What to do when inspiration evaporates
My fingers are slow on the keys this morning, so darned cold. My brain feels like it needs warming up too. Are we sure that humans aren’t meant to hibernate?
I’ve been wondering what to write this week; waiting for inspiration to strike. Waiting … waiting … I’ve felt like just giving into the temptation to write an apology e-mail to my editor: ‘I got nothing. Catch you next Wednesday’. That would be easy ...
From what I know of it though, the creative process is rarely ‘easy’. Sure it has its moments, when golden nuggets seem to fall from the sky like gifts — an idea, a line, a perspective. That is inspiration striking. Don’t we love those ‘ah-ha’ moments?
The problem is, they always seem to arrive in their own, often inconvenient, time: in the middle of the night whilst driving and you can’t write it down, or when the conversation is over and you think of exactly what you should have said instead. We can’t always count on them showing up when we need them, or even showing up at all.
You may be wondering what this has to do with you. “I’m not creative!” I hear some people say. Pah! The process of insight and ideas is alive in all of us. We are all creative. We all express our creativity in different ways — not just through the typically creative arts but through problem-solving, innovation, through numbers, management, perhaps on the sports field — but we all have it.
So if we all sit around waiting for inspiration to strike there’s a chance nothing will get done at all. Clients often come to me reporting they’ve lost their ‘mojo’ — their spark, light, pep, zeal, purpose. They’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike but gotten stuck, waiting.
Inactivity can create distance into which doubt can creep in. Doubt is a great quasher of creative thinking. The whole creative process, I find, is a battle against doubt. It can niggle in at any point along the creative journey and must be constantly overcome to allow our new ideas and thinking to be fulfilled and take their place in the world.
Staying connected to our inspiration, even when it’s being slow to respond, means at least we’re open and ready for it when it is. So how can we throw ourselves into inspiration’s path?
• Create time and thinking space for it even when we are not involved directly in a project
• Expose ourselves to others’ ideas and creative work in our field to keep us current
• Expand our horizons and circles of knowledge to see where new ideas might spring from
• Most of all, by doing the work even when it doesn’t feel fun and easy.
Even when inspiration’s not dropped in our laps we can keep diligently plugging away at our ideas, improving our skills and working through ways forward. The fallow fields are readying to be planted. Making space and creating a positive environment for inspiration to strike might invite it sooner. There’s no way I can write my column if I’m not at my computer, not honouring the time I set aside to do it, and if I don’t even try. And look, here it is.
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.</i>
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