Ripping Out Inspiration: Idea Folders

I was about to blog about an article I ripped out of a magazine a while back–it’s lying crumpled, dog-eared right next to my Mac. But instead, I thought I’d focus more on the physical paper and the important act of “ripping out inspiration” when you come across it.

I recently interviewed a songwriter for’s Pulse blog (for those who don’t know, my other job is creative director of ful, pronounced “fuel,” a bag and lifestyle brand) and he said that the biggest downfall of a songwriter isn’t that they lack inspiration, it’s that they don’t know how to capture inspiration when it comes to them. “People, there isn’t a right inspirational moment!” he said.I thought this was such a profound statement and it applies to anyone who has a creative passion about something.

I could really relate to this statement since I have been carrying around an “Idea Folder” for years. I learned early on that inspiration doesn’t come pulsing into your body like a bolt of lightening or the “ah ha” moment set to music in Lifetime movies. Also, we are so inundated with information there is no way for us to remember the tons of cool quotes, websites, trends, recipes, exercises, contacts and tips we come across on a daily basis. And I strongly believe that the info we as individuals consider cool (aka, the stuff we personally chose to rip out because it’s relevant to our lives and our tastes) shapes who we are. No doubt. Just like a finger print… no one person would rip out the same combination of articles, recipes, tips or tricks.

So, how do you get started?

Just get a folder you can slip in your purse or laptop bag (ful bag anyone?).

Label it “Inspiration Folder” or “Idea Folder” (this reinforces its purpose when you glimpse at it in your bag).

Grab a folder!

Just label it “Inspiration Folder” and put it in your bag

Just label it “Inspiration Folder” and put it in your bag.

Then rip! If you read on the plane, while on the cardio equipment, morning paper with your coffee, or monthly subscriptions. Note to self. If you are in the beauty salon or other waiting area, do not rip out the article unless you ask (this is Tacky with a capital T). And everyone “goes on a tear” for different reasons. I personally tear for my jewelry company, the bags, blogging, fashion trends, new websites and because I’m looking to renovate my house. It makes me happy.

I love to cut out snippets from WWD in the morning with my coffee

I love to cut out snippets from WWD in the morning with my coffee

Then, when you have some time, examine your folder. Ask yourself, “Why did I rip this out? How should I follow up on this cool info?” Also, if you don’t follow up on the lead right away, it’s interesting to revisit the tears/cutouts a month or two later and see if you still find them interesting, or the trends still cool/relevant. If you do, I would act on it.

Do you keep an inspiration folder? If so, what are some things you find inspiring? Have a wonderful week and remember to keep counting your goals… or things that inspire you.


  1. Lisa says

    I’ve had a ‘swipe’ file for years & years. It’s now a ‘swipe box’! It’s ideas, inspirations, feel-goods, quotes and anything that may inspire or get me thinking out of the box.

    ps: I’ve been known to rip out of mags without asking.

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