I am excited to be participating in a blog carnival this week! A blog carnival is where a bunch of bloggers all do a story on a particular subject. In this case, the subject is, "How to stay creatively inspired" and you will be able to see all the awesome stories here.
I think there are two parts to this topic. The stated objective of staying inspired and the implied task of staying active in our creative pursuits. The former being impossible and the latter feeling like an impossible or at least Herculean task.
Cue one of my favourite quotes on this topic.
“Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Chuck Close
I don't mean to imply that inspiration doesn't exist or that it isn't important. I don't believe this was Chuck's intention either. What I am saying is that inspiration is not the force that sees us through. It does not motivate us to continue when the path becomes obscured or treacherous. It does not fuel us on those dreary days where we would rather just stay in bed for a few more hours. And it does nothing to help bring us back to that half finished piece discarded in a corner of our studio.
Inspiration is wonderful when it strikes and I am learning to capture its whims and fancies in a notebook for later reference or review.
But what keeps me moving forward is a dogged pursuit of something. It is the commitment to getting up two hours early each day to begin my daily creative ritual. It is found in the dedication of time every day to a creative pursuit or craft.
It is the showing up and the getting down to work, no matter how cold, dreary or un-motivating the day feels, that keeps us moving forward.
The tools that I have found helpful in this pursuit are as follows. There are three.
- A written purpose or calling that I can devote my heart and soul to.
- A daily ritual. Creating that time and place every day where I show up to do the work.
- A splash of Naiveté. A touch of ignorance and youthful determination goes a long way.
Artists are not formed of whimsy and fanciful notions. They are born out of a duty to something higher. They are born from the dedication to march forward, no matter how unqualified or insignificant they feel. They have been called and their choice is simple – answer the calling or turn away and hide.
If you want to explore this more, here are two short videos that might be of interest to you.