April 20, 2017

A Letter to the Uninspired.

Has inspiration ever entered your bones?

There are days when inspiration crawls deep inside of you, vibrating through your organs, and swirling through your blood. You feel nauseous and alive.

Those days where self-discovery is synonymous with breathing, and every moment brings you closer to understanding who you are, even if that “someone” lasts only until tomorrow when you will become someone new.

I live for those days.

But why is it that this inspiration is so fleeting? Leaving you just as quickly as it came. Leaving you alone and confused.

It’s funny, you know? This thing called art.

One minute you’re on top of the world, ready for whatever might come your way. Ideas are tumbling out of your head. The next, you’re curled up in a ball wanting sleep to come, wanting the darkness to take over so that you don’t have to feel the emptiness—the lack of creative energy, the lack of inspiration.

And then there are those moments in between. The moments of nothing. The moments of numbing silence. The moments of loneliness.

But today, I feel okay. I think I might even feel inspired.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell whether the idea of being “inspired” is fantasy or reality. Yet I believe in it with every ounce of my being.

Does inspiration strike only when I desire to feel it?
Is it all in my head?
What is it, really?
And where does it come from?
Is it real?

I like to think of inspiration as a sort of glittering mist—a mist that floats into your world causing you to believe you’re feeling “inspired,” but as soon as you put pen to paper or brush to canvas, the mist clears and you’re left with nothing: loneliness.

Even when you do manage to write something or paint something or make something, it’s all worthless. Flawed beyond repair. Worthy of no one’s eyes but your own. Destined to be lost in the void with the mist you once called inspiration.

Yet, you can’t stop creating. You just can’t.

But today, I feel okay. I feel good. And there is a faint sparkle in the air that might just belong to that desirable mist. I want to take advantage of the rare inspiration, but what do I do? I’m afraid the mist will clear as soon as I begin to inhale. So, I hold my breath.

There has to be more than this—this waiting around for inspiration to strike. Could there be a way to call on the mist? Request a visit from the glamorous fog? I wonder how long the waiting list for that appointment would be…

Sometimes I decide not to wait. I decide to sit down and just make myself create. I decide to take my life and my work into my own hands. Who needs inspiration? Full of ambition and determination, I sit down with my pen and my notebook. I stare at the blank white page. The blank white page stares back, daring me to spill myself upon it.

I sit. And I wait. And I stare. Nothing. That goddamn mist has the upper hand—again.

But I won’t let it destroy me. No, I will take control. I will sit and write something. Anything. Just write and write until my hand goes numb. And then I will grab my paints and my canvas, and I will paint and paint until I run out of blank space.

If I stop, that means I’ve let inspiration win. And I refuse to give in. I refuse to give my power away.

I am an artist.

Even if my art is nonsense, I must write. I must paint. I must create, the same as I must breathe. This is a part of me, and if I ever stop, I will cease to exist.

The goal then must become to find inspiration in the journey, not wait for it to show you the destination. To find inspiration when it least wants to see you. To force it to hold your hand while you cross the streets of your mind. To use your imagination when you can’t find the real thing.

You’re an artist; you’re good at playing make-believe. Do not let lack of inspiration become an excuse not to create. After a while, the less you look for it, the more it will begin to seek you, and better yet, the easier it will become to create your own inspiration.

Don’t let that blank white page, that blank canvas, taunt you. Whether inspiration has shown its face or not: write, paint, create. It doesn’t matter if what you are creating has any value. Again, it’s the journey, not the destination that is important here. And the more you create, the more inspired you will feel.

Become friends with inspiration, and you will not let its absence get the best of you. You are an artist. Act like one. Whatever that means to you.

Figure out a strategy to deal with those moments. If you’re a writer and you’re fighting the blank white page, try writing about your surroundings. Write about what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you feel. More often than not, this will lead you in another direction. Follow that lead. See what happens.

If you’re a painter or another type of artist, practice the same idea by sketching or painting things that you see around you. Usually, once I get my creative juices flowing, the inspiration comes out of hiding, grabs my hand, and takes me on an adventure I wasn’t expecting.

Another way to encourage the inspiration to come out and play is by going outside. Take a walk. Soak in all of your surroundings. Our world is full of beauty and pain and truth. Our world is full of inspiration. Take advantage.

Sometimes what you are looking for is right outside your door.

You know that feeling when you have an idea and then you execute it and watch it form right before your eyes? That. That is what we are searching for.

But sometimes you have to work for it. Sometimes you have to earn it. But I can promise you that whatever work goes into the idea will be worth the experience of creating something with your own two hands, creating a real-life piece of your heart that you can share with the world.

Maybe it’s time to stop waiting for inspiration to find you. Go out and find it yourself.

The world is patiently waiting for you to create. We are waiting to be inspired and awestruck by the beauty that can only come from you.

Don’t let us down. Show us the inside of your soul.


Author: Nicole Dunlap
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron


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