Aug 31, 2010
on letting the cat out of the bag
Inspiration can be a little bit like a cat. Just when you seek it out and want it to pay attention to you, it walks away, turns it back, gives you the cold shoulder. But if you pretend to ignore it, sit down and get to work and let it come to you, suddenly, there it is, rubbing its nose against your hand, asking to be noticed.
Some days no matter what, you just don't feel inspired. Fear gets in the way, life gets in the way, all those things we have to do, chores and work and caretaking and maintaining, and what do you do when you just don't feel it?
Do you walk away in frustration? Give up? Or do you sit down and wait?
I have, at different times, done all three. Sometimes if something isn't working, I let it rest and come back later to find that the solution has come into focus. Sometimes I do something entirely different to distract myself, to give my mind a chance to think about something completely unrelated. Sometimes I sit there and wait, and nothing happens.
And it is those times that make me realize that inspiration isn't outside of me, it is within me. If I begin, if I stop trying to call it into my lap and go about my business, it will suddenly show up, looking for me.
If I can't think of anything to write about, I just sit down and start typing, recording my thoughts and feelings and observations, even if they seem stupid or boring or inconsequential. And sometimes they are. Sometimes it is all just words. But more often than not, something starts to happen as I move through the process. I start to feel the flow of thoughts and the meaning behind the words. I start to feel that I have something to say, even if moments before, I had nothing. I start to feel inspired.
To get better at anything, you have to practice. Over and over and over and over. I think it is the same with inspiration. You have to put yourself in the right place, give yourself the time and the freedom to find it.
So pick up your pencil and start writing. Anything at all: what you did today, what you're thinking about, your frustrations, your joy, what you wish you were doing, what you are grateful for.
Walk around with your camera in hand and start taking pictures. Don't wait for the perfect shot, just start shooting. With a digital camera, there is no reason not to. Get down low or stand on something high to change your perspective.
Pick up a paintbrush and start painting. Or your knitting needles. Or some beautiful paper. Choose a color and begin. Play.
Look so busy that inspiration will wonder what you are up to and come over to investigate.
And the next thing you know, it will be there, on your lap, purring away.
Kelly Letky - The Blue Muse