creative inspiration, light bulb

Uninspired (Post 39)

Today, I’m feeling uninspired.  So instead of ditching it altogether, I thought I’d write about that.  It’s easy to feel creatively tapped out at the end of a project and as I inch towards 365 completed posts that’s exactly how I feel.

 

I DO think there’s something in the doing it anyway, though.  I DO believe that there’s something to be said for riding the bike when you don’t feel like riding the bike.

 

Way back when I ran a little comedy show in a basement bar in Manhattan, I asked a very talented friend of mine to host the show for me on a night when I couldn’t be there.  He agreed to do it.  I was even going to pay him for filling in for me.  Last minute, he cancelled.  I asked him why and he said, “I’m feeling uninspired.”

 

uninspired, searching for inspiration

This image pops up when you put the search term, “uninspired” into flickr. I mean, how can something so uninspired look so inspired?

 

There was something precious about his answer to me.  Maybe – for him – he was right.  Comedy was his art and he wasn’t feeling it.  He was feeling like he needed a rest or to do something else.

 

Yet, I still felt like he had left me high and dry.

 

However, maybe, just maybe, people who take their art to the degree where when they cancel a gig they sound like the feckin’ king of England, maybe, just maybe, they are right.  Maybe this kind of tenderness and protectiveness of one’s craft is what can make you successful.  Maybe this elitist thinking can take you from good to great.

 

Maybe.  Or maybe you often have to do the craft when you don’t want to or feel like doing the craft.  Maybe that can also make you stronger as a writer and a creative.

 

I don’t have any answers.  I only have the thoughts in my head and my often times, clunky, writing.

 

You see, I write down all these post ideas and I keep them in my phone, but today I didn’t feel like dissecting any one of them.  I didn’t feel like delving into a particular topic and stirring something up.  The pups are finally asleep and I only want to express the thoughts I have in my head, as I am having them.  Improvisational writing, in a sense.

 

But, is that interesting at all?

 

I just don’t know.

 

I’m throwing this into the abyss.  I’m listening to the breathing of my dogs and I’m letting the thoughts wash in and out of my head and then spill on to the keyboard with reckless abandon.  My hope is that this act is not so one-sided that it will bore you senseless.  I suppose I’m wondering if you can pull a blogging-Larry-David.

 

creative flow

Another “uninspired” completely inspiring image…

 

In other words, can you post about absolutely feckin’ nothing?

 

Can it be done?  Or is it just an exercise in hearing your self talk…or write, rather, I should say?

 

I stretch my body out.  I reflect and what enters my mind is this thought:

 

“You could wait until inspiration hits.  That’s what a lot of people do.  You could wait until you have gold or at least an attention grabber.”

 

I suppose to some degree, I’m tired of waiting.  Waiting for things to happen.  Waiting for nods of approval.  Waiting to make more money than I lose.  Waiting to get out of debt.  Waiting to feel inspired.  My only quest is to create something everyday.  If you like it, great.  If you don’t, you don’t.

 

It’s a strange place to live, but for right now – it just feels right.

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish on the quest towards 365 consecutive posts.  Only a few dozen more to go. Join me by clicking the “follow” option above.

 

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You might also like:

Take in Strays, Fight Vampires

 

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Photo creds:

cows, ny-man, storm-feature

 

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50 thoughts on “Uninspired (Post 39)

  1. I applaud you for writing, even if you don’t feel like it. I was working on 365 consecutive posts (even lined up pre-written pieces to publish on Christmas and New Year’s), and then I screwed the pooch for Super Bowl Sunday. Totally let myself down. I guess what I am getting at is that sticking it out, even when you don’t wanna, is where you’ll find the greatest satisfaction. It’s nice to see that even the best can have days when the words just don’t want to come out. XOXO

    1. i will absolutely take ‘even the best’ looool. mainly, because i never feel like that. but, yeah, i think it happens to everyone right up to stephen king. what i’m trying to do is get this to be a muscle. one thing i will say is my posts have become WAAAAY shorter. so, maybe i’m looking forward to the end of consecutive posts? looollll. xoxo

  2. *stands and applauds*

    Let me guess: You want to know why I clap. Two reasons: 1) You put your naked self (so to speak) out here. You said you felt uninspired and had nothing to say, yet this feels like one of the most intimate glimpses into your life that I’ve seen. I, for one, wish to say, “Thank you for letting me in. I’m honored.”
    2) This: “I suppose to some degree, I’m tired of waiting. Waiting for things to happen. Waiting for nods of approval. Waiting to make more money than I lose. Waiting to get out of debt. Waiting to feel inspired. My only quest is to create something everyday. If you like it, great. If you don’t, you don’t.” I’m prod of you for that. I’ve encountered so many that are content to simply wait, that it’s wonderful to me another that is tired of waiting.

    I’ve said it before, and I will again, “You are one of my favorite people in the world.”

    1. foster, you consistently make my day. and who knew that would happen after a post entitled, ‘uninspired’ – i didn’t that’s who. when ever you are out in la-la landia or when i come back east, we must meet. cause i think you’re rad. yes, i just said rad. looool. xo, sm

  3. I think this post was absolutely inspired. Inspired by being uninspired… Only you can do that, SM.

    I tend to lean towards what you said here: “Or maybe you often have to do the craft when you don’t want to or feel like doing the craft. Maybe that can also make you stronger as a writer and a creative.”

