Inspiration - More Practical, Less Elusive
Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," which was filmed and set in the 1950s, is about a professional magazine photographer, L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries, played by Jimmy Stewart, who is apartment-bound with a broken leg from a photo-shoot-gone-wrong on an automobile race track. Through his point-of-view and extended camera lens, we see goings-on of other neighbors across his courtyard. While the main plot is that Jeff thinks he witnesses a murder, one character he observes is a struggling composer who lives in a loft apartment and is constantly keying at his piano. Stewart's romantic interest, Lisa Freemont, played by Grace Kelly, while in awe of the composer's song drifting throughout the courtyard, remarks that she wonders where he gets inspiration to compose such a song.
Stewart's character wryly replies, "from the landlady once a month."
Have you stared at the white page of your computer screen, waiting for inspiration to hit, then walked away for something more pressing like folding laundry? Have you stared at a search screen on your computer before starting research to make your idea for a business or product a reality, with little luck and given up? Have you stared at the ticking clock of your work day, wishing you could have a different life, but what life? If only you could be inspired. If only you had an idea.
Don't wait for inspiration to hit. It won't. Don't wait for the right time to start something. The time won't be there. Make the time. Create the circumstances so that you can be inspired.
Jack London, American author, said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
We think of inspiration as muses who may or may not descend upon us like gossamer-clad spirits from the heavens. And we wait. And while we wait, we fret. Spirits and gossamer are awfully hard to grasp. Instead, sit down in the chair, at the desk, grasp the pen, punch the calculator, turn on your computer: write, type, and research your way to your dream. Do the work, regularly. Then go live your life.
Ideas will come, inspiration will "hit," in the right place and time. But we have to be at the right place and time for that to happen. The right place is the same place and the right time is the same time, daily. The more often we show up to work or brainstorm or research, the more often we experience that elusive pile of gold we call "inspiration" at the end of a rainbow, which is actually spotted with the blood, sweat, and tears of our own labor. Show up everyday. Wake up earlier. Stay up later. Dedicate at least a half hour to your dream, daily. Including weekends. Make your business plan. Write down your goals. Work.
Then, go live your life. Along the way, the magic happens. Call it the subconscious mind, or something more mystical, but at the end, it's a bit of a lovely mystery. And if it was definable, I wouldn't be writing this blog article. What has worked for me is consistent and steady work, and then letting it go and living life. Then, I go back to the work. I act and I do. I choose my path and I take it. And ideas come both at the desk and when I'm standing in line at the grocery store. Work and live. Stay constant to both and remain true to yourself and those around you.
If on your path, you run into a dead end, keep going forward. Woods? Take out your machete and start slicing through the brush. Too many trees? Get your axe. Make your path. You have rent to pay, like the composer in Hitchcock's film. You have a mortgage, car payments, bills, beautiful children. And at the very least, you and yours gotta eat.
Make the time. Do the work. Live life. Accept inspiration. Repeat. Chase your dream.
Keep on Keepin' on,