How to Never Run Out of Inspiration
Writer's block, blank canvas syndrome; we all worry that we're going to get stuck. With good reason too. Most of us have been, or are stuck. The general consensus seems to be that life is mostly drudgery interspersed with, rare, shining moments of brilliance that we must savor and cling to. But what if that isn't the whole truth?
What if it's a whole lot easier than that? Here are the realizations that made a difference for me:
1. Inspiration is endless and generous
So you create, so will you be inspired. Yes! I promise! go ahead and try it... there are millions of ideas waiting to be had, endless ways to arrange musical notes and beats, and squillions (that's right: squillions) of people, places, creatures, and objects that have not yet been filmed photographed or painted. Just invite them in. "But", you might say, "what if they aren't any good?" Ah. excellent. Glad you asked.
2. Lower your standards
I'm serious. Don't worry, you can still have them. Standards are good! Standards are what keep us working hard, developing our tastes, and striving to be better at what we love. Cherish your standards, but ignore them for the time being. Here's why: what keeps us from seeing the wild abundance of inspiration all around is our expectation of what it should or shouldn't look like. People think that when they do what they love they have to love everything that they do. You might not. That is okay. You don't have to marry it, show it off, or even keep it if you don't like it. The thing is: when we start saying no to inspiration, we give up the opportunity to mold, shape and work with an idea until it meets our standards.
3. Archive everything
Write everything in a note book, use your voice memo function on your phone compulsively, keep an illustrated journal (my favourite). This practice is important for several reasons: it means you don't have to finish your first idea before you start another one. That way you can have big bursts of inspiration without getting totally overwhelmed. Secondly, when it's time for action and your sitting at your desk/canvas/instrument you won't go blank, and if you do, you can just go back to your notes. Plus, if one day you feel like you'll never have an idea again, you will have concrete evidence that the last time you felt that way it turned out not to be true.
This is the most important one by far. If you keep your eyes ears and heart open you will be inspired. If you keep up your practice and create as much as possible you will get better and you will make things you like. Even on your less or non productive days just stay connected to what you love and what you are doing. Our muses love it when we daydream, relax and treat them like they are always with us. Because they are.