Occasionally I get the insatiable desire to be inspired. A fire lights in my mind and chest pushing me to find books, paintings, or music that might bring about an epiphany.
On those days I search for new pieces of writing, fantasy usually, or songs that I think will make me feel light and creative. I stumble through Pinterest board after Pinterest board hoping to find something that sparks that fire we call creativity.
Alas, this search usually only results in disappointment and frustration.
I think to myself “why can’t I find anything to help me? Why is nothing making me feel inspired?” and almost certainly I allow my inner-critic and anxiety to bring me down lower than I was before I started the journey.
For years, I toiled over this reoccurring situation. Why, why, why couldn’t I just feel inspired on cue?! Other people do it all the time, right?!
Wrong. Eventually I started to question whether I was going about this the right way. I refused to create anything unless I felt inspired by something else. I honestly thought I was incapable of making anything without that feeling guiding me.
I started talking to other people who wanted to be writers and artists and reading material from people who are writers and artists. I found out that I wasn’t alone. Lots of people struggled to feel a sense of overwhelming inspiration and very few of them could rely on that feeling to happen on its own.
The difference was people who already found success created anyway. Whether they felt inspired or not they forced themselves to make something! To write, draw, paint, or anything everyday regardless of their inspirational state.
It was then I found a saying penned by Jack London. “You can’t wait for Inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” This idea was revolutionary to me. It moved me and ironically inspired me to stop waiting for a sense of inspiration to craft.
One person close to me even went so far as to say something along the lines of inspiration is a farce. It’s a beautiful creature known throughout history much like the Unicorn!
I still sit blankly in front of my computer and notebook often chasing ideas through my head and trying to pick up on something to start with. The longer I wait for the “perfect” idea though, the less likely I am to make anything at all. Instead I need to work on just going for it. Write it all down, make all the picture sketches, and just start.
Starting is the hardest part.
Inspiration seems to be just a fancy word for dedication when it comes to creating things. People who are inspired are actually making the decision practice more often, force themselves to perfect their craft, and then spend tireless hours doing it over and over again.
So, go forth and chase inspiration!
If you’re having trouble getting out of an inspiration Black hole, try a few of these ideas out!
1. Go looking for new concepts and ideas. Get out of your hidey hole and go somewhere you haven’t been. Whether it be a nature hike, the library, a new store, or just a walk outside take a moment to notice the things around you. Take notes while you’re out!
2. Read outside your comfort zone. We all have areas of expertise and genres we are drawn to. Reading something new and unexpected can open new perspectives and avenues of thought. Pick a book or magazine and go!
3. Try a new format. If you always or mostly write blogs, or essays, or short stories. Give writing a format you’ve never tried a go. It doesn’t need to be perfect because it can help spark that fire you’ve been searching for.
Those three tips are inspired by this LifeHack article! https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/find-your-inspiration-jack-londons-way.html .