Monday Question – Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

In my People In Perfumeland series I always ask the question “Where do you find your inspiration?”

Today I ask all of you!

If you feel burnt out and without creativity what do you do to get started again?

Where do you turn to feel inspired?

What is a reliable source of inspiration for you?


My Answer:

I’d like you to help me today, because my answer right now is: I don’t know. I cant find it anywhere…

I should be very relaxed and full of joie de vivre now after Paris, but sadly  I am not.

So I set my trust in you, dear readers! Tell me about your ways of finding inspiration!


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41 Responses to Monday Question – Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

  1. Marjo says:

    Good morning, I ‘m sorry you feel a bit down, at the moment. I really hope you will feel better soon, but I don’t think you can force these things. At the risk of sounding corny: whenever I feel a bit down or burnt out, I think of my sister in law. She was a very strong, happy woman. Unfortunally, she died when she was 34 years old and left a husband and three very young childeren. I remind myself of the obligation I have to make the most of my life, just because I still can. This doesn’t always help, but often it gives me the little boost you need to go on.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Marjo,
      thank you for your kind words. I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll try to keep your story in mind, we sure can be glad to be healthy and without “real” worries.

  2. Lester says:

    For me, I find someone who I’m comfortable being silent around, and go on a bicycle trip with them to somewhere we can picnic together. So many of my creative ruts have been solved by being surrounded by nature, while with someone who doesn’t feel awkward if I don’t talk for a while.

  3. Ines says:

    Lately, I’ve been missing inspiration as well and now I’m trying to find my general joie de vivre because I think when that returns, so will inspiration.
    Basically, I’m trying to enjoy the moment and the good things in life (like friends and family) and not be down.

  4. Asali says:

    I’m sincerely sorry to hear that dear Birgit. My answer was ‘when I least expect it’ and it’s true, BUT what I also mean by that is that inspiration can be forced (for lack of a better expression). If I think about a certain thing, a perfume, a piece of music etc long enough, even if to begin with I have no idea what to say, all of a certain I do get inspired. I liked it this way, because it becomes more about doing, than waiting for the muse. I suppose it comes from music, and you know that from playing yourself, you have to play even if you’re less than inspired that day, it doesn’t mean you’re not making music… I hope you’ll get lots of good suggestions today, and that some of them might help. ❤

    • Olfactoria says:

      Maybe the post sounds very dejected. It is not as bad as all that, I am okay, but I just can’t find my creativity mojo. Which gets me down in the end. See, I’m not very clear about anything… 😉
      Thank you for your comment, dear Asali. Just doing surely works, if I can get myself to do it that is…

  5. annemariec says:

    Libraries. I seek inspiration, and comfort, I libraries. I love any sort of library, from the great state and university libraries to the tiniest broom cupboard of a library in a country town. When my kids were little we lived in one such town but the library at the end of our street would get in anything I wanted from its network of other little libraries. For free, of course. I well remember my Friday afternoon visits, letting my toddler daughter toddle about on her own while I wandered in peace, chatting to the librarian, picking up my loans, walking back home pushing the pram with one hand and holding a book with the other. They were tricky times in many ways, and things got worse before they got better, but a visit to the library never failed to inspire.

    Hope things improve for you Birgit!

    • Olfactoria says:

      A wonderful idea, Annemarie. I love libraries too and Vienna thankfully has no shortage of them. I will make it a point to go at least once a week. Just sitting surrounded by books feels good.

  6. DDJ says:

    One can either wait or do; typically ‘Doing’ gets me there faster.
    Pick something you love or have been thinking of and begin, with no expectations. Inspiration follows.

    If my malaise rebuffs several attempts of this process, I relax and enjoy the down-time.

    Always love your posts; Best Regards.

    • annemariec says:

      I like the idea if choosing to do rather than wait. I’ll remember that. But of course I guess we all know someone who gets themselves into a state of perpetual motion just to avoid facing deeper problems. You do have to stop sometimes!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, DDJ, that is great advice!

  7. rosestrang says:

    Returning from a holiday does tend to leave a void, maybe it’s the return to routine, hope you feel inspired soon!

    I paint for a living so inspiration is something I seek a lot of the time. I find that giving my mind time to meander and drift is essential – walking is good for that, or just gazing into space. Seeing a good exhibition, or performance, or concert can be hugely inspiring. I find it helpful to get involved in something that takes me ‘outside’ of myself, something that interrupts my patterns of thought. Nature too – getting out into the countryside, especially to the sea.

