Hello, my name is inspiration.
Inspiration is quite the curious beast.
For creative folks, the belief is that we're inspired by anything and everything, all the time. We should be constant sources for inspiration ourselves. Our innate creativity enables us to conjure up ideas on a whim, with others looking to us to be inspired.
The reality is (at least for me) sometimes we hit the wall. Inspired by nothing. You produce rubbish, boring work, with no depth, no excitement. You find false excitement in the dull and drab, your standards slip. You doubt yourself, do I actually have any interests? Did I hit my peak at art school? Am I actually any good at this? All too familiar thoughts when staring at a blank expanse of white. it's a difficult wall to get over...or go through.
The reason for writing this post is that I've recently hit the wall. Instead of smashing through it, or leaping over it, I've slowly walked around it. Inspiration, I've found, is like the devil, a master of disguise, taking many forms. But unlike the originator of Sin, inspiration can be hard to find. It has to be coaxed out of hiding, given time and respect and made to feel important.
As I've written before, running a business on your own is tough. It sometimes feels like a plate spinning juggling act, on a unicycle, on a tightrope, high above the ground, with everyone watching. Finding time to dedicate to be inspired wasn't high on my priority list until the end of last year. I assumed like every other creative that I could pull anything out of a hat and it would be brilliant. I was wrong. I got stuck and couldn't think of anything remotely interesting.
The solution? taking Inspiration Days. 3 days a month I've marked in my diary as days purely to be used for inspiration. Phone swapped for sketch book, business head off, creative head firmly on. And it's worked a treat. I've taken days off to visit Glasgow Cathedral and just sit in thought for an hour, I've taken a day to sketch buildings and statues, sat on a bench and sketched people sitting on other benches. I've taken a day to listen to Bowie and Tom Waits and to read new philosophy (How Much Land Does a Man Need). These inspiration days aren't about learning new things, or taking notes, or developing skills, they're not about business development or networking or sales, and they're not a day off to spend in the pub with my mates, they are vitally important days to the progression and development of my creative spirit and mind.
At the moment I'm buzzing. I feel truly inspired. I've found that in this mood business is better, more people are excited about my work, more interested in what I'm doing and more excited to work with me. 3 days a month isn't a lot, and when it's planned out I can get excited about the next one, I can schedule work around it really enjoy the experience. It's not as romantically spontaneous as I would like (few things rarely are) but at times where I begin to step into the shadow of that wall, I can rest easy in the knowledge that just around the corner there's creative ladder to help get over it.
How do you find inspiration?
As always some recent photos below.