I have an open relationship with Inspiration and before I go much further, I want to clear one thing up: he’s never been abusive, illusive, or manipulative. The thing is, I know how some people view him; I hear people bash Inspiration’s habit of poor timing and then there’s his favorite cruel joke where he shows up in all his infinite glory, two hours later he’s gone, and no matter how hard you try to find him, he hasn’t left so much as a single footprint behind. His tendency to come and go at his own whim leaves some feeling ____ (insert negative emotion here).
Inspiration is not a bad guy though and, personally speaking, seeking Inspiration has always been more about courting him than “hunting him down” and holding onto him. Some seek Inspiration with a torch and pitchfork like that one scene in every movie where they’re going to burn a witch at the stake or they try to find the “X” on an ever-changeable treasure map of creativity…
For me, it’s more like seduction.
In the last couple weeks, I’ve crossed the threshold of mild disinterest to complete reading/writing slump. Slumps are cyclical and, while I can appreciate the fact they make their rounds then move on to feed off another unsuspecting soul, that’s just it = slumps are always unsuspecting. I don’t go into slumps after breakups or hard weeks at work. There is no trigger, at least, not that I’m aware of. It’s just out of the blue. Poof! My drive disappears. My curiosity evaporates. The joy of reading vanishes. The therapeutic essence of writing floats away into the unknown like a forgotten birthday balloon.
I don’t I try not to combat Inspiration, or lack thereof, when a slump comes to prey upon me. No, I do what a lot of us do with healer’s souls and needy hands: I try to seduce the bastard back into my life. Even when I think he’s completely abandoned me, if I pay really close attention, I can almost always feel his breath on the back of my neck or a small stroke of his fingers along my arms.
Seducing Inspiration works in many ways, much like seducing a flesh and blood person, but I want to share some of my favorites. These are just a few things that help charm Inspiration back into my space and allow me to be intimate with him again.
- I buy myself flowers. Cliché I know but it really works. Fresh flowers in my workspace almost always does the trick. Since Inspiration isn’t likely to show up at my doorstep with them, I might as well get them on my own and let him see I will continue to foster beauty even in his absence. Beauty tends to bring him back around.
- I take a walk. Again, pretty standard for most of us, but aside from connecting with nature, here’s what I think can happen: fresh air reaches out real gentle and caresses your skin and Inspiration gets jealous. Laugh all you want – but have you ever gone for a walk to “clear your head” and then BAM! All the sudden an idea just hits you out of nowhere? Suddenly, you just have to get home and write it down. Or grab your phone and record your idea. That’s Inspiration, baby, and he’s loving that rosy tint to your cheeks, the way your chest is fully expanding when you take a deep breath of autumn air, that small bit of sashay to your walk because you feel good. But he’ll be damned if he’s going to let nature have all the fun with you. He wants you back.
- Peppermint oil. This one, y’all, this one is definitely not a joke. Peppermint is my FAVORITE tool to utilize when seducing Inspiration. He literally cannot turn it down. I dab a little on my wrists and behind my ears. Or I take a bath and add a few drops with a carrier oil. Maybe I might grab my diffuser necklace and just breathe for a steady thirty seconds. He always comes back around when he smells peppermint – plus it’s a good excuse to have York Peppermint Patties in my purse all the time.
- I pick up my camera/paintbrush/sanding block/staining rag. You know what turns Inspiration on? When he sees you doing something you love, with your hands. So, when a reading/writing slump hits me, I find ANOTHER one of my favorite things and throw myself into it. Let him watch you. Nothing lights Inspiration’s fire quicker than creative fuel.
At the end of the day, Inspiration has a tendency to crawl in bed with me and whisper promises of a tomorrow filled to the brim with ideas. But even if he doesn’t stick around to keep those promises, I sure as hell know ways to tempt the womanizer back into my den of imagination.
What about you? What happens when you “can’t find any inspiration” or you fall into a slump? Are there little tricks to get you back into the feel of things?