What inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from? And if you go looking for it, will you find it?
To me, there are two types of inspiration: The long term and the short term. Both you probably will never forget, however both serve different purposes. For example, my most recent inspiration for my current fiction-writing project came from another writing assignment. I had horrible writer’s block for a column I was tasked to complete – my one form of instruction was to follow the magazine issue’s theme, the apocalypse. I don’t know about you, but I usually need just a little more direction than that. However, while brainstorming and jotting down ideas (with a real pencil and paper no less) at my neighborhood hang-out, a concept hit me for a novella. Its backdrop? Why the world ending of course!
The inspiration for the column came a week or so later during a business trip in Chicago. I was on the bus listening to a re-aired interview from On the Media about data and personal data. I strongly encourage you to listen to the segment as it’s extremely interesting and sparks a lot of questions and debate. But one term stuck out at me during my commute; it was the term “narcissistic apocalypse”. Aha! Column writer’s block begone!
Below is a scan from this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The entire magazine’s theme was inspiration. (I may have to hold on to this issue for safekeeping.) The image below is of the synopsis of the series in one page that I feel encapsulates great short-term inspiration as told from celebrities and artists. And ironically enough, it is quite inspirational.
Now long term inspiration is a bit different. For example, I am inspired by my friends and family, Katherine Hepburn, opera, If on a winter’s night a traveler, Shakespeare, Paris and my 7th grade social studies teacher. These individuals, items, places and genres bring out a type of enthusiasm and passion within me that have helped mold the person who I came to be. They also are who and what I turn to when I need a boost or some blanket – wait for it – inspiration. No I’m not striving toward a particular goal specifically. With long-term inspiration, I am just looking for that feeling of utter hope and possibility. And maybe a bit of recklessness.
To break it down, I define short term inspiration as inspiration that comes usually as a surprise and assists in meeting a short-term project or goal. Long term inspiration provides the background and resources for continued passion and drive – an ego boost so to speak. In the tumult that is our day-to-day life, there are moments we all just need to be told we can do it. And most importantly, to be inspired to believe it; now not in a naive way mind you. But rather in a way that is focused and productive. Long term inspiration provides drive. And at the end of the day, it can even be the items of which we place blame when we need a scapegoat to make us feel better about our decisions. We’re only human, right?
Now for you. What inspires you? What is your definition? And what was your latest source of inspiration? Please share in the comments! Let us inspire one another.