    Choosing not to be creative because one feels uninspired *feels* like an easy out or excuse to me. I think we need to force ourselves to do something creative everyday. The product of that day may not be the best thing we put out there, but it’s something and a step towards improving overall.

    I’m kind of doing that with my 365 project. I may not always feel inspired to practice or write music, but I’m forcing myself to do so for 365 days straight. I’m on day 36. Despite having the flu, and then a sinus infection, attending a 12 hour long expo (after the shows, etc. after the event), etc. I’ve still managed to keep it up everyday.

    I can’t say that I do my best practicing each of those days, but I’m doing something and I feel good about it. Sometimes I think, “ugh, I don’t feel like playing.” But then once I do, it’s a different story. And for that, I’m proud. I also, slowly but surely, am hearing a difference in my playing.

    Same with writing music. I know I need to work on new songs otherwise I’ll never get around to a new album. I also recently got some pretty honest criticism of the last one. It definitely hit me and left me feeling “uninspired” to pursue another album, but only for a minute. I realized that I should keep working at it otherwise I’ll never improve, never grow. If I sit around waiting for inspiration I’ll never get anything done! Plus, I can also use the critique to shape the next album to be something my audience likes more.

    Sometimes we have the tendency to rely too much on natural talent or inspiration and forget that sometimes, good old-fashioned “hard work” benefits us greatly.

    It reminds me of one of my foreign language classes. We had a lot of native speakers in the class because it was an easy ‘A’ for them, but the teacher made it clear that in the past, the native speakers never received the highest marks on their tests. It was actually the students who worked and studied the hardest! I think art can be the same.

    There is something to be said about talent and inspiration, but sometimes just forcing yourself to sit down and develop your art can do more for you than waiting for inspiration to hit or relying on pure talent to get by.

    So now, that I’ve been a bit all over the map… Great post SM.

    1. shans, you talk about ‘process’ so well. you really do. it’s hard to hear the criticism and then re-work something or quite frankly, just get up and do it again. believe me, i know. when it comes to my book, i’m in almost the same exact place. as for doing something 365, it’s such an interesting experience, i recommend every artsy type try it once or more than once. you may not get what you thought out of it, but you WILL get something. of that, i am sure. anyway, THANK YOU for the amaze-balls comment. i may even re-read it a couple of times. 😉 xo, sm

      1. Anything for you SM.

        Also, I’d like to add that when I say “we need to do something creative everyday,” especially when it’s related to our art, I’m not saying that everyone else needs to see each day of that process! Not everything we create is meant for an audience! It’s just a matter of practicing your craft everyday to improve it slowly but surely. The day by day is for our personal development, the product of that in total is for everyone else to see.

        For example, my compositions – I may write at least 10 that no one ever hears for the 1 that I release on an album or as a single! The point is, I have to constantly compose and create to get that 1. Like you said, it’s a process.

        XOXO

    1. the cows or the city one? they’re both VERY good. and both taken by photographers who felt ‘uninspired’ and tagged them as such, which is fascinating to me bc i think they are both amazing. xoxo, sm

  4. I swear I was thinking this same thing earlier today when I was at B&N with a friend.We were talking about writers who crank out crap because they have a publishing contract, and how loyal readers get the shaft when popular authors begin “phoning it in” because they are creatively tapped out. Their crap sells, just because. If I was inclined to compare myself to popular writers, I’d be pissed about that. The fact of the matter is, I am nowhere in that league. I don’t even have nosebleed seats at a game in that league.

    I usually have a lot to say…about a lot of things, and I write a lot of stuff that never makes it out of crap.doc – when I write something that is uninspired, it shows. Most of the time only I know, but sometimes others know too. the (no comment) speaks volumes…loudly. It doesn’t stop me from writing. It makes me want to try that much harder. To write more.

    When I feel tapped out, it’s best for me to focus on something besides writing. I’m not one who can write a post about the contents of their sock drawer and get everybody all excited. So, I clean out the sock drawer or the fridge, cruise around other blogs, etc.

    You, Sweet Mother, you could write about anything and make it worth reading. Even the subject of not having anything to write about. This comment alone is proof positive. 🙂 xoxoxo

    1. honie, you are too kind to me and i am flattered. however, i HAVE written some crap. honestly. it’s on here, in the archives section and i can pretty much name the pieces. loool. i think it happens to pretty much everyone who is posting frequently. i, for one, get really annoyed when comedians put out a book that is simply their act re-written, but a publisher buys it bc they have a name and it will sell. i am always slightly furious whenever i buy one of those, let me tell you. this writing stuff, it’s work. lovely work. but, day in and day out – still work. also, you should read this:

      For my writers…Upside of Distraction – http://NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/hrmDO

      xo, sm

  5. I don’t think you ever write about “nothing”. Quite the opposite in fact. Dare I say most of your posts are “golden inspiration”. If they provoke even one of us to think about something then they are.

