What Inspires You?
With the negativity I see every morning on the news, I wanted to write about something that inspires me. Too many times, I get caught up watching tv. I let it get to me. There’s sad stories, tragedies, scary stories, and I drive to work sometimes in silence just pondering these negative events and worrying. I want to alleviate some of those worries by altering my focus – away from the negative things and onto something positive: what inspires me.
What is inspiration? According to Dictionay.com, it’s “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” What inspires you? Sunsets? Hiking? Puppies? We all have different hobbies, things that we like to do, and inspiration can embed itself in those things. But what happens when we lose our inspiration? What happens when we miss the sunset? What happens when it’s pouring out and we can’t go hiking? Do we suddenly become uninspired and unmotivated?
This semester, my English professor had us write poetry. Poetry is important to anyone who wants to be a writer, even if said writer hates writing poetry (don’t tell my professor!) I’m not sure how well you write poetry, but it doesn’t come naturally to me, and I struggle to write anything worth sharing. So for class assignments, assignments where we’d be sharing our work in class, I really had to put time, energy, and creativity toward my poetry. And when you’re doing something that you have to do, but you’re really struggling, it can be easy to become unmotivated or to put less effort toward the project. Imagine your boss gives you a task or project that has to be done, but it doesn’t sound interesting, or requires a certain skill you might not be your strength. What do you do to find that creativity and inspiration to keep going? Unless you want to lose your job, you’ll figure something out, right?
Well, that’s what I did. I searched for my next inspiration. Many different things inspire me in many different ways. Exercising inspires me to eat healthy; exercising does not inspire me to write poetry. Sitting down for a nice family dinner inspires me to spend more time with my family and to be appreciative for what I have; dinner with my family does not inspire me to write poetry.
My first tactic was to read poetry. It was actually pretty terrible, and I probably would have rather been sitting in traffic, but in the end it definitely helped me out. I became more familiar with how others write poetry and I read about what other writers did to inspire them. I often use this tactic at work, as well, when I’m given a project where I need a little more information. I’ll research how other companies did it, what goes into a project like this, what resources do I need? It’s perfectly fine to learn more about yourself and strengthen an area that isn’t your strong suite by reading or watching how others do it.
One of the things I noticed when I was reading poetry is that these authors picked the simplest things possible and wrote about them in such a crazy and interesting way. It made me realize that in order to be a better writer, I had to learn how to appreciate the little things, the things I don’t even notice, the people I walk right past, the sunrises I ignore because I’m late for work. And not just appreciate, but struggle and push to find something, anything, to say about the object, event, or situation I am writing or thinking about. I found that the simpler I went, the more difficult it became to find the words to describe this thing. It really forced me to be in the moment – what does this object look like? What does this object smell like, sound like? And being in the moment means I’m not worrying about tomorrow or stressing about yesterday. I’m just in “the now.”
After writing poetry for class, I was inspired to push myself to carry this into everyday life. I would stop myself, just for a few seconds, to ask myself what am I doing, what can I describe right now, what can I appreciate, how can I ground myself and remind myself I’m here? In the morning, I would wake up and make coffee. Rather than walking away, I would sit and stare at the coffee pot as it filled with hot coffee. I smelled the coffee, felt the coffee cup lightly – it was burning, but I didn’t burn myself. I added sugar and cream, admiring the way that the cream mixed with the coffee, swirling around and around until the lines disappeared and the coffee was a lighter shade. Even if this was just about coffee, I was appreciating the coffee, I was reminding myself to be in the moment and appreciate that moment, and appreciate the fact that I’m able to be in that moment.
I find myself rushing through my day and forgetting to stop. But when I do stop, and I do take the time to remind myself of where I am, I truly feel more positive, more grateful, more focused, and more inspired. And with inspiration comes passion. The results are better writing, stronger writing, the passion to do more things outside of my house, the passion to try something new, and the drive to be a better version of myself.