Searching for Inspiration? Stop it!

A grassy field with mountains in background. Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com.

I waste a lot of my life searching for inspiration, or maybe using the excuse that that’s what I’m doing, when really what I’m doing is scrolling mindlessly through facebook, getting trapped in the youtube wormhole, or sorting through old files on my computer. I’ve always been a good procrastinator. Probably it comes naturally at some level, but the pro-procrastinator quickly realizes that she has to come up with excellent reasons for her procrastination. One of mine is that I just haven’t “felt that spark” to start writing yet, so I need to wait a little longer until it comes. More often than I would like, the process continues until the spark of desperation, rather than inspiration, arrives, and I realize I have a quickly approaching deadline and have to get to it.

While this strategy is effective in situations where there is a firm external deadline, it is utterly useless in situations, like my own independent projects, where the only deadline is set, and can easily be adjusted, by me. This leads me to believe that my “search for inspiration” method leaves a lot to be desired, and is probably seriously stunting my productivity, especially because I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been struck by inspiration while on these absent wanderings through the virtual environment.

People have different opinions about the way creativity works. I’ve heard some say that “forcing” creativity is not even possible, but I don’t see how that jibes with the centuries of commissioned music and art that we consider among the most magnificent human works in history. As far as I can tell, if you don’t dig the well, you’ll never get the water. I’m not saying digging wells is necessarily the most fun… it’s a sweaty task, and you could be exposing yourself to some poisonous gases on the way, but it’s worth it when you finally have a source of fresh, clean water at your disposal. Keep in mind, too, that the more you dig wells, the better you will be at doing it. It will always be work, but you will grow in strength, technique, and efficiency as you go.

I feel like if I applied my “search for inspiration” method to digging a well, it would be like wandering around a field waiting for a shovel to fall out of the sky and start hacking at the ground of its own volition while I busy myself examining daisies and cloud formations. A toddler could tell me that ain’t gonna get me water, but for some reason I’m convinced it’ll one day bring me art. 

Alls I’m saying is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity… and I’m tired of being creatively insane.