Tools For Happiness: Inspiration Emergency Kit

Waiting for inspiration

Image by Brandon Grasley, via Flickr Creative Commons


Here's one of the "Happiness" essays we had to cut from Quilting Happiness. It's from the "Inspired to Quilt" chapter, where we delve into what fires up your imagination, and how your creative mind works. If you'd like to hear Diane talk more about the "Happiness" part of the book, listen to her on the Sept 16 edition of the American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast.


Great ideas can pop into your head at the most inconvenient times. Many of us have particular spaces in our lives where inspiration tends to visit, whether we’re ready or not. Maybe you always get great ideas when you’re in the shower, or out on a walk, or sitting in the carpool lane.

There’s actually a scientific reason behind this: the right hemisphere of your brain is constantly making creative associations between the various sights, sounds, ideas and memories stored there – and some of these associations are quite brilliant.

accordion file with cards

Image by S.C. Asher, via Flickr Creative Commons



...But the left hemisphere of your brain stays very focused and busy with the many details of living in the world, so you can’t always “hear” the creative solutions bubbling up from the right side. That is, until you do something that allows your brain to relax. Then, your right brain has an opportunity to let those creative brainstorms slip into your conscious mind.

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Image by gurms, via Flickr Creative Commons



When those lovely ideas pop up, we’d all like to think we can hold onto them until we have time to jot them down. But how often have you seen a brainstorm slip away? How do you prepare yourself for those flashes of inspiration? By paying attention to where your brainstorms tend to happen, and then installing an Inspiration Emergency Kit in those spots.

Bathroom artwork
Image by mollybee, via Flickr



What would your Inspiration Emergency Kit look like? Well, its form can be whatever fits your "inspiration places." Maybe you need to keep a digital voice recorder in your car, so you can safely capture ideas while you’re driving. Maybe you need a dry erase board in your kitchen, or a box of index cards tucked away in your dining room sideboard. Maybe you need some washable soap crayons, so you can sketch right on your shower walls!

The very next time a great idea comes to you, and you have that moment of panic over "how will I remember this," that's an excellent cue to set up an Inspiration Emergency Kit for next time.

This post was cross-posted to Diane's blog.