Can One Write While Uninspired?

It’s well known that there’s a close link between emotions and art. An artist throws in one or often many emotions into his/her work. In turn, that can translate to his audience, creating a stir of sentiments in them, as well.

Emotions are delicate, which makes what they inspire equally fragile. A sudden event can transform a masterpiece before its conception. For instance, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was inspired by his observing the blood red colored sunset and a faint creaking noise in the distance. The experience made him feel like nature was screaming out to him, impelling him to paint the famous scene.

Suppose he hadn’t heard that sound, and instead, maybe he heard a baby’s cry. Would we now know of The Cry or would the painting cease to exist? I doubt even Munch could tell us.

My point is when one isn’t feeling the proper emotions, it can all too easily impede his creative process. Those of us who are authors fear the notorious ‘Writer’s Block.’ Some may think this is a mental problem, but in my opinion, it’s an emotional one. When our writing is an outlet for our feelings, it only stands to reason that it’ll suffer if we don’t have any we want to express. Our creativity may still be there, but there’s no spark to bring it to life.

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Sometimes, even happiness can squelch inspiration, as one may not need that escape to release their tender feelings if they have joy. In my decade of writing, though, I’ve run across the opposite more often. Like anybody, I’ve gone through various ups and downs, and the latter is a real inspiration-crusher.

My first experience of this came only a few months after I started writing, when two friends of mine were killed in horrific accidents nine days apart. So limited on experience, I took a longer period to recuperate and return to my manuscript than I ever have since. Other challenges—even one within the past week—have dampened my creativity, and I’ve learned not to be ashamed to take a short break to allow myself to heal.

Something else I’ve realized, however, is how writing can help in that healing process. Sure, it’s hard to go back to imagining fun stories when your world has imploded. Never underestimate, though, the power of one little idea. It can blossom into something you didn’t expect and get you right back on track where you left off.

What’s more, you can use whatever you’re feeling to breathe life into your writing. This happened to me as I was finishing Forgetting My Way Back to You. An upsetting development occurred at that crucial point, and initially, I wanted to give up on writing altogether. After the shock wore off, however, I chose to use the misery I felt to create what became—in my opinion—the book’s most powerful moment.

As this has highlighted, our emotions play a huge part in our works, and that’s what makes them live. When they end up hindering our process, we need to be patient with ourselves for a while…but not too long. Being uninspired can sometimes turn into just the inspiration you need. This very post is a testament to that!

See also: The Therapeutic Benefits of Writing

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Driven to Success or Running from Failure: Which is the Better Motivator?

Throughout my life, I’ve often been called an inspiration. While I’m accustomed to the flattering title now, I can’t say I’m comfortable with it. I have a variety of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I haven’t made any of my pursuits because of extraordinary ambition or talent. Rather, I’ve done it all with one of the few goals everybody shares—to be happy and fulfilled.

That motivation, in itself, has given me the needed boost to strive for a productive life. As highlighted in the About page, my parents didn’t raise me to focus on my limitations. They adapted opportunities instead of denying them, so I’ve always seen more prospects for myself than others might. Those prospects usually need some tweaks, but my upbringing gave me the willpower to make them.

At the same time, I must admit I’ve always had something to prove. As discussed in previous posts, people stereotype me because of my Cerebral Palsy, and from an early age, I’ve been eager to prove them wrong. I’ve even wanted to prove professionals’ expectations wrong. For instance, my neurologist told my parents I may start to walk on my own by my late teens. My competitive and contrary soul, however, yearned to blow that prediction out of the water by walking before I hit thirteen. Though I didn’t accomplish that, I still relished in beating his prediction by a few years.

Fast-forward to my early adulthood, and I had ever more to prove. I graduated seventh in my high school class, so there were differing opinions on what path I should pursue. I disappointed some by not going to college, and this led several—with good intentions—to plot out my ‘Plan B.’

One professional I was required to meet with offered options that do help many but that didn’t fit in with the life neither my family nor I had in mind. She didn’t seem to appreciate our declining her suggestions, and initially, I was crushed by her bleak view of my future and potential. Once the emotion wore off, my misery turned to determination to have a better life and career than she could imagine.

Returning to the theme of this post, I’m unsure if one would say I’m a driven individual or just a rascally and stubborn mule! In light of my confessions, am I really an inspiration?

No need to assure me either way, as I don’t truly aspire to be one. Like I stated earlier, I’ve reached for my achievements for my own well-being, and that’s still the case. I’m no more certain of my future triumphs or failures than anyone is, so I take the steps I can today to better my life tomorrow.

To answer the question in the title, I believe one needs to both reach for success and run from failure. In some instances, one is stronger than the other, but coupled together, they keep us focused to continue in our endeavors. Like a quirky and complex Rube Goldberg machine, we all need pushes and pulls of one sort or another in our quest for success.

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Photo credit: Flickr