12 Days of Inspiration: Day 1

“I’ve got a light workload today, Bobby,” I said to Mabble’s owner. “I need something to write about.”

“Are you interested in writing a blog post on inspiration?” he asked me.

“Absolutely,” I responded. “When do you want it finished?”

“Could you get it to me by the end of the day?” Bobby replied.

And just like that, after a quick conversation, I have a broad writing prompt and a quick deadline. Now all I need is some inspiration to write on… inspiration.

The clock is ticking, and I need some ideas. Fast. Do I:

Go for a nature walk?
Turn on some music?
Feverishly search the internet?
Smoke some… salmon?
Start typing and hope for the best?

It’s too cold for a walk. I’m already listening to music. Searching the internet is like sifting through a garbage dump. I don’t have time to smoke salmon.

Looks like #5 is my only option.

If you’ve ever created anything, you know how vital inspiration is to the whole process. It doesn’t matter if you’re painting, making music, generating ideas for a sales pitch, building a block tower, or writing a blog post—inspiration is the wind that fills the creative sails.

 

– “Inspiration is to creativity
what breathing is to life.”

 

When used in a physical sense, the word literally means “to breathe in”, to inhale the oxygen necessary for our bodies to function. In the creative sense, it carries the same conceptual force—we inhale through our senses so that we can exhale creativity. Inspiration is to creativity what breathing is to life. Without it, our imagination slows down, sputters, and expires. Just like breathing, we must actively fill our creative lungs so they can exhale something new. We need something to breathe in.

Our lives are surrounded by endless sources of inspiration. While every human must inspire oxygen to live, creativity can be inspired by snow-capped mountains, or fascinating research, or having a stimulating conversation, or admiring a notable person, or [insert literally anything]. And we can open up unexpected sources of inspiration by trying new things, exploring possibilities, and expanding our horizons.

 

man writing in journal about inspiration

But, if you’ve ever had to create something on demand like I’m doing right now, or have had to create anything on a regular basis, you know that inspiration isn’t always there at the beginning. This poses major problems when we have deadlines to meet, as those of us who work in the creative field encounter daily. We can’t wait around for inspiration to strike. As I’ve learned, being inspired is both an active and a passive process. Inspiration happens to us, sure, but we can’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Oftentimes, we just need to get started.

What inspired me to write this post? Turns out, it was simply a prompt from Bobby, a tight deadline, and a keystroke. Then another. Then another. And as I’m coming to find out, I have a lot more to say on the subject than I was previously aware.

So if you’re not feeling inspired, maybe it’s already in you and you won’t know that until you start. So take a breath, then take your first step. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you exhale.