I’ve been playing my guitar more in the last few days than I have in the last few months. It’s funny how I go through phases where I’m dying to sit down and tinker with strumming and rhythms, with learning new songs or singing along to old ones. At other times, I can leave it sitting in its case in my room, walk by where it’s propped up against the wall without feeling any compulsion to play.
That’s how inspiration works, I guess. It’s fickle and flighty. It can alternatively leave you wanting to mess around with all sorts of new projects or abandon you so fast that nothing at all sounds fun or exciting at that time. For awhile I’ve been pretty barren of genuine inspiration. I’ve still been producing material, but it hasn’t been anything I’ve been all that excited about, and it was more out of habit than any desire to actually create.
Lately–as in the last week or so–I’ve seen my inspiration start to return. I’m an incredibly slow learner when it comes to my guitar, largely because I’m self taught and don’t have nearly as much time to devote to playing as I’d like. Still, I’ve managed to teach myself the last few minutes of a song I’ve been struggling with for seven or eight months. In two days. Even if you’re not impressed, I have to say that I am. And–unlike with the last song I tried to learn–I didn’t have a step by step tutorial telling me what to do. It was a lot of experimentation and a lot of blind fumbling, but you know what? I have it learned. I just need to put it together enough to be able to play it through.
This inspiration has struck my writing as well. I’m caught up on my editing for one of my novels, and I actually opened the word document for the YA romance that has been languishing on my computer since the fall and added some more to that. I made a massive editing run through of Between Two Lives, my thesis, and though there’s still a ton of work to be done I have a clearer picture than ever before of where it needs to go and what I need to do to get there. I’ve completed three more prompts of the 100 Prompts Challenge, putting me up to number 71. And, best of all, I came up with the bare bones of a new novel idea that I’m super excited about, and that has been percolating in my brain for about two weeks now.
All of this has happened because of inspiration, because I’ve actually felt like and been excited about writing/music/artistic pursuits again.
Now, I know better than to rely on inspiration to stick around. In fact, I’m betting it won’t. But the purpose of inspiration isn’t just to leave you with an enormous volume of work as a relic from when your output was high. The purpose of inspiration is to remind you what it’s like to love what you’re doing, so that when you don’t feel like touching your WIP, or your instrument, or that drawing you’ve had sitting in your sketchpad for over a month, you’ll remember what it’s like to love the act of creation. And you’ll be able to do what needs doing regardless.