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My Dirty Little Secret About Inspiration

A few weeks ago, my writing team at work was talking about inspiration—the whole idea of how we get inspired and what inspires us to write.

During that discussion, I came to realize (along with others on our team), that I don’t have a lot of the traditional, come to Jesus, “inspirational” moments. Don’t get me wrong, I get refreshed and maybe lightly inspired when I go running or sit by an ocean shore at sunset. I’m sure those moments fuel my writing in some way.

But I can’t say that I’m inspired by a lot of books, or movies, or images of sunsets with inspirational quotes. Maybe I am in small ways. I guess you could say a passage from a book might inspire one of my blog posts. But I don’t really have some sort of go-to source of inspiration.

One of my biggest turnoffs is when I’m told I’m about to be inspired—there’s no better way for me to shut down.

For example, the inspirational speakers or the nonfiction self-help books with an endorsement from Tony Robbins saying “this book is guaranteed to inspire you!” Well, I’m guaranteed not to read it.

Another example: Ted Talks. Or 30 minute speeches about overcoming X, Y, or Z. I don’t have anything against talks like that, or the people who enjoy them, but they just don’t do anything for me.

Am I dead inside?

So how do I find inspiration? How do I keep writing at my job everyday and for this blog?

I think it’s just in the little things. Like I mentioned, it’s a brief, well-written sentence I’ve read or a quick three second visual in my head while I’m out running. It’s the activity of reading or getting my blood flowing that ends up inspiring me. Something happens wheI start moving like that.

I believe whatever fleeting moments of inspiration I have come internally, from me doing things on my own. The acts themselves—the reading, the running, the conversation with my wife—end up inspiring me in small ways.

For me, it doesn’t come from external sources—books, speakers, videos, and self-proclaimed “inspirational messages.” For the most part, once you’ve read/heard/watched one of these, then you’ve read/heard/watched them all—much like my fake motivational post on April Fool’s Day.

So again, for me, inspiration is overrated.

So does that make me weird? Unusual?

How do you guys find inspiration to write or do something else that’s an integral part of your life?

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42 Comments Post a comment
  1. You’re not alone. I have a friend who says she gets inspired by almost anything, while I am only inspired occasionally by outside sources. I’ve only been inspired by two books–both of which are in the same genre as the novel I’m writing. I’ve also been inspired a few times by individuals I’ve had run-ins with that I considered unusual (one man has an entire character based off of him). Other than that, I find it hard to be inspired by too many things around me, seeing as the majority of the time I’m trying to escape them lol.

    In short, this doesn’t make you any less of a creator/writer than anyone else. We each have our own process.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  2. The secret, I guess, is not looking for inspiration. Let it find you. Of course, you have to be conducive (like a Ben Franklin electrical experiment, maybe).

    Agree with you about the inspirational books and videos. At Barnes & Ignoble, I just skip the Self-Helpless section.

    Liked by 3 people

    April 24, 2015
  3. uju #

    I’m inspired by life itself– people, nature, a well placed comment and little experiences 🙂

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  4. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  5. I think inspiration is a personal thing and it doesn’t always have to be a knocked sideways moment. Some of us just live a little more quietly.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  6. For me, feeling inspired is like feeling hungry.

    I never really know when it’s going to happen, exactly.
    I never know what’s going to trigger it.
    But eventually it’s going to happen.
    And when it does, it’s amazing.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  7. The Happy Typewriter #

    Wow, I get inspired all the time by everything. Movies, books, songs, people, experiences, sights, moments, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2015
  8. Reblogged this on Fonte da arte.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  9. Normally a new idea pops into my head and my imagination takes over from there.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  10. Everytime I am in a rush for work and take a shower. During the shower, badda-boom.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2015
  11. This is exactly what I needed to read today! I have been struggling with feeling less than inspired when I am trying to work on writing projects. I have felt that maybe something was wrong with me. I notice I get little inspirations by small, everyday occurrences. They may have nothing to do with what I am actually writing about, but they give me a little refresh of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2015
  12. For me inspiration usually hits when I least expect it (usually when I’m about to fall asleep) which means I typically don’t have my computer or a notebook handy to then write down that idea. Otherwise, I tend to find inspiration, not necessarily from a whole book, but in a passage from a book or a quote that I find. (I’ve been blogging quite a few quotes lately as they inspire me.) Inspiration can come from anywhere, but I agree when you’re told that you will be inspired, you typically won’t be.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  13. From a personal point of view I agree 100% with your post. What does inspire me are those artists who are infatuated and feel compelled to practice their art as though they could not do anything else in life. For instance, Bob Dylan with music, Ingmar Bergman with movies or Charles bukowski with writing. Those are the kinds of people who inspire me to learn more everyday.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  14. I think that “inspiration,” is overrated. It has a sort of magical connotation to it– if you do/listen to/take this product, it will solve your problems. For me, inspiration seems a little bit more like work- it’s sitting down at the computer and writing about what you said you’d write about until you have a product that you can stand to be in the same room with.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2015
  15. Funny you say that. I recently wrote a post on inspiration. At first, I thought it was a tide that rises and falls. But having grown a little wiser (I hope), I realise it was only a myth. Inspiration has to find you working. Picasso said it, I reiterate it.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 24, 2015
  16. tyrellitravels #

