Why Inspiration is Holding You Back

greek god

Feel inspired yet?

It’s happened again. I can’t think of a single thing to write.

Even now, when I’ve somehow formulated a kind of lesson to be learned from all this nothingness, I question whether or not this makeshift thought is even a good idea for a post.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a whole mess of topics jotted down on random napkins. I’ve even collected them together and made a nice digital list of them all. When the Inspiration God whispers in my ear, I listen.

He must be running a little late today, that’s all.

All deities aside, I really do have lots of ideas for posts written down. The problem is I don’t feel like writing about any of them today. I’m just not feelin’ ‘em. And I have to wonder (because this seems to happen a lot), why do I have such a hard time getting inspired?

Well, the answer is: that’s not the right question. This isn’t a matter of lack of inspiration, but in fact a matter of not accepting what inspiration I get. So I suppose I lied a little bit earlier when I said I listened every time the Creative Powers That Be give me a suggestion, because I don’t.

And I think this problem arises out of everyone else claiming all the good ideas first. Take last night’s Oscars* for instance. Half of the major winning films were adapted screenplays (they even get their own award), which means that those movies were already based on other people’s ideas. Recent years have shown a rise in the remake, which hints at the possibility that all the original ideas have been used up.

What if this is what’s been holding me and countless others back for so long? No one is willing to make a move for fear of being compared to a previous success. This hesitation doesn’t just plague writers either. Anyone who is attempting to put their thoughts out there fears a backlash of “it’s been done before.”

Has someone already written a book like this? Doesn’t my painting look a bit like Starry, Starry Night? What if someone already discovered this new breed of genetically dominant hippo? Will I just end up looking like a copy-cat?

These are all rational questions, but I can’t help but think that we should be less zeroed-in on “has it been done before?” and more focused on “is it the right time for reminding?” **

I’m starting to believe that ideas aren’t really original in the first place, just recycled into society and then repurposed into exactly what we need them to be. Those ideas are the best ones. Don’t crumple up your thoughts if they don’t seem creative enough.  We have thoughts for a reason – maybe it’s the perfect time to share them.


One idea…

*Yes, I had to get my little Oscars nod in there too. I really enjoy movies and I think it’s horrible that so many people are negatively focusing on “rich people giving other rich people awards.” Do writers not give other writers awards too? Sure, our ceremonies may not be nearly as elaborate, but the film industry is much higher grossing and can afford the frills. Film is art too. This concludes my Oscar rant for the day.

**This even applies to the hippo. There should be more publicity about hippos.

(This post is in the Think section because I talk about fear holding us back. I apologize if it seems more Write-ish.)


2 thoughts on “Why Inspiration is Holding You Back

  1. I can’t help but wonder how you define “inspiration”. To me, inspiration is much more than a feeling that motivates you to begin the process of writing. More often, inspiration has hit me in the midst of the process of writing. I think if we too closely tie inspiration to a feeling, we won’t be able to maintain it.

    I think you are right we are too pre-occupied with creating something entirely new. “There is nothing new under the sun,” says the preacher in Ecclesiastes. Nothing is new but not everyone has discovered everything yet. It’s up to artists to re-package ancient truths in beautiful ways.

    • I think inspiration can take many forms, whether it be before writing begins or during the process itself. I supposed, in simple terms, I view inspiration as an idea. And your last sentence was very beautifully stated. Thank you.

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