Thursday, February 2, 2012
Inspiration in a dry time
Anyone who works in a creative field knows that sometimes inspiration just dries up.
Words fail. The muse snoozes.
And whatever medium you work in – be it words or music or film or photographs or paint – sometimes you just aren’t feeling it. The mojo is missing.
In journalism this can happen when the excitement of covering a murder trial is followed by an assignment to report on the ongoing discussion about the jurisdiction’s sewer system expansion.
Writing about it is important, necessary, and your job depends on it. You try to find a new angle, make it interesting, but guess what… it’s still shit.
Does it matter, you ask? Well yes, yes it does. Writers who have found a “fresh way to tell a routine story” are praised for their ability to spin straw into gold. And this knowledge creates a special kind of angst among writers, who will turn a story every which way to find a new way in.
Like an overzealous hairdresser, once you have messed with a story for too long, it is ruined beyond repair. There’s nothing to do but file it, and move on. Except that in the process, you’ve also damaged your self esteem.
Unfortunately, despondency does not nurture creativity.
So where do you turn when inspiration fails? I turn to my friends, and warm myself on the embers of their creativity while I wait for my own winter to end.
This week I’ve been inspired by friends Ariel Watson (artist, musician), Jehovah Jones (writer), Leta Dunham (photographer) and Jesse Kopp, (the talented brother of a high school friend). I’ve also been inspired by fellow Third Culture Kid Dave Herrling, an artist who paints sound – how cool is that?!
Who do you turn to for inspiration in a dry time?