I was first introduced to StumbleUpon by one of my college roommates. It was one of those, “I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it in so I’m going to do nothing” kind of days, and I couldn’t believe how quickly I was sucked into Stumbling. It instantly became my #1 procrastination/time-killing tool. I found hilarious pictures, random little games, and lots of recipes that I swore to myself I would make one day (I’m still working on…all of them).
I eventually decided that my time would be better spent on homework and projects, so I pushed StumbleUpon out of my brain for two years. After I graduated I slowly fell back into it, only this time I had a purpose. I focused on interests that were relevant to my degree, and I discovered a whole new world.
I discovered the world of inspiration.
Instead of trying to kill time, I was actively looking for things to inspire me. The way that StumbleUpon opened new doors at the click of a button astonished me every single time it brought up a new page. The hardest part of creating for me is getting started. Once I have an idea, I can run for miles with it. It’s just the “getting the idea” part that’s tricky. With the help of StumbleUpon I was finding myself able to get the ball rolling, and ideas were springing out left and right.
I didn’t really have to change my Stumbling habits to do it. Initially I set up my interests as a broad spectrum of randomness, but I realized I could narrow them down to specific categories and topics, which made my Stumbling more productive. I gave up on the idea of being completely original (after all, everything is a remix), and decided it was okay to take snippets of ideas from others and make them unique. After all, isn’t that what creating is all about?
So if you’re in a bit of a creative rut, StumbleUpon is a great tool to get the wheels turning in your head. Here are a few quick tips to help you get the most out of Stumbling:
- Choose 1 interest to Stumble. Just type it into the search bar and hit “Enter.” It will bring up relevant images, articles, and websites that can help to get you started.
- Limit yourself to that 1 interest. It’s very easy to get side-tracked and swept up in the world of Stumbling. One funny image can lead you to a game, which can lead you to a blog, which can lead you to wasting hours and hours. If you find yourself getting led away from your interest, make your way back to it.
- Give yourself a time limit. Sitting in front of your computer all day waiting for inspiration to strike isn’t going to be very helpful. Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour of Stumbling. That will be more than enough time to find something to give you a creativeÂ kick-start.
- Keep a pencil and notebook next to you so you can write down or sketch out ideas as they come to you. That way you won’t forget them when you sit down to create later. A good idea is useless if you can’t remember what it was.