We all know the scene: You’re sitting in front of the computer, staring at a blank word document, trying desperately to conjure any ounce of creativity you have. By now, you’re beginning to wonder if you are simply “used up” in the creativity department and will never write something beautiful again.

Ahhh — that sounds familiar doesn’t it? The process of creation begins with inspiration which, in some cases, can be the most difficult and misunderstood step. As obvious as it sounds, in order to actually have inspiration, you have to, duh, get inspired. However, inspiration doesn’t come from nothing. It takes more than the sight of that vacant wall in front of your desk to spark the imagination caged within you. Whether you’re painting, writing, designing, or just looking for new ideas, these places might help you find inspiration and give you new thoughts to build from.

1. The Library

Go to your local library or try out a branch you haven’t seen before. Rummage through the children’s books. Pretend that you’re back in kindergarten and just picture read your way through the exotic illustrations. Maybe you’ll run across a childhood favorite that you had forgotten about and you can build your ideas off that memory. Try not to search with a purpose, and take your time wandering through the shelves and flipping through the pages.

2. Water

Find a lake, river, pond, or any body of water nearby and go sit by it. Get off your phone and just look around at your surroundings. Notice things. Pay attention to the pace at which the water travels and the way it ripples if something is cast into it. Pay attention to the reflection and the color schemes. Listen to the sounds and try to understand how the atmosphere as a whole makes you feel. Now express that through your creation.

3. Coffee Shop

Not only can you get some coffee, but you can get inspired while doing so! The best part about coffee shops is their individuality — no two coffee shops are the same. As soon as your foot crosses that threshold, it’s as if you have entered into an entirely new atmospheric “bubble.” Look at the shop as a whole, but also take the time to visually identify the individual parts composing the experience. Listen to the sounds of the espresso maker and the background music. Become a bystander to the scene taking place in the shop.

We are so used to the fast pace of our everyday lives that it feels odd to take a step back and observe things rather than interact with them. However, a key to finding inspiration is to take the time to perceive the smaller details and appreciate their simple beauty. It can become very frustrating when you feel out of new ideas and it is easy to blame your own inability, when in reality you just need to change something as seemingly unimportant as your scenery. Even if you just decide to go for a short walk, you are more likely to run into inspiration than if you were to stay inside. Pay attention to the small, commonly overlooked details and gather information with your senses. Appreciate the unappreciated and find beauty in simplicity.