carry with me every day 🙂

  • everything you come up with is so original and special! i always enjoy seeing what is coming next! 🙂

  • This is SUCH a fantastic post, and it’s great because it’s applicable to so many facets of life. I’m not only a fashion blogger, but I’m also a novelist, and I adore writing. It’s wonderful to hear that I’m not “using up” all of my great ideas off the bat. Also, I just thought I should mention that you inspired me to start carrying around a notebook everywhere I go! It’s such a great way to keep track of my ideas. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration, Elsie!

    http://www.nerdysam.com

  • I couldn’t agree more. If I just sit trying to come up with something good then I won’t think of anything but if I draw and write down anything that pops into my head it tends to start off with some bad stuff but then the good stuff takes over.

    I think getting it out of my head helps, just because I’ve made a note of something doesn’t mean I have to use it.

  • Not going to lie, I worry all the TIME about running out of ideas for my blog. It takes a lot of discipline to make myself just write SOMETHING (usually something awful) and then move on. Eventually the inspiration returns. Or something awkward happens to me and then I just right about that.

    Nice to see someone else’s thought process!

    http://stopmeifyouveheardthisone.wordpress.com

  • I really like your visual on this! My biggest issue is prioritizing, I def need to work on that… Another great post, Elsie, thanks!

  • Fab post! I think this could be applied to daily life and not just blogging. I’m a big fan of lists 😉

  • couldn’t agree more! I find just having a blog helps keep the motivation to keep creating/sharing d.i.y’s and art projects too – since I don’t really journal them otherwise!
    Some day I’ll have to start sending my d.i.y’s your lovely way – you’re an inspiration!
    xo
    Mel
    www.needleandnestdesign.blogspot.com

  • Great, great post. I need to find a cute little journal to start sketching my ideas more regularly (I currently have one drawn on the marker board in the kitchen). I have never worried about running out of ideas either, with a creative mind, I think they come faster than you can execute them!
    I love your comment about prioritizing the ideas you love most.

  • Great post! I tend to forget to write down my ideas. It might be time for a little black book!

    http://kathrynscuriouslife.blogspot.com/

  • seriously great post! I can tell you + the whole team have been putting a lot of work into this blog recently, and it’s really paying off. the content here has been fantastic lately.

  • Especially out of ideas about making things!

    http://sztukastudiowania.blogspot.com/

  • I am fairly new to blogging and immediately related to your post. I have wondered if I might run out ideas at some point even though at the moment I do seem to be overflowing with them. It is reassuring to know that the ideas can keep coming indefinitely. I think it is a great idea to keep a journal of ideas each day. Thanks for keeping me inspired!
    www.ecothriftyliving.com

  • Hey Elsie,
    Very helpful post! 🙂
    I feel the same too whenever people ask me the same question. I never or at least I know that I don’t think about ‘running out of ideas’, but having more ideas than I really should! And the list just goes on and on and on. I think there’s so many ways in finding inspiration,i.e. listening to music, even watching a movie or a tv show or reading a book or taking my daughter school. If I decide not to make something, I write poems or paint or take photographs or even write a silly musical play 🙂

  • I never thought about creativity as something I can improve or learn. But anyway, I hope you;ll never run out of ideas 🙂

  • great piece – do much the same myself in terms of jotting down – I too share your instinct of not running out of ideas – my problem is running out of time and of course the prioritising !! thanks for the inspiration – as always
    x
    http://gillmi-fromscratch.blogspot.com/

  • “…The more good ideas that I come up with and execute the more I can imagine….” Love this phrase!!
    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    http://littlebitesofmylife.blogspot.com

  • youre so right:)
    for me its sometimes hard to keep the track of things when im busy
    inveiglefair.blogspot.com

  • Thanks for the very motivating post! As a new blogger I often feel the need to “save” my ideas, as if they’ll run out. I’m newly motivated to jump on my ideas list and let my creativity flow. 🙂

    acleanercloset.blogspot.com

  • Thanks Elsie! This was perfect timing for me. I definitely keep a journal for ideas and lists too but I’ve been getting a bit overwhelmed. This post makes me feel like maybe I am doing things the right way and maybe I should stop holding back some of my better ideas. It’s funny to realize that I’ve been worried about running out and really was saving the best for last. How stupid. lol

    Victoria
    www.foreverfashionablylate.com

  • This is a really great post Elsie! I love how kind you are. It’s great to know that everything you do is through your own hard-work but still something everyone could do or try! Thank you!

  • Tienes razon, de nada sirve tener ideas, si no le dedicamos tiempo a llevarlas a cabo..
    Pero tus ideas siempre son buenas!!!
    Saludos desde Galicia!!