    1. it felt like a meditation on nothing or a meditation on creative lacking. anyway, it was the right thing to write in the moment. thank you for your very kind comment, mg. i swear you two keep this up and i’ll be at you and he who’s house asking you to adopt me. loool. xo, sm

  6. This was poetry. It doesn’t always have to be funny. I know it’s not my place to say it, but I don’t care if your talented “friend” was uninspired. You don’t do that to a friend.

    1. thanks for saying that, he who. i actually thought it was sorta shitty myself, but then i thought, well, maybe he takes his craft really seriously. i do too, but loyalty is probably equally important to me. or more than that – staying true to my word, i think. much love, sm

  7. I think that working your craft when you are uninspired leaves room for the magic to happen. Some of my best photos have happened when I was not feeling it. I took some last week when I was feeling overwhelmed by a plumbing disaster and I wanted to check out. I shoot everyday – so I started shooting. I feel like I took some pretty interesting shots that day, shots I am proud of. I wasn’t shooting a sunset or something grand – I was shooting frozen birdseed. By pushing the doldrums out of the way you leave room for inspiration to flood in.

    I didn’t find this post to be uninspired. I found like most of your posts that it pushed me to think.

    1. so you realize the fact that you can make art out of frozen birdseed, well, that’s inspirational enough! loool. i hear you. i mean, look at the above pix. all of them were up on flickr with the ‘uninspired’ tag meaning the photographers felt uninspired when they took them and yet, they’re beautiful. it’s an interesting thing the creative process. that’s for sure. xo, sm

  8. Many times I felt uninspired during the month I vowed to write the entire month. I think there’s something to writing even when you don’t feel like writing. That’s what led me to my post about the elderly and STDs.

  9. I once read something that either Enid Blyton or Agatha Christie said about writing. [Sorry total brain blank as to which one it was] Anyway, this successful /author/ was talking about the point at which she became a professional writer. And that point was when she wrote as if for a job, whether she was feeling inspired or not.

    I think today’s post shows that you are far more professional than most of us. And I for one really enjoyed this uninspired post. 😀

  10. Seems, based on my Monday post, that we are in the same spot. And, from both of our comments (I got some very interesting dialogues going there!), that we are not alone. Hard to always be inspired, and hard to write when we’re not. And as you note, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David made a fortune out of “nothing.” Three times. :-p Glad you hit the keys.

  11. Goes to the uninspired field that Becky is laying in. Lays down next to her looking at the sky like 10 year olds. I say ‘why are you sitting in this field looking uninspired and sad? When you could be in the happy carefree meadow with all it’s inspiring beauty and laughter. There you need no nods of approval you know you’re funny smart and all those things relax enjoy the meadow and leave the field behind’ Becky turns her head shading her eyes from a sun she hasn’t noticed. ‘Ok where’s this meadow? Though don’t know if I can be bothered moving’
    You don’t have to go anywhere Becky D you are already laying in it.
    Take a sec to think about it. It may be Emma sense, but it will make sense eventually lol

  12. It is absolutely interesting. Love the ending of this…it is inspirational all on its own. Some of my most popular posts have come from pushing through on days I “wasn’t feeling it.” When I sit down to write without an agenda, I usually end up with my guts on the page. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t, but every word/writing workout gets you closer to your goal. Screw waiting!

  13. I don’t know what it is, but I like it! I think this is how I’m feeling right now.
    I like to keep notes too, but the problem is I get all sorts of ideas all at once…and then I’m dry for weeks at a time.

  14. I had to drop by and comment on this too. Good for you for writing something even if you don’t feel like it. There are times when you need a break for a bit, and there are other times when you need a little prodding. I remember teachers telling us that if we didn’t know what to write about, start writing anyway, even if it’s about the wall. You never know what will come from it. I’d say there was some good stuff in this post 🙂

  15. Thank you for your post! It seems just as your ending your year project, I am just starting mine and one of the things that scare me is the time when I don’t have something to post due to lack of inspiration. It makes me feel better that I am not the only one who thinks like this. And in fact the whole reason that I am doing a 365 project is because of this belief that I am in a creative rut.

  16. Well, I found this extraordinarily full of a very good something, for a post that was supposed to be about nothing. I have a dear girlfriend who has cranked out close to thirty books and she has the most tremendous work ethic. She doesn’t wait for inspiration, she just rolls up her sleeves and gets into it. And sometimes it’s hard. Every word at times is blood from a stone, but even a little progress is progress, and later she comes back to those bits and edit and reshapes and works her craft.

    But then again, every so often you have to lift your head and fill that well up again so that you can keep drawing from it.
    Much love to you, sm 😀 xx

  17. I have not been feeling it for the entire month of January and it seems to be taking February over too. Okay, I’ve had ideas this month at least. Only I keep forgetting them by the time I get to a computer. So it hasn’t done me any good.

  18. Sweet Mom even when you think you arent inspired you end up writing a thought provoking post…

    ” Or maybe you often have to do the craft when you don’t want to or feel like doing the craft. Maybe that can also make you stronger as a writer and a creative.”..this is food for thought…

    to be honest you are among few top most inspiring bloggers that i know..

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