    I love receiving new perfume samples too – that can help you drift into reverie. I’m also feeling a bit under inspired at the moment, probably because I’ve been painting full-time for about three months in preparation for various exhibitions and projects, I feel a bit like an automaton, but in a week my days will be free again, I look forward to doing nothing!

    Here’s a quote from Rousseau’s ‘Reveries of the Solitary Walker’ –
    “I have sometimes thought rather deeply, but rarely with pleasure; almost always against my liking, and as though by force. Reverie relaxes and amuses me; reflection tires and saddens me; thinking always was a painful and charmless occupation for me. Sometimes my reveries end in meditation, but more often my meditations end in reverie; and during these wanderings, my soul rambles and glides through the universe on the wings of imagination, in ecstasies which surpass every other enjoyment”

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is an amazing quote, thanks so much for sharing it rosestrang!
      I hope your intense working spell ends soon and you get to enjoy the fruit of your labour.

  8. maria says:

    For me it is often books and Amazon – I can spend too many hours browsing – starting with one interesting subject or a specific book and hopping on from a suggested book to another. Might google some interesting subject to gain more info. It is so refreshing to find new takes on things and subjects you never knew were written about. I mostly look into non-fiction, but it could be fiction as well. My latest find was “contemplative photography” 🙂 Never knew that kind of photography exists actually, let alone that there are books about it. Visual journaling was another subject I enjoyed researching.

    I also like to take a moment alone somewhere new to me, could be a cafe I never went to before or a museum or a gallery. Not anything spectacular, but just taking a “meditative” moment for myself.

    Learning something new in general works for me and looking at things from a new perspective. It could be a subject that just pops up somewhere or something that I have been curious about for a longer time and then decide to study more about it and do the thing, if it is something doable.

    Sometimes the inspiration just does not come and then I may try to let myself just be so, not forcing it. It will simmer in the background preparing itself 😉

    Marcel Proust put it nicely:
    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    Wish you well and thank you for having created such a beautiful corner in the blogosphere 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Amazon is the modern-day library without limits. Thank you for the idea!
      That Proust quote is a great one to always keep in mind.
      Thank you for reading and your kind words, Maria!

  9. Vanessa says:

    Sorry you are in the doldrums, and I do sympathise. I have been feeling out of sorts for a while now – mentally and physically – all to do with this anemia thing, but oddly, the inspiration and bad puns still seem to flow. I think I get daft ideas just walking around wherever I happen to be and taking in my surroundings. Most of the ‘inspiration’ (if that isn’t dignifying this kind of random trivia 😉 ) ends up on FB rather than the blog, because it isn’t perfume related. Hope you get your mojo back soon, but meanwhile there’s Italy to look forward to – that will kickstart things again, I bet.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love your “daft ideas”, Vanessa. Tey brighten my day and you are for sure my most entertaining fb friend. 🙂
      Italy is indeed not too far away and I really look forward to Florence and later the quiet of the seaside.
      I hope you feel better soon in every way.

  10. Sadra says:

    I hate to sound hokey, but it always helps me to do something for somebody else. We have a woman’s shelter here that always needs stuff. The woman (and children) are only allowed to stay for 30 days, so there is a constant turnover. I gather a bunch of my own and the kid’s stuff and head over there. Conversations ensue, and I’m always left richer than when I went in.
    Just an FYI for your readers: Women’s shelters often need plus size clothing, interview suits are especially coveted.

  11. Farouche says:

    Learn something new, but take a class rather than study on your own. That will force you out of the house and put you in the company of interesting people. One class isn’t a commitment, so don’t try to talk yourself out of it, thinking it may not be a permanent interest.

    I well remember the years of having small children as being some of the most stressful of my life. Although filled with joy and love for those unique little people, I also felt frustration at the monotony of the constant caregiving. Carve out some time just for you for that class or coffee with a like-minded friend.

  12. Hey Birgit,
    Hard question. So much good advice here though. Some of which I’m going to put into practice myself.
    A book I read recently that I found inspiring is The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen by Barb Stegemann. The woman who created the 7 Virtues fragrance range. AH MAY ZiNG.
    Portia xx

  13. arline says:

    Before I read others comments, I want to share, because I want my answer to be authentic. I always intend on being authentic, but sometimes answers and inspiration come from within, and so I am learning at a deeper level, what it means to tap into inner resources. What I am talking about is not logical. I have only a tiny inkling about how things work, but I do know that getting quiet (even for a few minutes), helps me to see and intuit what will help me go through the world in a creative and satisfied way.

    Having said that, we need each other, and we must reach out.

    i have seriously been finding a lot of inspiration via the internet. I don’t have the luxury to go off and study at the moment, but I do have access to a lot of creative energy that is on the web.

