As a songwriter I’ve often pondered about what it means to be inspired. How does it happen and how does it feel? What differentiate inspiration from motivation, drive, and creativity? What leads to what? Do you really mean it when you say “I am so inspired to…”?
Hold that thought for a second, and join me on a sidetrack.
"Today music sucks. Really bad. I actually decided to quit. Today I decided to sell my four guitars (even the one I bought a week ago), I’ll sell my banjo, sell the glass slide I stole from my teacher, I’ll put my lyrics on a flash drive and save for my grandchildren to read when I’m 90, I’ll write a letter to my roommate telling her to please eat my three carrots and my cheese that’s in the fridge. Then I’ll pack my luggage and go somewhere, possibly to a hut by the ocean, as far away from musicians as I can. And there I’ll sit till the police come arrest me because I haven’t paid my student loan. They’ll take me to prison. Since a prison in my mind looks like the ones in stories taking place1000 years ago, I’ll probably die pretty fast(well, then I won’t have to put my lyrics on a flash drive for my grandchildren, cause I won’t have any. Ha, that saves me some time). And If I die I won’t have to pay back my student loan, and most importantly, I won’t have to be angry at myself for writing bad songs…. I won’t have to be angry at myself for not being John Mayer... I won’t have to be angry at myself for being only…human!"
Alright…(you can breath no)… So, this crazy train of thoughts, which took me about 5 seconds to think, leads me back to inspiration. I realized (especially after writing it down) how insane my own thinking is. WHY AND HOW could I possibly go from “I can do it all” to “I'm worth nothing”, so suddenly.
When I first came to Valencia I got a feeling I hadn’t had before. I felt like I FINALLY had found inspiration. I wanted to work. Even after weeks of spending 14 hours at school everyday, I couldn’t get enough. I assumed it was the sunlight, beach, the people, the genuine teachers, new city, the white buildings, the clean practice rooms, my increasing tan-line, and café con leche, that filled me with drive and eager to work. But now a month has passed. The sun, clean practice rooms, and tan-line are still there; yet, all in a sudden I’m wading in my own tears, and the “inspiration” is gone. So...I guess I must dig deeper to find the answer for inspiration.
Let’s get a little scholarly (as if I haven’t had enough of that) and ask our friend google..
Inspiration - “being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
Creativity - “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.”
Motivation - “a reason for acting a particular way .“
Reworded: You need inspiration to be creative, and you need motivation to find inspiration. Reworded again: In order to use your imagination in an original way(be creative) you need to be mentally stimulated to feel like doing so. For that you need a reason; a reason/action that makes you want to act a certain way. BUT, here comes the problem, to find that reason(the reason/thing that makes you inspired to be creative), you need to be mentally alive, meaning present, meaning awake, meaning: you need sleep, you need food, you need to breath, you need water, you need to wake up and see the new day although it externally looks the same as yesterday. If you don’t have those things, you won’t function. And when you don’t function it’s impossible to believe in your own strength and power….THUS IMPOSSIBLE TO FEEL INSPIRED! Cause...who can achieve if they don’t believe they can?
Folk, I’m sorry, this was a lot. I don’t know if this was any help for you. I mean, you didn't really ask for a lesson in “how to find inspiration”, did you?. Still, I wanted to introduce you to a musicians mind, and show you what it may look like for some of us! As “alone” as I often feel, I’m quite certain I’m not the only one who get these sudden and insane breakdowns once in a while. They’re not easy to handle or to see with a clear mind. But writing it out the way I just did, sure clears ones mind, and is to me the best "therapy". And now…
Now I know what to do…I will rest, sleep, and eat(at least for one night)… cause with that I gain energy and strength…and can again start believing in myself!