Seeking Inspiration

I thought I’d try another interactive post. (hopefully) The bulk of this post will be hammered out in the comments.


Where do you find it?

How do you know where to look?

Where do you keep it once it has come to visit?

what does it look, smell, taste, sound, feel like?

How do you encourage it to come back?

In My Experience

Deciding “I’m going to be inspired starting….now” never works. It happens when it happens. You can’t force it to show up or make it appear in certain ways. Doing so would be about as fruitful as catching smoke with a butterfly net. (Photo credit.) It is what it is and it will come and go as it pleases. Often I come up with ideas at the most inopportune times: while engaging in a conversation from which I cannot easily untangle or when I’m in a situation in which it is difficult to take a minute and write down what I’m thinking.

It sometimes takes unexpected paths. That’s ok. Detours can lead you to incredible places. Don’t worry about where you were supposed to go or where you will end up. Enjoy the journey.

Ideas travel in packs. When one shows up more often follow.

Write it down. Most importantly: be sure to jot down moments of inspiration as soon as possible. One of the most frustrating things about writing is when I forget something just before I’m able to commit at least a few words of it to paper.


What do you know of inspiration? What inspires you? How do you collect and manage new ideas?


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14 Responses to Seeking Inspiration

  1. I carry a small notebook. At first it was to collect all of my t-shirt ideas. (You know, when someone says something and I say “I’m gonna make a shirt for you that says that.”) Then it became many other snippets and bits…come to think of it, I should dig that notebook out.

    A little more rarely, I’ll collect ideas as word docs on my computer. I still have a sentence that a friend posted one day as her facebook status and I thought, that’s the perfect first sentence of a book. 🙂 I’ll give her credit should that story ever get written.

    Other than that? I try to place myself in situations where I”m observing rather than participating. My walks in my neighborhood do this. Oftentimes the help of a camera as well.

    (This is Heather by the way, for some reason it allows me to use my yahoo profile?)

  2. 'Seph

    I’ve got alot to say on this topic.

    …however… right now, I don’t have alot of time….

    Please forgive me and allow me to get back to you on this one!!


  3. Seph

    I see inspiration nearly as being synonymous with creativity.
    Many tell me I am creative. Drawing, writing, sketching, imaginative, etc. (A wild imagination is both a blessing and a curse btw).

    But there is one thing that I have always understood. I cannot take complete or full credit for being creative, just as I cannot in all honestly take full credit when someone compliments something I did.
    Creativity has a life of its own, free and independent from the artist; from us!

    “The hand tries to carry out the commands of the imagination and hopefully puts down a brush stroke, but the result may not be quite what had been expected, partly because all matter resists the human will, partly because the image in the artist’s mind is constantly shifting and changing, so that the commands of the imagination cannot be very precise. In fact, the mental image begins to come into focus only as the artist “draws the line somewhere”. That line then becomes part – the only fixed part – of the image; the rest of the image, as yet unborn, remains fluid. And each time the artist adds another line, a new leap of the imagination is needed to incorporate that line into his ever-growing mental image. If the line cannot be incorporated, he discards it and puts down a new one.

    “What sets the real artist part is not so much the desire to seek, but that mysterious ability to find., which we call talent. We also speak of it as a “gift”, implying that it is a sort of present from some higher power; or a “genius”, a term which originally meant that a higher power – a kind of “good demon” – inhabits the artist’s body and acts through him”

    . H.W. Janson, History of Art, Fourth Edition, Revised and Expanded by Anthony F. Janson, pg. 139-140

    This, I have found, is an extremely good and accurate way of expressing this fact.


    On a different tangent, I see mankind’s innate ability or attribute of Imagination</i as a inseparable part of this process. And what I also find so entrancing is that fact that Imagination and Make-believe are not the same things, although closely related.

    Make-believe is simply fake, fabricated. It isn’t real. While Imagination is what brings us there. It is the conduit itself. (And something that is Imaginary doesn’t have to exist, yet can be just as real as the air you are breathing). Make-believe cannot be. It is simply pretend.


    All this, however, doesn’t answer your questions.
    How do we find inspiration?

    I should think – to answer your question bluntly – we don’t.
    It finds us.
    Inspiration, like Creativity, like Imagination, is not something we rule and have control over. They are independent and free entities. I don’t think the Greeks were very far off the mark when they referred to the Muse.

    You cannot find inspiration, it can only find you. All you can do is be perpetually ready for that moment. A notebook, a scrap of paper, a paper napkin.

    • “A wild imagination is both a blessing and a curse btw”

      Heh, I know exactly where you’re coming from.

      It’s interesting – I’ve often privately thought of inspiration as something outside of myself. It does seem to have a life of its own. I had no idea that other people had ever thought of it that way, though.

      Do you carry around something to write on all of the time? I try to always have note-taking materials with me. Too many great ideas have flitted away when I forget to write them down.

      Is the rest of that book as inspiring as the bit you quoted from it?

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