Getting back on the motivational track, one of the DJs whom I’ve always thought of as one of my first scratching inspirations recently asked the question: how do you, as an artist of any kind, acquire and/or maintain your creative inspiration?
That’s always the trick for us artists. It’s the million dollar question that we can answer so easily on some days and struggle with greatly on other days. But the truth is, inspiration is everywhere, it’s just a matter of how open we are to it on a daily basis. Anything can inspire you. It’s common to list things like a painting, a song, a movie, a photograph, a building, etc. But it really can be anything. The position of a piece of paper on your desk. A shadow moving in your vision from sunlight hitting a tree. The way that rain falls on your windshield. The sound of traffic from a distance. If it makes you think of something, relive a memory, have an epiphany, it’s an inspiration. A falling apple inspired thoughts about gravity, after all.
But how do you maintain this openness? I clearly can’t say for certain how to maintain it continuously, since I’ve mentioned before that I hit creative blocks like any other artist, but I do know that when I feel inspired, it’s because I’m working with a clear mind. I may have a source of inspiration already in mind or in front of me to start my creative process, but that’ll be the only thing on my mind. When starting with a blank slate, it’s amazing how meditating — no matter what your form of meditation may be — can cause sounds, images, and ideas to materialize from seemingly thin air.
Or if you’re in a state of clear writer’s block, as I’ve mentioned before, the best thing to do is to just start writing something. Use stream of consciousness writing, or improvise music with different chords, no matter how weird it sounds. If you’re a visual artist, just start putting brushstrokes on the canvas, or pencil marks on the page. Keep a clear mind and don’t think, just do. Soon something will come from nothing and you’ll have something to use and expand upon. And if you’re not having any luck, even after starting what may seem like a nonsense creation, then just stop and do something else. Do mundane tasks and chores and don’t think about creating at all and your brain will continue to create in your subconsciousness. Latent learning will kick in and an idea will suddenly pop into your head. A solution will arise eventually. Some of my best ideas and songs came into my consciousness while taking a shower, and not thinking of anything in particular. It’s a strange phenomenon, but you should definitely try it.
Cards on the table, at this very moment, I’m trying to remember how I wanted to finish that last paragraph and I can’t. It was a direct tie-in to the subconsciousness comment, and now it completely escapes me. I’m sure if I stop thinking about it, it’ll come to me again, but by that time, you’ll already be reading this now.
Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes you just have to stop looking for it in order to find it.