  • Great ideas! I have a journal with me all time too, because ideas come in the most unpredictable places and times. Mainly in bed right before i drift off to sleep, so i always have a paper and pen on my nightstand.

    xx, Niki from http://redandpurpleblog.blogspot.com/

  • Oh, i know what you mean! I always somehow feel sad for people who when they stay alone dont know what to do and complain of being bored. There are so many opportunities right infront and inside of us!;)

  • Really inspiring! I think thinking of bad ideas is all part of the process- then you recognise good ones!

  • This is so true! I really believe creativity isn’t some talent people have or have not, it is something you can learn to apply on an everyday base. A while ago I started a feature on my blog called ‘creative challenge’ in which I try to set myself a creative challenge each week in order to train and develop this skill in a fun way. I feel that when I do spend time each week doing little creative projects I automatically end up coming up with new ideas and am more happy. It’s like a snowball effect. Anyway, great post!

  • Being inspired and creative…
    I am still learning… 🙂
    But you are really good at!
    Thanks.

  • I so admire your creations and creativity Elsie, thanks for sharing this. Also, i like that you sometimes pass your ideas on to others. I like to do this too, it creates a community of creativity and sharing which can also totally inspire one to new heights of ideas.

    I look forward to A Beautiful Mess every day,

    xo, Brittan

  • Elise,

    Thank you for encouraging living the creative life.

    I appreciate your honesty and ideas for staying creative!

    anna

  • Thanks for some really good tips! I need to start a sketchbook habit. It seems to be a universal requirement for successful creatives. I especially like the idea of writing down the bad ideas too. Maybe, after some time, some of these bad ideas will start to come together to shape something that we were trying to get at all along!
    -BekahDrey

    http://bekahdrey.blogspot.com

  • A while ago you showed a glimpse of your journal/sketchbook and I had one as well, just didn’t use it that often. But after reading that post I started writing down all my ideas on the spot and it’s crazy how many ideas we come up with a lot of which I used to say I’ll think about it later but then forget. My journal goes with me everywhere now! I so appreciate your advice! Thanks for sharing!

  • okay so inspiring.. thanks Elsie… I think you rights. i will try from right now 🙂 nice post.. http://lovesimplegreen.blogspot.com/

  • Your post hits the nail on the head. I swear we humans have “creativity” muscles, flex your imagination!

  • i am soaking up your advice like a sponge. you are SO GOOD at sharing knowledge and i really appreciate that!!

  • Thank you for being such an inspiration for a little blogger like me. I always am intrigued with what new things you post 🙂

  • This is a fantastic post. I have noticed from your posts you are always making time to plan and fill notebooks with ideas – which is fun in itself! I also learnt that from your blogging ecourse. Rebecca

  • really great post..thanks elsie! 🙂 “http://lovesimplegreen.blogspot.com/

  • Girl I couldn’t agree with you more. This past year I’ve made sure to ALWAYS keep a journal with me..even when I’m out running errands..and I’m amazed at how many ideas/plans for the future/goals I’ve jotted down. My journals have quickly become my #1 source of inspiration. Even if I wrote down an idea that I wasn’t too keen on at the time, in the future it might turn into something that I love or something that can be changed up and turned into something great!

    Awesome post, love! Hope you’re having a great night!

  • Thanks so much for the idea Elsie! I think I really need to do this… *goes out and buys a journal* =D

  • I used to carry a journal a lot along time ago but somewhere along the way I stopped, this post is really making me wanna get another one!
    xo Sarai
    www.lovedovesnest.blogspot.com

  • Loved this post. Great advice to sketch out some ideas in a journal everyday!

    Loulou @ Loulou Downtown

  • Such a great post! I think I have asked you that question before too. I am a big believer in keeping your imagination young and fresh and constantly writing and staying inspired is such a great way to do that. Great advice about not saving your ideas for the “future”..I sometimes think that way..but you have a great point!

  • To date, this might be one of my top 10 post from you. And I read everything on your site! Thank you for writing this.

  • ahhh..such a great post..can’t wait to use this as inspiration! time to get creative!

    xo
    katie

    katiediditt.blogspot.com

  • great post – I have a too many idea problem too – so I carry around little “idea books” in my purses to keep myself sane.

    -grace
    http//herumbrella.com

  • So helpful! Thanks Elsie. I’m a newer blogger and still learning so much every day. I’ve really appreciated your insights.

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca

  • Great post and can be applied to everyone. Sometimes I just don’t take the time to sit down and write anything down – I hate to imagine all the good ideas that have floated out into the ether that could’ve been captured. And I wonder why I have ten blank journals…

  • these are really great tips, elsie! i just bought some cute little notebooks yesterday and i can’t wait to fill them with ideas!

  • I couldn’t agree more. I often have the “I have too many ideas!” issue. I find inspiration in so many different places. I love your photos above, they really illustrate the truth. Love this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Kacie

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