    I actually don’t know how to oin down what inspires me. I’m sure imagination has a lot to do with it. The thing with inspirational books is the fire blows out and i feel you have to seek another one just to light another fire.

    Like

    April 24, 2015
  17. Like

    April 24, 2015
  18. Sun's Shadow #

    I really though I was just agains t your ideas, but thwn I realise how agree I was with you. From this point of view, I think we think exactly the same. Thanks for writting this. Follow me at: http://rocketsintoreality.wordpress.com

    Like

    April 25, 2015
  19. Thank you for your honest and refreshing take on inspiration. Sometimes, it is necessary to be reminded to go against the grain.

    Like

    April 25, 2015
  20. Fear! I love playing a game of, “what if ” in my everyday scenarios. I’ll be driving my car and think, “what if that car were to hit me on purpose?” I’m at a party and think, “what if I saw something that made me think the host was a killer but no one believes me?”
    It’s a fun way to pass the time and once in a while something will stick around long enough to become a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 25, 2015
  21. Hey what you have just said is abit weird but not in a bad way its just that we are all different in our own way but i also think that its good to get inspiration from within

    Like

    April 26, 2015
  22. 5kcane #

    Like the post, your not weird or unusual your just you! We all have different things that inspire us to do the things we do in life. If we all were inspired by the exact same things then we wouldn’t be unique individuals. As for me, I find inspiration from motivational compilation speeches that I find on YouTube.

    Like

    April 26, 2015
  23. 5kcane #

    Like the post. Your not weird or unusual your just you! We all have different things that inspire us to do what we do in life. That’s what makes us unique individuals. Aa for me, I find inspiration by listening to motivational compilation speeches that I find on YouTube.

    Like

    April 26, 2015
  24. Reblogged this on Daniela Dobreva.

    Like

    April 27, 2015
  25. I have been struggling with “inspiration” lately. I have started a few blog posts, only to discover they aren’t going anywhere. I have been in a bit of a slump when it comes to my writing. For some reason it keeps feeling inauthentic. Maybe I need to stop trying so hard to find inspiration and let it come to me. Thanks for the post and no, it’s not weird! 🙂

    Like

    April 27, 2015
  26. I make sure I keep things coming into my life that stimulate thinking, ideas and learning. Then I think I internalise those thoughts, and often when I’m walking the ideas seem to form into more complete concepts. I think inspiration is like love, it is a verb rather than a noun. It is a way of behaving and living so that the creative energy flows through me.

    Like

    April 28, 2015
  27. Yes inspiration makes a fleeting appearance most days : on a bus, a song, something somebody says. I have a line of inspirational moments as saved drafts waiting to be developed. That usually happens later when I am feeling relaxed

    Like

    April 30, 2015
  28. I agree with others on this thread who mentioned the ‘W ‘ word. To paraphrase Sam Goldwyn, I think it was: ” The harder I work, the more inspired I get!”

    Like

    April 30, 2015
  29. Reblogged this on and commented:
    , . . .

    Like

    April 25, 2016
  30. You’re not dead inside – you just don’t like being talked down to! I’m much the same: When something promises to “amaze me”, I can be guaranteed of one thing – it won’t be all that amazing. More in the line of, “uh-huh”. Punting something by saying “this will inspire you” or “this is really funny” is actually a spoiler of sorts. I’ll exempt honest reviews from that rule – if the reader / reviewer genuinely found a book funny and says so, that is a very high compliment to the author rather than a spoiler to the reader. But on the whole there’s such a lot of advertising over-promising effects that we’ve become jaded.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 25, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. pauseRReport, April 2015: On Dry Wells | thepauser
  2. Larger than Myself? : A Riff on Inspiration | thepauser

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