This past week, the Ideafest focused on the importance of inspiration. Not  surprisingly, all sorts of inspiring things kept popping up including this e-mail from Julie Fewster who lives in Northwich, Cheshire UK:

I took a look at Inspiration Station  earlier this month, when after a joyful Christmas I was trying to get back into the swing of a heavy workload.  The “take a fresh look at your workstation” element seemed to speak directly to my heart! I have two work areas, my creative space and my kitchen. I generally work in the kitchen of my house as it has most light and a wonderful view of our garden, which even in the depths of an English winter can be uplifting. 

On the day I read your article I was struggling to focus on the work I was meant to be doing. I took a look around me and realized I wasn’t surprised, there were too many distractions about, dishes to be done, stuff to be put away. Fighting back the little voice that said “You’re just avoiding work, Julie” I decided to take 15 minutes to tidy up around me. I went through the place like an angelic whirlwind. 15 minutes later I sat down at my PC and worked 5 hours straight, finishing more than I thought I could achieve that day. I am delighted I had spent 15 minutes decluttering.

Last week I found time to look at my “creative space”. I used to love sitting in the work space I had created whilst working, or should I say playing, my way through The Artists Way some years ago, in recent months I haven’t used it.  No, if I’m honest a year or more has passed since I spent any time there. It was sadly neglected, and I guess that reflected also the amount of attention my creative spirit has been getting too.  The good news is I have taken some simple steps which transformed it. I have my desk facing the window so I have space to gaze into and think big, I have changed the scenery, the pictures and the objects I have around me and fairy lights for added sparkle and I find that I am rejuvenated.  Thank you for the nudge in the right direction, 2009 seems more exciting just as a result of these simple actions.

My friend Peter Vogt, author of Career Wisdom for College Students, shares my desire that colleges offer more entrepreneurial options. Peter alerted me to a terrific piece in the NY Times called Dreamers and Doers that highlights some colleges who are doing just that.

I also tried to convince Peter to become part of the Twitter community. Here’s the message I sent him about that:

I don’t understand many of the tools and tricks, either, but I do know that it makes me smile at least once a day…usually more often. Here are three examples:

1. Just found this in my box and linked to a great article: Hammering With Bananas, Or How to Build a Freelance Career In Bad Conditions

2. I finished up a teleclass the other night, checked messages and there on Twitter was one that said, “I’m taking Barbara Winter’s teleclass right now. This woman is a walking encyclopedia. I wished she lived next door. I’d bribe her with fruit pies.”

3. My Gmailbox has a message I will never delete. It says, “Barack Obama is now following you on Twitter.”

I rest my case.

Here’s another discovery I made this week thanks to Twitter. If you’re a freelance writer, or want to be, check out Jenny Cromie’s The Golden Pencil, a luscious resource for freelancers.

Speaking of luscious, Springwise, the site that gathers new business ideas from around the world, was bursting this week with articles on everything from mixers for moms and babysitters to League of Rock, where amateur musicians can join a rock band for ten weeks. If you aren’t already on their mailing list, I urge you to sign up at once.

Rick Steves says it’s the most fascinating place he’s ever visited. He’s talking about Iran and his one-hour program, which I found spellbinding, is currently making the rounds on public television in the next couple of weeks. If it comes to a station near you, don’t miss it. 

One need not be wealthy, well connected, or even well educated to come up with a good new idea. Building a vision on excellence is open to anyone who wants to do good business. ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi