Is creativity innate or does it require inspiration? And if so, where do you get your inspiration? The Artist is often subject to “the muse” waiting for her to ring a bell or light a light, sometimes she hits you in the head with a hammer, it is then the artist creates his masterpiece. The Writer is subject to the same muses or is she? There is a lot of conventional wisdom out there that suggests the writer simply writes, put the words on the paper. Which is it, do you need inspiration to move you brightly or is it enough for you to go through the motions and just fill the pages?
I was reading a story about a parapalygic who was depressed and defeated by her condition. She just wasn’t in the mood to deal with people let alone deal with the rigors of her physical therapy or the day in day out chores of daily life. She could not muster the enthusiasm to get out of bed or make a meal. Then, at the suggestion of a friend, she turned on a live broadcast of a motorcycle race. At first she was concerned for the safety of the riders, but slowly became rapt. Reveling in the speed, the spectacle and the determination she saw in the competitors. Almost instantly she was removed from her plight, shed of her pain and worry. For that 45 minutes at least she did not need to struggle or feel but for the gladiators at their competition. Becoming a fan of the sport she would watch regularly and became revivified by the feats of daring-do she witnessed. Now inspired to see an event in person she is engaged with the physical therapy and helping to develop the prosthetic limbs that will help her walk again and allow her to get to an actual race.
This example shows us that it doesn’t matter where you get your inspiration so long as you build on it and use it to create that which you want to achieve. It is impossible for me to maintain the energy level to be creative all the time and I know, and have written elsewhere about, the difficulty of churning out content, keeping up with work demands, and living up to one’s potential, but you have to find the motivation where you can.
Whether it is overcoming pain and trauma after an accident, the sadness and emptiness after a loss, or just the day to day crushing fatigue and ennui of surviving in these “historically significant” times you have to find that beam of light that keeps you going. Even if it is just Darth Vader coming at you with his illuminated lightsaber.
We are wont to cling onto any flotsam in a storm and in so clinging it might just save your life. But clinging is drifting and drifting is not moving forward and like sharks we must always be moving forward lest we sink. In order to be inspired we need to take charge of our situation, and for us to take charge we must feel the inspiration, the two go hand in hand. There is the adage “fake it ‘til you make it” which is a great way to overcome impostor syndrome or that feeling of not really being worthy of the possession and responsibility with which you find yourself. But it also works with motivation and inspiration. If you are not enthusiastic about something, that’s ok. Feign the enthusiasm and get on with it, the enthusiasm will come (maybe not until you are done but…) Same is true for inspiration, fake it. Even if all you can muster is to pick up a book or turn on the MotoGP race there may be something there to lift you up. And in case you missed it, never admit when you’re faking. 😉