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Finding & Cultivating Inspiration

Writers and creatives often talk about "finding or lacking inspiration" when it comes to their creative work. In fact, inspiration is often talked about within the mindset and reality of suffering, that one has to suffer in order to be creative.

And yet, a simple look at the word, "inspiration" says otherwise.

"Inspire" comes from the Latin inspirare, which means:

  • to inhale

  • to breathe in

  • to anime (the soul)

  • or to give body to something.

Genesis 2:7 says, "Then the LORD God... [inspired] into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

I put a little edit in their to stress my point that being inspired requires no more effort than breathing.

Sounds too good to be true huh?

I would argue that finding inspiration can be as simple as breathing, being alive, or choosing to live and be as true to yourself as you can be. When we do that, ideas can come and flow more naturally.

Stop trying be creative and just be creative.

Get what I mean?

"Do or do not. There is no try," as Yoda would say.

In her book, The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron talks about the practice of morning pages, wherein she encourages us to sit down, every morning, with a notebook and write out 3 full pages of automatic, stream-of-consiousness writing.

Don't try to censor, critique, or criticize whatever it is you're writing. Just write. This practice teaches us to stop trying to resist our own innate sense of creativity and just allow that creativity to flow.

Because for most of our lives, that's what we've been doing. We continue to put ourselves down because we feel that our work isn't up to the standards that others place them. And to a certain extent, we should learn to qualify our work and our output.

However, creativity and ideas are a whole other conversation from our output.

If you find yourself stuck, or blocked, or staring at a blank page, sometimes the solution is to just start writing.

W.H. Murray once wrote, "Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.'"

Don't try to be creative. Just be.

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