Where does your inspiration come from? Do gremlins come into your bedroom every night whispering story ideas into your ear? Does it sprout from a keyboard and into your mind? Where does this elusive thing come from?
Do you hold out and wait for the elusive beast that is inspiration? Do you stall because inspiration doesn’t seem to be knocking at your door? Do you wait until you never actually write again?
Stop waiting for inspiration.
Inspiration does not just magically appear.
Inspiration is a synthesis of experiences.
We are constantly encountering a world ripe with inspiration even if we don’t recognize it as (cue the choral singing and the shimmering lights) inspiration. That person you chatted with at the local coffee shop. That ragged dog loping along the street. That last glimmer of sunlight caught between clouds. That laugh you can’t forget.
Look around you for a moment. What inspiration can be gleaned from the room around you? From where I sit, I see a freshly restained coffee table patterned with intricate woodburnings done by sister. I see a huge black cat laying on an old chair passed down four generations. I see a pillow embroidered by my mother. I see lives. I see stories unfolding around me.
I see inspirations constantly swirling around me.
Bear with me for a moment. I’m going to go the ridiculous high school essay route of bringing up the definition of the word. Let’s go to our old friend Merriam Webster.
Inspiration: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.
We remember this definition. That is the one that plagues us. That is the one that tells us we are lacking the central quality of an artist. Remember for a second that inspiration has another definition we like to forget about.
Inspiration: the act of drawing in; specifically: the drawing in of air into the lungs.
There you are.
When it comes to inspiration I have one piece of advice for you: Breathe.