Inspiration: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.
You have the drive, the motivation, the enthusiasm yet you don’t know what to draw, what to write, what creative task you can perform because all of a sudden you are faced with a lack of inspiration.
Let me tell you, I personally think inspiration is overrated. There are some words constantly being used within creative environments and that gave them a status they don’t really deserve, making them seem like a luxury item. Inspiration: you either have it or you don’t.
For years people have believed that inspiration was a divine thing that could only be received by those with a certain gift to make something with it. Yet today, 2020 let me tell you that inspiration is not something that strikes directly to those creatives, inspiration is everywhere and let me tell you a bit about how to make it knock on your door.
Inspiration comes and goes
In her book “Big Magic”, Elizabeth Gilbert doesn’t talk much about inspiration as we’ve previously defined it but more as ideas. She believes that out in the world there are millions of ideas floating around us, waiting to pick people who’d like to work with them. If we take this approach, inspiration or ideas are nothing we can catch or control, they rely on their free will to pick people.
As much I agree with Mrs. Gilbert, I am sure that she doesn’t sit all day waiting for ideas to ask her to work with her (although I bet she might have a few ideas cueing to do it), yet she keeps working on things as long as a new idea comes. That’s when we start with the practical side of this article.
So how do I find inspiration?
Being lazy and not working on things is not the best practice to let an idea know you’re available. I’m pretty sure if I were an idea, I would pick people who’re constantly polishing their skills and using their time to become better at their craft. Two top tips to make an idea notice you would be:
1. Show up: you’ve heard it many, many times yet is true. If you’re a writer, set aside time to write every day. If you’re a painter or a musician, set aside time of your day to practice. You can read more about creative time management in this article I wrote.
2. Start from what you have: I know, I know, you have no idea what to do when you show up, then I suggest starting from where you are: write about what’s in front of you, draw what’s on your desk, paint something you’ve already sketched. Play a song you already know on an instrument, making some changes to it. Starting from something that has been already done it’s a great way to prime yourself for inspiration.
From there, it will just get easier. Believe me, the showing up is the worst part but once you find your own tools to start and the determination to create a routine and pursue a project, all you can expect is ideas to knock on your door.
Last but not least, I want to close this article with one of my favourite quotes from a book I read ages ago, called Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris.
Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.Chuck Close.