Playing hide and seek with inspiration

27 06 2011

Finding inspiration is a bit like hide and seek.

Sometimes it’s staring at you right in the face, while other times you literally look everywhere and  search high and low, yet inspiration is nowhere to be seen!

Sometimes we’re just on fire, and it seems as if inspiration is boundless. Even on a mundane walk, we’ll find inspiration from the most banal of things. That tattered rubbish bin on the road? It’s probably giving off a lustrous purple colour which will later inspire you to create some groundbreaking piece of art. That old granny sitting on a bench staring into space? She’ll probably remind you of the transience of life, or prompt you to ponder some profound philosophical question.

Other times, though, we feel empty…it’s like we’re missing a magic ingredient. Everything just looks dull and plain. The bin looks like a bin. The old granny is just another old granny. There may be loads going on around you – interesting movements and interactions – but they all just seem to pass through you, undigested and glossed over.

I felt ‘on fire’ during my first photowalk one early morning, but subsequent photowalks just wouldn’t yield any good pictures! I couldn’t ‘see’ anything, probably because I’ve grown so used to my surroundings. It’s a bit like getting a fish to describe what water feels like.

So here are my ‘antidotes’ to that annoying feeling of being uninspired. It might help us win the game of hide and seek against that cheeky little thing called inspiration!

  • I go on Twitter…there’s always something going on. One link brings me to another, then another, then…inspiration (hopefully)
  • I look for something interesting in my RSS feeds
  • I pick up an old book. Flick to any page. Read it.
  • Read a poem (Poetry Foundation’s iPhone app is great for this)
  • Get out and walk! I try to absorb my surroundings, paying attention to everything that’s going around you. The colour of someone’s shoe. The book they’re holding. The adverts on buses.
  • Do something new. Anything. Just jump at any opportunity and go for it. I helped out at an inaugural scavenger hunt called the Airmazing race, organised by the Hong Kong Clean Air Network. Volunteering at the event was fun, but what was more awesome was meeting new people, chatting with them, looking at different viewpoints, and just generally finding new sources of inspiration and stimulation.
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One response

10 07 2011
Anna

True stuff!
I usually find – when I’m uninspired – that I’m not living in the ordinary quite enough. I’m so focused on the act of inspiration that I forget it comes from daily, mundane, relaxed experiences (like flicking through a newspaper) in which my aims do not include inspiration.
That ‘ding!’ moment has to be one of the best feelings… it doesn’t always happen like that (inorganically) but sometimes.

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