It can be terrifying to want something. It can be even more terrifying to actually admit what it is that you want. Most of the time, it’s just easier to sit back and settle. Settle for the job you have. Settle for the relationship you’re in. The friends you have. The city you live in. The way you spend your free time.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, we all want to do something creative. Creativity can be whatever you want it to be, from artsy things like painting and writing, to technological endeavors like coding, to business-related aspirations like getting your MBA. Creativity is whatever makes you feel alive and curious and eager. It’s what gets your blood pumping. It’s the thing that makes you excited to wake up, even if you’re exhausted and it’s freezing outside and your bed feels like a giant marshmallow.
Creativity pulls you out of the zombie-like state that you sometimes find yourself in for hours or days or weeks on end. When you wake up full of dread, and then go to a job you hate, and then come home and watch four hours of television before waking up and doing it all over again the next day, your spark starts to die out. You have no energy, physically or mentally. You don’t want to do anything. You feel like you’re trapped in a cage and you will be for the rest of your life, forced to do something you hate every day just so that you can afford to pay the bills.
It’s even worse when you don’t hate your job or your life or your situation, but are instead just indifferent to it. Hating something at least forces you to actively feel something and to have an opinion and to put effort towards thinking a certain way. But when you’re indifferent to the things and the experiences you encounter every day, you become a shell of yourself. You have even less of a desire to make a change because, hey, things aren’t terrible. So what’s the point in shaking things up? But whether you hate your life at the moment or you’re indifferent to it, you need to change things.
It’s impractical to say that you should quit your job and forget about all your responsibilities. You can’t live that way. But what you can do is make it all more bearable by finding something that makes you feel passionate and excited. Something that makes you want to continue to learn every day. Something that makes you feel awake again. And this is where creativity comes in. Creativity sends a shockwave of electricity through your system. It makes your hands shake with the desire to start doing something, anything. It just gives you a reason – to live, to get up, to try, to get excited, to take care of yourself.
But creativity is also hard. It’s scary. The minute you start trying something, you’re opening yourself up to criticism and judgment from other people. And, trust me on this one, the judgment will come. That’s why we’re addicted to feeling uninspired. Because saying that we’re “uninspired” is our way of avoiding what we know is best for us, and what we know we truly want. We want to live off of the idea that someday we’ll do this, someday we’ll achieve our dream. But not today. It’s too overwhelming to begin our lifelong dream today. It’s too scary. So we’ll blame it all on a lack of inspiration.
It doesn’t matter if you want to design clothes or write a screenplay or create a website or learn the art of woodworking or build a garden in your backyard. You can always use the excuse of saying you’re not feeling inspired quite yet. Maybe you’ll start tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe next month, when things settle down.
The next thing you know, five years have gone by, and you have nothing to show for it. It’s easy to blame it on feeling uninspired, but sometimes, I think inspiration is just a myth. The things I’ve created that I’ve been most proud of have come from complete piles of crap. They’ve never come from divine moments of inspiration. Rather, I told myself that what I was about to create was going to be shitty. I gave myself permission to suck. And after trying and trying and trying, slowly, eventually, something came out of it.
You’re not going to wake up to birds chirping and the sun shining down on your face through the window while you drink a hot cup of coffee and compose the next symphony masterpiece. What will happen is you’ll be awake at three in the morning and you’ll try making something and it will be awful. And then you’ll try something else. And something else. And slowly, you will forget that you’re not inspired. And all you will think about is working on your piece of shit dream. You’ll hate it and you’ll feel ashamed and you will tell yourself you will never show it to anyone. And then you’ll come back to it after a few days and see that it’s not so bad. And you’ll work on it a little more. This time, with a little more love.
Uninspiration can kill your dreams. And your spirit. And any hope you have of feeling excited again. If you let it. You also have the choice of deciding that uninspiration is not a real word, or a real thing. Uninspiration is just a name we give to the fear we have of trying. Of being judged. Of failing. Of creating something bad. Of admitting that we want something, for the first time in our lives.
But you can beat uninspiration. Just pick up the pen. Or open the book. Or go out and buy the paintbrush. Or sign up for the class. Give yourself permission to suck. And then get to creating.