Inspiration- That magical, elusive creature

by Anita Menon

Inspiration can knock on your mind’s door anytime. It doesn’t bother about what time of the night or day it is. It doesn’t care about who you are with or whether you are busy earning a living and you do not really have the time to tend to it, right then. It doesn’t care about your status in the society or the capacity of your intellect. Some times it doesn’t even care whether you are equipped with the right talent and skill to address it.

What do you do, when you are in the middle of a meeting and you feel like you have to express something in words or art or craft?  Well, common sense dictates, you let it pass. You don’t ponder over it and feel distracted from your present task because at the moment, completing that task is more important. But does inspiration wait?

the myth of inspiration

In my experience, it does not. You can sadly wave it goodbye because inspiration is like that magical shooting star that only lucky few can sight in the night sky. If you miss it, it would be a great while before you can actually see it again. Finding something inspiring and feeling inspired are two different things. Everyday, we meet people, become unwitting participants to situations which can be very inspiring. We feel good, positive and full of optimism. But then do all inspiring things mobilize us to do something about it? Does it move us to create? No, not really. We just come away from that experience, situation, person, day with a feel – good aura around us and that’s that.

But what happens when you are feeling inspired? It may again, be out of finding something inspiring or it’s may just be a stubborn bubble that arises from the pit of your stomach that refuses to burst. That is when you are forced to get up, pick up our pen, or laptop or painting brush to put that into action. That  leads us to create something. It arises from the depths, making us restless, sleepless and until it is out there in some form or shape, we keep at it. That is how I feel when I am inspired.

Creativity and inspiration are the twin headed dragons that breathe fire and destroy your peace of mind, until you tend them. The moment you give them attention and pamper them; they are tame and happy.

Now that we have understood, that inspiration, time and tide wait for none ( they ought to change that proverb now), we should ask whether inspiration can be practiced and in effect whether creativity can be practiced. I think yes. Think of all the people who have to be creative to earn their living. Isn’t it important for them to be their creative best EVERY SINGLE DAY? But then, we are all humans and every day is different. We suffer from low energy days and certain others, terrible circumstances kill our creative streak. Yet, people who make a living out being creative, where do they find their inspiration? How can they feel inspired to be the best that they can be to produce something absolutely stunning and beautiful that world is yet to see? How do they do it?

Quite simply, by practicing.

I firmly believe, if you practice your art or craft regularly, inspiration sits on your shoulder, directing you to do your best. Yet again, I will say that everyday you cannot be your best because you don’t live an isolated life. But even if you go by statistics, your chances of feeling inspired and being your creative best increases when you practice regularly. Recently, I was in a discussion with a creative person and he mentioned that you can be your creative best only when you allow inspiration to happen on its own even if it meant getting down to that piece of writing or art or painting once in six months. He suggested that when we wait for inspiration to strike, it ensures it will be your best work. While I agree with the whole hypothesis of allowing inspiration to happen naturally and creativity to flow thereafter, I have only one question to ask-

Why leave it to chance?

We live in a world where distractions are aplenty. We tend to get swept away in the numerous demands of life which add no value to our life. So if we take time out to practice our craft on a regular basis, the chances of inspiration to drop by and pay us a visit are higher!

I was told that everybody has a different objective to serve when it comes to expressing themselves creatively. Ofcourse we do! Else we would all be assembly line -like products. While I aspire to be a writer, not everyone nurses that ambition. While I am trying to do my best to realize my dream of being a writer by being as disciplined as I can be about the craft, others might just want an immediate thrill of expressing themselves. Nonetheless, to each his/her own. Yet to say that, the creative output of a once- a- while kind of inspiration would be better or greater than the one where a lot of thought, sweat and determined practice has gone, is unfair.

Any day, a practiced hand will produced better and more creatively than the one that does sporadically.

All the maestros in their respective fields achieved their creative potential by keeping at their craft and by practicing it relentlessly. To achieve a sort of excellence in your craft is being your creative best and that can come only and only if you focus and keep at it all the time. When you achieve that state, the synergies of your own creativity and the creative spirit of the universe combine to bring out the best that the world is yet to see.

The other question that troubles me now and I don’t really know the answer to is-

‘Do certain arts and crafts take a ‘higher’ kind of creative process than most others’? Is there a way to measure creativity? What are your thoughts?