“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club”. – Jack London
Oh No! it’s a serious post! Run away! Run Away!
Don’t just sit there waiting for the muse to hit you(with a 9 iron preferably)! Get out there and find your muse.
It’s so easy to become complacent and let your art (and your life) get away from you. Despite the common belief that true art just springs into being with no real effort on the artist’s part, the hard reality is that it takes dedication to consistently find true artistic inspiration.
I’ve often found myself slacking off- doing the easy thing by vegging out instead of actively engaging my mind, body and spirit in a search for the heart of my art & life. In the last couple of years I’ve instituted a sort of inspiration “workout” regimen. This involves not only keeping my mind, body and spirit healthy by regular exercising, but also constantly searching to expand my horizons.
Here are some of the exercises I recommend for keeping your body, mind and spirit inspired:
1. Stay physically & spiritually active: There’s nothing like a brisk walk to help clear the mind and refresh the body & spirit. For me, walking meditation provides a chance to let go of the worries of the day, be in the moment and “clear out the crap” that gets in the way of my creative processes.Of course, I have to admit that my ‘meditation’ is often accompanied by my ipod and a kick-butt list of my favorite tunes. Whatever works for you.
Don’t let worry literally consume your mind & body. There’s nothing like a good shot of endorphins to make you feel better. If your mind is in a constant rut worrying about whatever little crap that happened during the day/week/millenia, get your butt up and go do something physical RIGHT NOW! Preferably outdoors. A view of the big world outside tends to put our puny little concerns in their place.
Try taking this tack with your spiritual self as well. Whatever your belief system, DON’T let yourself get complacent. Make sure that you actively dedicate time to reading, thinking about and considering/questioning your beliefs. Spiritual endorphins are just as critical as physical ones.
2. Become involved in an actively creative community. They don’t have to all be artists- just involve yourself with people who are always thinking- always coming up with new and inspiring ideas. Cross pollination is a GOOD thing. Working in a vacuum for an extended period tends to produce anemic art.
3. Explore/Research Always be on the lookout for something new. New techniques, ideas, materials… I find my inspirations everywhere in life- from the pattern of leaves on the ground to someone’s post of an awesome technique on Twitter. Actively search out situations, venues and people that tend to inspire you. Hunt your inspiration down.
4. Get to know yourself. Find out what makes you tick, then set your life up to optimize for the best results. Key to this is finding the ways that you tend to sabotage yourself. We truly can be our own worst enemies. If you get your best ideas and work best in the morning then don’t stay up til 3 in the morning. If you have a fear of failure, learn to recognize that in yourself- then work on giving yourself permission to experiment- even if it means “messing up”. Otherwise you’ll be paralyzed by your fear and never reach towards your true potential. Beating yourself up doesn’t help you produce any art- unless you’re into the S&M scene that is. Artistic martyrdom does no-one any good.
5. Do Something EVERY day. Now that you’ve given yourself permission to experiment, try to do something EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just a blog post on inspiration, a quick sketch of a project or a simple of a list of materials for a technique you’d like to try.
Now, get out there and GO GET EM’!