Thoughts on inspiration

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. I need projects. It’s how I have the motivation for both my artist and my athlete to continue on. A few months ago, I wrapped up a show that was the culmination of two years’ work. I was the choreographer, director, producer, and one of the dancers in the production. It was an awesome show, and the dancers all put in an incredible amount of work to create it. When it ended, all I could think of was, “Now what?” I definitely felt a little lost at sea. I needed a new project. I needed inspiration.

In my search, I thought about a talk that I saw by Amanda Palmer where she referred to “staring at the wall time” and how it can be essential to the creative process. She also credited the phrasing to a friend whose name escapes me, but the phrase stuck a chord.  I also came across this awesome article put out by the Guardian a couple of years ago where numerous British artists of various sorts list how they find inspiration. With that article in mind, I offer up my own methods of finding inspiration:

  1. Inspiration requires work. It probably won’t fall out of the sky and strike you like lightning.
  2. That work may not be visible to others. That’s okay. It’s still work. You still get credit for it.
  3. Sources of inspiration exists all around you. You just need to look for them. They can be as diverse as mining an old journal, observing a stranger on the bus, or that weird hobby that you’ve always had but kept separate from your art.
  4. Keep track of your sources: a written journal, video, art, or perhaps a box where you collect things.
  5. Don’t judge. Just start.

I did manage to find some inpiration recently. I’m starting work on a new solo show call The History of (my) Dance that will include dance, historic lecture, and personal storytelling.  It’s equal parts thrilling and terrifying embarking on a new project. I’ll probably share some of that thrill and terror here.