Recently I received an SOS from a woman who couldn’t do what she does because she couldn’t see anything in it worth doing.
That’s cryptic. Let me get more specific. Imagine a painter who looked at the world and saw nothing that inspired her to paint. Or a writer who looked around and saw nothing that inspired her to write.
This is a common misconception about Inspiration–that we must first be inspired. We can’t start anything until we’re inspired. Unfortunately, ascribing to that mindset means never doing much. Talk about it, worry over it, flirt with it, but don’t actually do much.
This waiting for inspiration–patiently or not–can last days, weeks, or years.
We think, “What? I don’t have years to sit around waiting for inspiration.”
Who does? Which raises the question–not of what can I do to hurry inspiration along, but what can I do to inspire inspiration to strike? There is a difference.
Inspiration needs to be inspired? Huh?
Absolutely, it does.
Say, for example, you write. You stopped reading, and you stopped engaging in the world. You wanted time alone with your thoughts and took it. You liked it. So you just kept on being alone with your thoughts. You isolated yourself. What did you do then?
If you dove headlong into research about something you loved, you’d be inspired. If you studied people you admired or who intrigued you, you’d be inspired. If you got fascinated by something, you’d find inspiration in it.
If you didn’t do anything to inspire inspiration, then that’s what you’ve got–uninspired inspiration.
Inspiring inspiration doesn’t have to be a big deal or complex. Let me share something that happened to me.
The other night, Hubby was watching some TV program that didn’t interest me. I went onto Pinterest and looked at quotes. I love quotes. To me, reading them is like reaping the harvest of wisdom gathered by all who came before me. I clicked on one that spoke to me, and beside it, on that person’s board, was another board about abandoned structures. Homes, mansions, churches, cities! The stories of those who abandoned them and why weren’t there. Just the photos. The photos fascinated me. I looked at hundreds and hundreds of photos and my imagination fired off in hundreds of directions, spinning out the who and why in them.
Now I wasn’t actively seeking inspiration, but I found it. And that happens to writers when researching, too. They come across things that intrigue them and fascinate them and the next thing they know, that discovery is driving the plot or motivating the character or spinning a new series of books.
The painter feels drawn to specific things and, in seeking them out, will note something that sparks the desire or need to paint.
My point is that all creative wells run dry. We need rain–to refill the well. We need to explore something so that our interest is piqued, our imaginations take flight. We need to stoke the fires in ourselves and seek things that can inspire us.
That’s the truth about inspiration. It needs to be inspired. And it’s waiting (likely tapping its foot) for us to seek it.