Archive for March, 2011

on inspiration


I’ve been blogging about the concept of hope for a couple months now (see previous posts). Now let’s take that concept and transform it into the active recognition of itself – inspiration.

3. the act

Simply put: inspiration stems from hope. The latter is a wonderful thing but implies no sense of action – that being its primary weakness. It’s a latent word. I can hope to write a best-selling novel, but, as I said in a post last month, this concept does not imply action. You  need a little bit something else to incite action.

Inspiration…now inspiration is coupled with action. You can’t be inspired to do something and then not even begin to formulate plans to attempt it. I feel like that’s an unofficial rule of the word.

2. a source

The only issue with inspiration is that it always needs a source – whether that source comes from something that wells up deep within us as a response to an emotional stimulus, or if it comes directly from someone else’s actions. It can be as simple as a poster you glimpsed to something as complex as a novel. But regardless, inspiration always results from something.

1. define it

I asked a few people how they would define inspiration. Here were their very scientific (and accurate) answers:

  • something that motivates me to move beyond what I may believe myself capable of
  • coffee
  • brainstorming
  • positive feedback
  • me (although I feel this was a sarcastic answer…)
  • whatever fuels your fire
  • vodka
  • guiding you to achieve a goal
  • the ability to focus one’s mind on a goal or project to the exclusion of anything else that would detract from the process
  • the mere thought of a bottle of wine and a pencil in hand

the process

Once you’ve defined what inspiration is to you (and this definition can and will vary WIDELY), you can then determine sources of inspiration.

Personally I don’t need much motivation to feel inspired – it doesn’t take much for me: one glimpse at my favorite pair of running shoes; one thought about how a character will develop in my novel; one scene from the end of the movie August Rush, or one conversation with a visionary.  This is the second part of the process – finding the source. I found at least three things that inspired me to some sort of action before 9 a.m. this morning. Think of what you can find if you take a closer look – or maybe you already know what inspires you, which leads us to our third and final step: act.

What’s inspired you today?