Wow, August flew by, didn’t it? I hope everyone had a great one, despite, well, everything. If you’re reading this, that means you made it through to September. Hooray!
I had a pretty good August, except for one thing: it kind of took the vizzing mojo out of me. I had all these plans to try new things, like CJ Mayes’ Python-assisted Shapes tutorial and Adam Mico’s curvy timeline Tableau tutorial – and I swear I will get to those – but there’s just something about the end of August that really takes the wind out of my sails. It happens every year.
So what’s a vizzer to do? I was recently inspired by Anne-Sophie Pereira’s latest tweet about vintage design books:
Anne-Sophie’s got the right idea: when stuck, go back to basics for inspiration. And so, here are three low-barrier techniques I’m using to get back into the swing of viz things:
Read What You Got
I took a page out of Anne-Sophie’s book (pun totally intended) and flipped through my library for inspiration. The one I always come back to: Giorgia Lupi’s Observe, Collect, Draw! It makes for a great kickstart to vizzing because it has exercises. Just getting your hands moving is a great place to find inspiration because it’s active. Here’s me doing one of the simpler exercises, making a mark for every breath I take in three minutes.
Other inspirational words: The DataFam Weekly Roundup from Tableau. The thing I like about the weekly blog series is how there’s always something for everyone, regardless of skill level – and level of effort. So whether you want to get hands-on with an all-day challenge or just a three-minute read, there’s a ton of inspiration to be found.
Watch What You Can
When I can’t viz, sometimes I like to watch others do it. One video I’ve had on repeat: the Iron Viz 2021 Qualifier Announcement.
I was in awe of all the submissions, and to see the Top 10 being presented in a row was pure inspiration. The commentary was especially valuable for someone like me, just starting out on my own data viz journey. At one point, Andy Cotgreave talked to the viewers just starting out in data viz and said something that has stuck with me:
The best way to learn a product like Tableau is to find data you care about.Andy Cotgreave, 2021
I hear you, Andy! I’m on the lookout.
Do Something Small
Sometimes making a whole viz can be a bit too daunting for the time I have. But I still wanna do something. In that case, I like going back to the DataFam Roundup to cherry pick the tips I can rework into my own pre-existing vizzes. In a recent roundup there was a great article from Andy Kriebel called “How to Compare to the Average with a Bar Chart” . I’d just done a comparison-to-average for work and so I came back to it and incorporated Andy’s tips. It’s not making a whole viz from scratch, and I’d hardly call it #MakeoverMonday material, but it’s something. It felt good to make a pre-existing viz just a little bit better. Thanks, Andy!
Two Andy’s in one post – that’s a record.
It’s OK to Take It Easy
I know I said I had three inspirational things to say, but I do have one more, call it a bonus: I dunno who needs to hear this, but it’s OK to take it easy sometimes. Building up pressure to make something can be just as detrimental as losing momentum. I know, it can be hard to cut yourself some slack – seems the last person I cut slack for is myself. If you need a hall pass or something, here, take mine.
What Inspires You?
So that’s it! What do you do to find inspiration? Share with me your book recommendations, any inspirational vids, or what you do to recharge!
As for me, I think I’m feeling something….
We will see, animated meme gif. We will see.