“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.”
― Chuck Palahniuk,
You might not have read Chuck Palahniuk but you know who he is and what he stands for. He wrote ‘Fight Club’, amongst other great novels. The wacky ‘Pygmy’ is probably my favourite but I’m not recommending it to anyone. Read at your own risk.
In any case, he’s dead on the money about inspiration. Think of tasks you’ve performed when they’ve been dictated by others who supplied very specific instructions, leaving you no room for inspiration. You’ve put plenty of effort into these jobs and walked away after having completed the job knowing that it’s done but feeling no joy.
But life is too short for such nonsense, too bloody boring when devoid of inspiration, and too valuable to be lived leaving nothing but barren copies of the work of others as a legacy. Luckily for us, inspiration is in plentiful supply and, given the right frame of mind, can almost drown everything else out if we gave it the attention it deserves.
Here are five obvious rules to make sure your efforts are inspired
- Only accept jobs/tasks from clients/superiors/peers/kids/partners if they leave room for a bit of your own inspiration. Change the brief to allow for an open door through which inspiration can flow.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. ‘Silly’ pictures posted to your timeline by that guy you haven’t seen since you left school could strike a chord. Subscribe to an online music service that will prevent you from resorting to the same iTunes playlist you created a while ago.
- Stop whatever you’re doing for a while. Take a break. Run an errand that’s due tomorrow. Park far from where you need to go and walk the last ten minutes. Then get back to your task.
- Don’t let deadlines rule your life. The creative process is not bound by time. Clients should understand that if they want excellent work, they have to wait for it to happen to you first. Work with them to bring briefs forward and seek inspiration before rushing into the job.
- Take time to shut out the world completely. Your life’s experiences so far have been exceptional and varied. Only ‘silence’ can create wonderfully unexpected links between the millions of entries in your internal album of sights and sounds.