Inspiration is a slippery thing, like try to catch a fish with your bear hands. One moment you think you've got hold of it, the next it vanishes. This week has been hard on my inspiration. Rather than talk about what did inspire me, I'm going to talk about some inspiration killers.
Bronchitis and a sinus infection ganged up on me last week and inspiration, fair weather friend that she is, curled up and hid. When you're sick, the ideas that were so abundant and felt so urgent when you were healthy, are now worries that induce procrastination and anxiety, which just makes you more tired than you already are. Creativity becomes work rather than joyful play.
Once the procrastination had set in for me, I started to get behind. My daily goals became burdens because as I missed each one, my stress increased which invariably made me want to procrastinate even more, which then had a domino effect because I just continued to miss my self imposed deadlines. Excuses followed: "It's not like this blog is my job and my electricity is dependent upon it." and "It wasn't my fault! After all I'm sick!" The stress of worry became like fog in my head and inspiration was lost in the mist.
Being sick with a chest congesting illness along with drainage from sinuses can make for difficult sleep. Not only that, the worries I was entertaining jumped around in my head like little devils and sleep was restless at best. The lack of sleep made me cranky with my kids and the thought of even turning on the computer made me even more cranky! I needed sleep, but sleep was slow to come. And with each passing night, I just felt more and more like I was just functioning. Inspiration and creativity don't visit in those type of circumstances.
I did manage to turn the computer on and check email. And in the spaces when I was vegging out, I looked through the web for other artists and illustrators to look at their work. Usually I find this to be a motivating activity. Beauty often can help us to be more creative, but this time, with all the stress and worry I was already feeling, the beautiful work of others only made me feel more critical of my own. I began to wonder if all of this effort to pursue the dream of becoming an illustrator is really just a pipe dream, a waste of time. My own art work began to look unworthy and not very good at all.
So how do you and I overcome all of these negative, inspiration killing circumstances and feelings?
Perseverance. I wrote recently about the book of James in the Bible and his reminder to Christians to see trials though the eyes of faith, knowing that when that faith is tested and we weather through the test, trusting humbly that God will be with us through it, we come out on the other side, stronger and more mature and wiser. Those traits being worth the struggle.
Someone close to me said the only difference between a pipe dream and persevering, is the outcome. The journey there is the same. And the only way to know the end is to keep going. So, how much do I want to see the ending? I better get back to work and keep going, sometimes gritting my teeth through those uninspired moments.