Emerson mastered the process of inspiration. The man kept voluminous journals for sixty years, published a substantial body of writing during his lifetime, including books and thousands of essays, lectures, sermons and letters. The passage that sticks out for me comes from one essay in particular. Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. Thou foolish child, hast thou come out hither, over four thousand miles of salt water, to find that which was perfect to thee there at home? He is pointing to the mistake too many creative people make, which is reaching for something that's already inside themselves. In the name of finding inspiration, they relocate to a new city, take a cross country vacation, camp in the desert for two weeks, or participate in some psychedelic tea ceremony in the middle of the jungle is going to merge them with the muse and spark their brains to invent something that changes everything. And for the record, these things do work. But this process has no guarantees. Inspiration is a fickle mistress, and if we're psychologically relying on some epiphanous circumstance to become the linchpin of our creative uprising, we are going to be waiting for a long time.
INVENTIVE MECHANISM -- The natural constellation of creative entities we already possess and can access
Real artists get inspiration from anything, anytime, anywhere. They're not picky and they don't need to go anywhere. Even if they're sitting at home, sipping a cup of team on the same faded blue velvet couch they sit at every morning, the flow of ideas always comes. Because they trust their own inventive mechanism. They don't need fancy tools or peak experiences to hide behind or lean on. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.
I've read thousands of books on creativity, and every one of them gives the same simplistic pedestrian advice to young artists. Just change your route to work. This technique is a surefire way to stoke your imagination and open up a new creative vista. Einstein himself even went for a walk outside of the patent office when he came up with the world famous equation for the theory of relativity, and you can do the same! Foolish child, what you seek, you carry with you. Inspiration is a muscle. It's a skill. A discipline. It's not something that's out there somewhere. The call is coming from inside the house. Life has no shortage of material, and all we have to do is look and listen. Seinfeld himself, the great modern transcendentalist thinker, has been writing million dollar jokes, every day, for forty years, with a yellow pad and cheap pen. Doesn't matter where he is or what he's doing, inspiration somehow happens to him. Because the man knows how to look and listen. There's a brilliant insight from one of his books that goes like this. It’s one thing to see something, and another thing to do something with it. Which one describes you? The seer or the doer?
If you aren't feeling particular inspired right now, there's nothing wrong with changing everything. Just don't overlook the possibility that what you seek, you carry with you. Remember, inspiration comes from the word inspirare, which means to breathe into. That's all you have to do. Inhale, pause, exhale. Coming up with ideas is the most human thing we do, and if we have faith in our own inventive, it mechanism doesn't require anything outside of ourselves. Are you searching for inspiration or running away from your life?
Trust your artistic voice more deeply
Save money on unnecessary technology, processes or events
Rely less on epiphanies and find inspiration anytime, anywhere
Reduce dependence on external tools to thrive in your work