September 6, 2004

donít worry about finding inspiration


More thoughts on "How To Be Creative":

24. Donít worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.
One of the reasons I got into drawing cartoons on the back of business cards was I could carry them around with me. Living downtown, you spend a lot of time walking around the place. I wanted an art form that was perfect for that.

So if I was walking down the street and I suddenly got hit with the itch to draw something, I could just nip over to the nearest park bench or coffee shop, pull out a blank card from my bag and get busy doing my thing. Seamless. Effortless. No fuss. I like it.

Before, when I was doing larger works, every time I got an idea while walking down the street Iíd have to quit what I was doing and schlep back to my studio while the inspiration was still buzzing around in my head. Nine times out of ten the inspired moment would have past by the time I got back, rendering the whole exercise futile. Sure, Iíd get drawing anyway, but it always seemed I was drawing a memory, not something happening at that very moment.

If youíre arranging your life in such a way that you need to make a lot of fuss between feeling the itch and getting to work, youíre putting the cart before the horse. Youíre probably creating a lot of counterproductive ďMe, The Artist, I must create, I must leave something to posterityĒ melodrama. Not interesting for you or for anyone else.

You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy to take full advantage of your inspired moments. They never hit at a convenient time, nor do they last long.

Conversely, neither should you fret too much about ďwriterís blockĒ, ďartistís blockĒ or whatever. If youíre looking at a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to you, then go do something else. Writerís block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something.

Why? If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough. I the meantime, youíre better off going out into the big, wide world, having some adventures and refilling your well. Trying to create when you donít feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation. Itís not really connecting, itís just droning on like an old, drunken barfly.

Posted by hugh macleod at September 6, 2004 9:00 PM | TrackBack

Weird... *Asterisk has also just published a post on exactly the same subject:

It's not the first time I've seen two bloggers thinking the same thoughts at the same time.

Posted by: Thalwilblogger at September 8, 2004 12:35 PM

Thanks for the link. I read it. Good one ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at September 8, 2004 12:41 PM