Whenever I find myself in a creative funk, I have a list of web sites that I can visit that instantly give me a shot of inspiration. I try to visit most of them everyday, and have found that merely studying these great sites on a consistent basis has expanded my own capacity for being creative. Opening up to other’s creative work is a great way to broaden our horizons and helps us think outside the box.
1. SpringWise – A database of great ideas that any entrepreneur can act on to help you start the “next big thing”. There are some great, fun ideas, plus they showcase the latest trends of entrepreneurship.
2. WhyNot? – Much like SpringWise, WhyNot? has lots of user-submitted ideas for any ambitious soul to take under their wing and develop. However, WhyNot? is more of a community for entrepreneurs than SpringWise, which can be a bit more helpful at times.
3. Digg – You can find a smattering of news, tips and other odd things on the Digg homepage. Digg’s users find the best of the web, and the community voting does a wonderful job of showcasing quality news and compelling links. You know it’s a good site when LifeDev has been on the homepage a few times ;)
4. Del.icio.us Popular – I love the del.icio.us popular page. One can find the most creative and interesting articles and tools on the Internet on the Del.icio.us popular page. It’s basically a barometer of what’s hot on the web with designers and techies alike.
5. Tumblr – Tumblr is another one of my personal favorites. Aside from creating your own Tumblelog, the Tumblr homepage showcases the best links, images and videos that people are sharing around the web.
6. Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day – Have a breathtaking shot of the cosmos, once a day. Nothing is more inspiring and mysterious than outer space, in my humble opinion. Perfect for shaking any sort of doldrums you might be in.
7. FlickrLeech – If you’re a visual person and love to view creative photos, check out FlickrLeech. You can browse just about any type of photo, plus the default view of Flickr Interesting page is very handy, especially if you need some creative wallpapers for your desktop.
8. LifeRemix – Shameless plug? Maybe. But I visit the site every day and am almost always inspired by the quality of writing. Note: Yes, I’m the co-founder of LifeRemix ;)
9. DocStoc – You can find some incredibly creative and informative documents that can lead to many ideas. You’d be surprised at the great content you can find at DocStoc.
10. WisdomQuotes – Nothing inspires more than a great quote from someone smarter than myself. I’ve done entire blog posts based on an inspiring quote.
11. Seth Godin’s blog – Aside from his uber-savvy marketing advice, there are plenty of untapped ideas and inspiration that he shares frequently with his readership. And you better believe that if Seth Godin dreamed it up, there’s a good chance he’s on the mark.
12. TechCrunch – Mike Arrington and company constantly showcase the newest and the best sites on the web at TechCrunch. There is plenty of inspiration that can be found just by seeing the newest thing in web applications. Many ideas I’ve had for web apps come directly from concepts introduced through TechCrunch. Here’s a tip: If you’re wanting to create the next big web phenomena, hang on to their every word.
13. Kottke.org – Jason Kottke has been posting interesting and creative information on the web for the past 10 years. He’s a favorite of many bloggers, and rightly so.
14. BoingBoing – One of the most popular blogs around, BoingBoing showcases the most “wonderful things” on the web. Like Kottke, BoingBoing does the dirty work of sifting through the web for the creme de la creme.
15. Google Docs – While not expressly a site for finding information, GDocs is a great tool for capturing ideas and thoughts. GDocs gives the perfect flexibility for saving quick ideas and then expounding on them later.
16. How to Change the World – Guy Kawaski is a fun guy with great ideas. Though his blog is geared slightly more to the marketing crowd, it’s chock-full of great ideas. I think the most stimulating thing about Guy’s blog is that it’s written with great voice and lots of humor.
17. MindMeister – Although I’m personally not a huge fan of online apps for creativity’s sake (other than GDocs), many people do like to use online mind-mapping tools for brainstorming. MindMeister is right up there with the best of the online mind-mapping tools because it’s quick and intuitive.
18. Twitter – Although the way I use twitter is more as a web service, (I use the twhirl twitter client), Twitter can use your friends to help you find interesting and creative articles to check out. You can quickly ask your friends if anyone has an idea for XYZ, and odds are someone can point you in the right direction. Also, your friends will most likely link to content that you’ll find interesting as well.
19. Smashing Magazine – A site that shares useful and interesting bits for web developers and designers. It likes to showcase the trendy and useful, which can stimulate creative ideas for any reader.