    I meditate daily, and for me this in non negotiable, as it helps me to see more clearly.

    Recently, I asked the universe for inspiration, just as you have, and it has been coming. Not just through the web, I think maybe I am relaxing and able to see things a little more clearly since asking so poignantly. Inspiration is all around us in expected and unexpected places.

    I am way into pinterest at the moment, and I find these mini little “workshops” via Youtube.

    I also talk to selective friends, that remind me, that a conscious creative life is the highest form of living, and that focusing on what is not working, makes what isn’t working BIGGER.

    I also paint every day, no matter what comes out, as well as practice yoga.

    Body mind spirit, for me, must align.

    My understanding of spirit is roomy and broad, and is not dogma, its the beautiful energy of mystery that allows us to surpass logic, and tap into the flow of inspiration and creativity.

    You are highly creative, and provide so much inspiration for others, just know that, and relax into this lull you are feeling, and know that everything you need is in with you, it (whatever IT is), will express itself as you relax.. Easy said, I know…


    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for taking the time for this comment, dear Arline.
      Everyday when I do yoga, you pop into my head. Now the points you make here will be added.

      • arline says:

        Since I don’t have a blog to share with you, I will share some of my yoga practice. I put some poses on pinterest,, via flickr, I will be adding more posed periodically. I plan to get another website going, with a journal (blog). I need to do that for my art as well, but right now, I am just building up a photo gallery for each.

  14. Lavanya says:

    I know that feeling, B!! Usually travel helps- though traveling with a toddler isn’t what you would call what works for me is coming up with a new project outside of what is currently on my plate..even though that sounds inefficient (and probably is)- I feel like i am better equipped to work on what i have to when i think about useless things or ‘unnecessary’ or ‘hobby-like’ projects outside my current workload. Also, libraries and used bookstores. Always.

  15. anitathepianist says:

    Dear Birgit, feeling down after a peak experience is something that happens just about every time. I have a few suggestions that have worked for me.
    1. Massage…find a good practitioner for a full hour
    2. Find a natural body of water, preferably the sea, and swim
    3. Eat a full plate of oysters.
    4. Read a favorite novel and see what you missed last time.
    5. Bake a coconut cake, using fresh coconut..

    Hope some of these help.

    • Olfactoria says:

      What an extraordinary collection of fabulous tips. I feel better just reading your lovely list. The sea and oysters will have to wait a bit (as Austria is as landlocked as can be), but the rest I’ll try to do this week. Thank you dear Anita!

  16. Suzanne says:

    It’s funny: whenever I’m feeling this way, I have some panicky moments where I think, “What if I’m completely tapped out and will never do anything creative again?!!” (because part of me likes to panic, I think), and then my mind will actually try to answer that question – and when I get to the point where I can honestly say that if I never do another creative thing, I still can wake up in the morning to the sound of mourning doves cooing, and I can still make a darn good salad and do the kinds of kooky things that makes my family laugh, then just acknowledging the truthfulness of that is enough for me to relax and get in the flow of life again.

  17. sylviavirginia says:

    There are so many things to suggest but who knows what will work for YOU! You can snuggle down with a good book by a favorite author; go to an art museum and imbibe landscapes and people in paint; there is walking perhaps in a new park or new trail at a slow leisurely pace to just empty the mind; for me food shopping especially in the produce department where you can gift yourself with flowers, oranges, lemons, apples, they are all so beautiful instill a happiness that can springboard into doing a creative journey to somewhere. Acts of kindness are especially buoying to the soul and spirit.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for bringing up the small things that are so important. It is easy (for me at least) to just do them mindlessly while indulging my inner martyr instead of enjoying life while I’m living it. Thank you for reminding me of another possibility.

  18. Suzy Q says:

    Not so much where as how: be playful about whatever you are doing. As a visual artist I’ve found this to work well. Have no expectations, turn off the internal censor and do something fun, silly, backwards, whatever feels playful.

  19. The wheel of life–can’t escape the rotations–but–I have found that even a short walk in the civilized mountains in the Bernese Oberlands provides a number of streams of inspiration:
    1.Large scale panoramic views of strangely carved mountains;
    2.Huge reservoirs of water stored in glaciers;
    3.Incredibly diverse plants and flowers at my feet;
    4.The sounds and smells of 700 years of simple agriculture in the valleys;
    5.Oxygen recharge in my lungs to clear out the stale, the lingering; and,

    …there is always something unforeseen that twists its way into my thoughts, before I even begin my walk back home. This place has worked for me for decades!

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