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Today, we’re talking ALL about inspiration, which is especially important for those of us who create for a living. If you’ve been feeling discouraged and uninspired in your creative pursuits, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Keep reading, inspiration lies ahead! 🌬️
As I’ve started pursuing a career in the creative space, I’ve come to understand just how crucial inspiration and imagination really are. Even the brilliant Albert Einstein once said,
I’m completely fascinated by creativity and the creative process. Along my journey – as someone who follows Jesus and believes that creativity is sacred and comes from our Creator – I’ve noticed that topics like art and faith, creativity and faith, and even business and faith are often kept separate from each other. It can be tough to find resources that bring all those things together in a meaningful way. My hope is that I can fuse those topics together and start in the realm of inspiration.
I want to share from a few resources that truly inspired me in my pursuit of inspiration. First is a book called Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. On the back of the book she writes:
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.
What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.
We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.
We are terrified, and we are brave.
Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.
The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
In her book, Elizabeth tells a story of how she had an idea for a book that she kept putting off and putting off. One day, she ran into a friend who had the EXACT same idea! I’m talking down to every last detail. Elizabeth believed that the idea was meant for her, but because she didn’t pursue it, the idea found someone else. Talk about a missed opportunity!
That thought is a nice little segue into some research I did about inspiration. This is a study from the Harvard Business Review. It’s called “Why Inspiration Matters”. The study was conducted by Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J Elliott, and in this study, they discovered what they call “The Inspiration Scale”.
Basically, this measures the frequency with which a person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. In the article, they open up about inspiration, saying, “This moment of clarity is often vivid, and can take the form of a grand vision, or a “seeing” of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there).”
This is interesting because both the book and this study I shared suggest that creativity is already within us!
Elizabeth Gilbert, while I’m unsure of her religious worldview, seems to be a very spiritual person. She believes there are treasures within you that are waiting to be uncovered by you. It’s always been there, you just need to discover it as you live your life.
The other book I want to share is Naming the Animals by Stephen Roach. Stephen, who is a Christian (and host of The Makers & Mystics Podcast, which I LOVE), dives deeper into the whole idea of us being creative because we are created by our Creator. And He (God) is the ultimate Creative Being. So you have very different people with different worldviews still coming to the same conclusion about inspiration and creativity.
Some of the highlights from the Harvard Business Review study
In Naming the Animals, Stephen Roach talks about inspiration in the second chapter and gives a quote from Picasso,
This is very interesting because, again, in the study that we found from Harvard they said work mastery also came before inspiration, suggesting that inspiration is not purely passive but does favor the prepared mind.
Stephen continues talking about how inspiration means breath or spirit. The Latin word for ‘inspiration’ means ‘to breathe or blow into’. So, inspiration as we know it is intimately related to receiving from God. I love this particular excerpt from the book:
“Of course not every moment of life is a euphoric experience. Inspired or not, the bills are due and have no regard for our epiphany. The sick relative still needs a ride to the doctor, and the air conditioning needs to be fixed. However, even the most ordinary days and the most ordinary objects can glow with the residue of heaven. The mundane itself can offer extraordinary inspiration for those who have trained themselves to see with new eyes. Perhaps inspiration is more of an approach to life than a lightning bolt of ideas. It is an attuned way of seeing and responding. Inspiration isn’t a matter of waiting for goose bumps before we get down to work. Receiving inspiration can be a learned discipline as well as a moment of unexpected euphoria.”
If you’re aiming to create for a living, you’re going to have to shift your perspective and start seeing the world with new eyes, just like the book said. You can’t rely on inspiration to strike only when you’re feeling particularly inspired. Nope, as a professional creative, you need to be able to tap into inspiration as a way of life. But how do you do that when inspiration can be so elusive?
Well, it starts with changing the way you think about life and the world around you.
As creatives, we have the power to live in a constant state of inspiration, always ready to create something amazing. It’s not always easy. Creating for a living can be tough because it’s such a personal part of who we are. And let’s be real, a lot of people don’t really understand the amount of problem-solving and critical thinking that goes into being a creative. They just see us as “the artsy ones” who draw pretty pictures or play on our computers. But we know the truth –
And that means we need to start changing the way we think about things within ourselves. It’s a constant process of accessing creativity and inspiration, and always striving to think in new and innovative ways.
I remember a time at my old job, where we were brainstorming for a creative project, and my boss reminded us we’d need to set aside “thinking time”. I was like, “Huh? Thinking time?” It had honestly never occurred to me that I needed time just to simply ponder and think before actually diving into creating. But now, I always set aside time to do just that – it’s all part of the creative process, even if I’m not physically producing anything at the moment.
It was a huge revelation for me when my boss said that. I realized:
Now I even have special sessions with my projects where I just explore, play, and follow my curiosity without any pressure to arrive at a specific outcome. When you feel that spark of inspiration, you’ve gotta trust the process and follow it down the rabbit hole, even if you don’t know where it’ll lead. It’s okay if you can’t see the end – just focus on that next step and see where it takes you. Some of my favorite creations have come from just allowing myself to follow inspiration wherever it leads.
I’ve got some takeaways and tips to share with you for when you’re lacking inspiration.
It doesn’t have to be related to your work. For me, it’s space! Learning about the mysteries of space instantly puts me in a state of wonder and feeds my creative soul. So, whenever I feel drained or lacking inspiration, I take a break from what I’m working on and go find inspiration in another place. Remember, if you are feeling lack, don’t feed the lack, feed what needs to be fed– your creative soul!
If you’re constantly scrolling through social media, it can be hard to make space for new ideas to take form in your mind. So, scale back on your social media consumption and give yourself the thinking time and space you need to let your imagination run wild. Remember, you need lots of thinking time. You need lots of space. You need to be bored. Boredom leads to imagination.
Be around children – they are always creative. Whenever I’m with my son Asher, he’s the most creative human being, and I think it’s because he doesn’t feel any pressure. He just leans into his own ideas and doesn’t compare himself to anybody. He’s so free in his creative process. I pay a lot of attention to him whenever he’s creating or playing because it’s so inspiring to me. I know that the closer I get to that inner child, the more joy I’ll find in what I create, and it’ll be so aligned with who I am as a person. Not being childish, but being childlike, approaching creativity with that childlike wonder. If you’re feeling really weary in the creative process, I think connecting to your inner child in that childlike wonder can be life-giving.
Open up your mind to get outside of the monotony of what you do day-to-day and try something new, whether it’s related to your field or not. I think no matter what, inspiration is fuel for your mind and your creative soul. So if you feed yourself inspiration, it’ll give life to whatever it is that you create.
I want to encourage you to explore and discover who you truly are as a creative person. Make it a discipline to explore your creative self. The reason I’m emphasizing this is because in the world of creative work, it can be tempting to get lost in the noise of social media, comparison, and other distractions. It’s important to know when it’s healthy for you to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram and when it’s time to step away and connect with yourself on a deeper level. It’s all about bringing the wonder and curiosity into your creative process and infusing it with your own unique, beautiful perspective and creativity.
I’d love to hear some of your tips to deal with a lack of inspiration. Make sure to leave me a comment here or visit the socials to say hello!
I hope that this inspired you today to think in a new way– to think differently about how you create, to connect deeper to your creative process and your inner child, and to give you permission to create the way that is authentic to you.
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