It was 4:37am and I had just woken up with a flash of an idea. "Fuuuuucccckkkkkkkkk yesssssss!!!!"
Inspiration comes at the most inopportune times. That's just a fact of life. When I was younger I'd get pissed and go back to sleep or keep doing what I was doing.
Who cares if my peaceful slumber was interrupted by a possibly great idea? It's just an idea, right? Ideas are a dime a dozen. Great ideas are no less common. Ideas don't count. Action counts. Fuck the idea. Go back to sleep.
Ahh, the perils of my young mind. :)
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” - Siddhartha GautamaI remember reading an interview with Eddie Van Halen about 15 years ago and the interviewer asked him about where he gets ideas for songs, what inspires him. He said, highly paraphrased, "Ideas come at all times. I don't care of I'm shitting, having sex, or taking a shower, if I get inspired I get to work immediately."
My favorite guitarist, the late Dimebag Darrell, took great steps to harnessing inspiration as well. He kept a guitar in every room in his house, including the bathroom, and had a small recording studio on his tour bus.
Professionals understand that ideas must be allowed to breathe.Inspiration at inopportune times was no longer a burden for me. These guys broke my pad.
Now when I get a flash of inspiration at 4:37am with my eyes fluttering in that REM way they like to flutter, I wake the neighbors up with a howl of delight.
Harnessing inspiration is important. The more often you kick inspiration to the curb the less often you'll feel inspired. Stifling inspiration is how an amateur reacts to ideas.
These days I have so many ideas, so much inspiration, so many articles, so much pouring out of me, I almost don't know what to do with all of it.
It's for the simple fact that if I just put toothpaste on my toothbrush and am about to insert said toothbrush into my morning-breath mouth and have an idea I will drop the toothbrush and run to the nearest idea-capturing-mechanism and get that idea OUT OF MY HEAD. Run on sentence, yes I did! (That example is exactly how this very article was written.)
With that spectacular foray into elementary level English out of the way let's break it down.
7 Tips For Harnessing InspirationFollow these rules or languish in the deepest, darkest, pits of creative blockage ...
Tip #1: When you feel inspired drop whatever you're doing and get that shit out of you. If you follow this simple tip you will overflow with inspiration every waking and sleeping second in no time.
Tip #2: Keep an idea capturing mechanism on your person at all times. Whether that's an iPhone, handheld recorder, cell phone, or good ole fashioned note pad, be ready with it. If you've never used the audio or note capturing feature of your device do it now so when inspiration strikes you'll be ready.
Tip #3: When you get a flash of inspiration don't deny it. Don't convince yourself it's a bad idea.
"Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny." - Mitch HedbergAs much as I love him, don't be Mitch Hedberg!
Tip #4: When you feel inspired, also get fired up! Blast loud music, scream out in delight, punch yourself in the face. Get excited! This is a great moment in your life. Embrace it. Cherish it. Revel in it.
Tip #5: Make inspiration a habit. The more you let your inspiration flow freely, the more inspiration will come knocking you out of your baby sleep like a monster in the closet.
Tip #6: Inspiration begets inspiration. Many times when I get an idea and immediately get to work on capturing it, the floodgates open and other ideas come flowing. I love when this happens. There have been times when I've written 3 articles that I didn't even know I had in me in a very short time-frame for the simple fact that I didn't stifle the initial inspiration.
Tip #7: Hang out with inspiring people and you'll feed off of them. I've been doing lots of interviews and sending out lots of e-mails lately for the relaunch of How To Live Anywhere. Every time I'm done talking with somebody, without fail, I feel an incredible burst of inspiration. Seek out extraordinary people.
Bonus tip: If there is someone in your life who brings you down or stifles your creativity, break ties with them immediately. It doesn't matter who they are. They're toxic and they don't deserve you.
Hit me up with your stories, tips, ideas about inspiration below ...
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