Inspiration, Where You At?

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My ideal weekday would be this: wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., make coffee and a healthy breakfast, write for two to three hours, head to the gym for a solid workout, go home, shower, work some more (writing, answering emails, planning), go to happy hour or dinner with friends, read for an hour or so, and go to bed. Maybe throw in some Real Housewives to that lineup, too.

That probably sounds like the most boring schedule imaginable to a lot of people, but for me—holy smokes—that is a dream. (Also, I’d make sure my weekends would have a LITTLE more excitement. Promise.) Life would be so much easier. I could easily manifest my inspirations and dreams, and each day would be frustration-less and peaceful, right?

NO! Even if I had what, in my mind, seems like the most idyllic schedule, road bumps would come out of nowhere and struggle would ensue, because that’s just how life works. Things change and rarely go according to plan, and that’s alright. I’ve finally come to accept that fact (on most days, at least—though sometimes I’m still in denial and whine about the unfairness of life).

For the most part, I realize that even if I plan away my life to my heart’s content, certain aspects can still go awry. For the control freak in me (which is, oh, probably the majority of me), that’s painful to admit. But for the wannabe go-with-the-flow, spontaneous hippie (which makes up MAYBE 2 percent of me, contrary to these photos), that’s a-okay.

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So, with all that in mind (you know, the fact that life sucks sometimes), how’s one supposed to get anything done—especially in the realm of creativity? Not that other realms are any easier to navigate, but it’s just that, well, they kind of are. Sorry to say it, but more logical, analytical, or tangible work than creativity is work that people can wrap their minds around day in and day out.

I can say that because that’s the sort of work I do in my 9-to-5 job. It’s straightforward, black and white, and maneuverable. Sure, there are obstacles, just like anything else. But in the pursuit of creativity, the obstacle is always, “How can I make something interesting (or beautiful or original or inspiring, and so on) out of nothing?” It’s the struggle of creation. (Which is why it’s called creativity.) Say what you want, but in jobs that don’t surround a creative pursuit, that obstacle simply doesn’t exist.

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I struggle with balancing inspiration and creativity with the rest of my life all the time. I think everyone does, to some extent. I’ve written about this struggle many times, complained about this struggle to my nearest even more often, and, more than anything else, wracked my brain thinking and worrying about this struggle until my head almost spins. And here I am, again, writing about it, because I’m a little looney I’ve been contemplating this balance more than ever lately.

I don’t always follow my own advice—in fact, I rarely do—but I’ve written down a few notes on how I try to maintain or reignite my own inspiration, even when it feels like the most difficult thing to grasp on to, thanks to life and all its distractions and impurities.

Embrace the reasoning behind an excuse. Look, we’re all humans. It’s practically in our DNA to excuse ourselves when we underperform. (People who command others to never make excuses make me angry. Everyone does it!) Instead of turning it into a grandiose explanation, though, simply accept it. Too tired to write? Too busy to paint? Too overwhelmed to cook? Then don’t, and try again tomorrow. And don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen then, either.

Start. Start something today. Start a list of ideas. Start writing a sentence. Start thinking about a new plot line. Start planning when you can truly start. It doesn’t mean you’ll finish today, and it doesn’t mean you’ll even actually create anything today. But you’ll be setting creativity in motion by not ignoring it or actively placing it at the end of your priority list any longer.

Go easy on yourself. Flexibility is something I work on continuously. Isn’t it true that we’re hardest on ourselves? Punishing myself for being less productive than another day or another person isn’t going to make me feel anymore positive toward working on a goal. Let’s go ahead and allow ourselves the grace we give others, yes?

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(P.S. I have been selfishly SITTING on these stunning, dreamy photos by Aleah Clark, but I finally figured: What better time to post these beauties than in a blog post about inspiration? Enjoy! Also, Aleah is based in California but travels often. She is such a bright and positive spirit, and, speaking of creativity and inspo, she’s beyond talented. Work with her!)

Maxi Dress: Altar’d State

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