Once a month, Refinery29 cofounder and executive creative director Piera Gelardi stands up in front of the creative team at the R29 headquarters and asks the room a simple question: What’s inspiring you right now? The answers vary widely: film protagonists, TV show villains, an ad on the subway, the resilience of a friend. Recently, when Gelardi answers her own question, her first response is from the viewpoint of motherhood: her daughter.
“This year I’ve been really inspired by my daughter,” she says. “She’s a baby, but just watching her curiosity, how her brain works, how she connects the dots on certain things has been really inspiring. Just little things, like her determination to learn to crawl. Watching her learn to crawl, I was like, That’s basically my process every time I’m trying to do something new. You’re excited, or frustrated, but you keep at it, and then you do it. Everyone experiences that.”
For Gelardi, inspiration often strikes “in the middle of the night,” but she’s at her most creative when she’s surrounded by her collaborators. Still, no two creatives are exactly alike; when we teamed up with Adobe for its creativity conference, Adobe MAX, to poll R29 readers on Instagram, they mostly said the opposite: 72% said they were most creative alone, while 28% said they were at their most creative in a group setting.
Of course, preferences like whether or not you’re alone, working inside or outside, or even the best time of day to create are always shifting. Discovering how other people get inspired, and using that to inform your own creative practice, is all a part of the process. Take it from Adobe executive vice president and chief marketing officer Ann Lewnes: “I think it’s always changing because creativity is more than just a skill, it’s the way you think,” she says. “It’s always inside of you, so it’s a matter of tapping into that creativity and having the means to express it, and that can show up in different ways.”
So, how can we create to our highest potential? Below, find out where and when R29 readers feel the most inspired, and then, use that insight to start thinking about your own creative habits and how you can keep cultivating them.