Be on the lookout for spontaneous whimsy.

I recently asked my newsletter subscribers what their biggest challenges are around creativity. Overwhelmingly, responses went something like this:

  • "I don't have ideas."
  • "I don't know what to make."
  • "I don't know where to start."
  • "I struggle to find inspiration."
  • This makes me think of a few things.

James Victore recently said something pertinent in one of his AWESOME weekly Burning Questions videos. [I'm paraphrasing this]:

The way to become a better designer is to study anything but design.

I think this applies to anyone who wants to be creative in any way. And what I think he meant by this is... art is an expression. Art is inspired by something other than art (usually). It's inspired by real life.

So you have to go out there and live. Live a wild and colorful and diverse life. The best thing you can do for your creativity and inspiration is to fully experience this season of your life.

Fall in love. Get mad. See new places. Try new things. Be scared. Go anyway.

And here is where I'm going to inject my own idea about something I like to call 'spontaneous whimsy'.

While you're out there living life and doing things and making stuff you'll have the opportunity to pursue spontaneous whimsy.

Here's an example of how spontaneous whimsy once called on me.

While I was checking out at the grocery store I noticed this massive, beautiful, stunning flower making eyes at me across the way. This may sound strange, but it spoke to me. 

I went back and forth in my mind for a couple minutes... I don't need to spend $9 on a flower. Oh, but then I'll hold up the line for a minute while I walk over there to grab it. I don't need it. Nah. Next time, maybe.

You know that feeling when something so seemingly random tugs at you for a quick minute? Maybe what keeps you from saying yes is that it makes you feel uncomfortable, or it'll be too much effort, or you just want to get back to work.

Here are a few signs that it's spontaneous whimsy:

  1. You start smiling just thinking about it.
  2. Your heart flutters and you get lost in the idea for a moment.
  3. You picture yourself telling the story of what happened later.
  4. Thinking about walking away from it feels flat and disappointing.

You may want to turn down a random street. Go into a coffee shop. Talk to a stranger. Give a huge tip. Fly across the country to surprise a friend. Say yes to something that absolutely terrifies you. 

You have to follow these little moments of spontaneous whimsy. They lead to inspiration.

I followed my spontaneous whimsy yesterday, and it led me to sitting down and creating some new artwork. It made me feel so happy and amazing and reminded me of how sweet and important it is to follow those little nudges.

When something is tugging at your heart, go after it. Go do it. It's better to take a risk than to live every day as expected, bored, and uninspired. 

So go out there, live in real life, step out of your mind and into the world, and say yes to whatever spontaneous whimsy is calling your name right now.

What spontaneous whimsy is tugging at you today? I'd love to hear from you. Comment to share, or email me your thoughts at

Amanda SandlinblogComment