Disinspiration


Wait! I feel an inspiration to go back to bed coming on.

<Inspirational sentiments go here>

I sometimes tell myself that I’m going on Facebook to find inspiration. I hardly ever find it there. Somehow, though, the myth persists in my mind that if I can’t think of something to write that a few minutes on Facebook will point me in the right direction. Then a few minutes turns into half an hour or an hour and I find myself back at the blank page trying to think of something to write.

There is a sentiment among creative professionals- the ones who actually get paid for being creative- that inspiration has very little to do with creative work: that the key word is “work” and that sometimes it is tiresome, drudgerous, tedious and uninspired. It is a sentiment that I happen to agree with, but at the same time I prefer to be inspired (just like everybody else) so I occasionally find myself pursuing inspiration when I really ought to be getting on with the work.

There’s this very fine line between inspiration and motivation that I sometimes choose to overlook. I say “choose” because when I really force myself to focus I can make myself realize that you don’t need to be inspired to get work done, you just need to be motivated. Inspiration requires noble, ethereal, emotional connection with an idea. Motivation just requires a deadline. Like a lot of things in life, it’s not very glamorous, but it’s productive, and that’s what counts.

What is it about inspiration and glamor that makes us believe that they are the key to our success? Why do we think that the Emerald City is more important than the Yellow Brick Road? The wizard isn’t going to solve our problems, we’re going to have to solve them on our own, dancing all the way, in the world’s most improbable shoes.

On the other side of the coin, if hard work and drudgery is all that it takes to reach a goal then what’s the point? A new goal and more tedious work? By that reasoning, doing the laundry is an accomplishment that might as well be on the same scale as launching a satellite into orbit. For all my talk about how inspiration isn’t that important for reaching a goal, I think it might be important in telling us which goals are worth pursuing to give life meaning. I can be motivated to do laundry. I simply cannot be inspired by it.

Sorry to wax philosophical early in the morning: I woke up too early and was unable to get to sleep again. Then I discovered that my computer was “awake” as well so I decided that meant it was a good idea to write something.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 5, 2014.

One Response to “Disinspiration”

  1. I have had similar feelings regarding the hard work to get to your goal part of your post.

    After being on my own, working auto claims, then life claims, all the while figuring out what I wanted to do, I confirmed what my end goal of my “hard work” would be. I accomplished my goal, which has been a professional one, and now I’m at a loss. I don’t have my “end goal” driving force anymore & I don’t know “what next” to make my goal.

    It’s almost like the goal needs to be unobtainable, this way we can work towards and obsess over it while pushing ourselves to be better and better on a continuous basis. I’m a little stagnant in my goals at the moment and it’s not a fun place to be.

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