As a child, I was wildly creative. I genuinely did not care what others thought of me; painting on walls and writing my own music, and making movies with friends. Growing from this carefree child into who I am today, I ultimately lost the time and, with that, the fervor for creating. My days were more so filled with writing essays instead of poetry, reading textbooks instead of fantasy novels, taking photos for likes rather than scrapbooks. And, the worst part is, when I saw this happening and carved out time to create again, I found myself at a loss. I guess inspiration was not like the rest of my life, based on things I could control and schedule to a tee. So, I became complacient and my ukelele remained hung on the wall, poetry book catching dust
I actually could never figure it out. Years ago, my hands would shake whenever I had a good idea, as if it would spill out of me if I did not write it down. Lately though, no matter how much I poked and prodded, my mind always seems blank. My last great music teacher told me that the best way to write a song is to “write about whatever you think about the most”. Taking her advice, I would write songs about friendships, poems about simple crushes, and short stories about the fantasies I conjured in my head. But, when I applied the same logic to my life today, I came up empty-handed, because what was always on my mind?: the next task I had to complete. I was always drained because I never stopped to enjoy the current moment, to bask in the glory of everyday life. Either thinking about the paper due tomorrow or scheduling my days down to the hour, my brain never had a break to think about and experience what it actually wanted to.
That’s the thing about creativity — it hates being put in a box, thriving off feeling and human experience. When you take that away, inspiration comes to a halt. Essentially, I got so caught up in the pursuit of a routine, one that would keep me ‘on track’, without ever recognizing that in doing so, I was simply numbing the emotions I needed to feel and process. Little Ria knew she was sensitive. She learned to see it as a virtue. She loved to meet new people, and have exciting adventures, even if it meant that things did not go according to plan. It is the exact plans I now tediously create for myself that suck both the life and inspiration out of me. Art is not clean and perfect; it comes from fear, joy, and tears. It is the means of processing and translating emotions into a more tangible form rather than suppressing them.
If you are struggling to find inspiration, return to the manageable task of observing your thoughts. What is it that most often fills your mind, and more than that, your life? Are your days blending together? When is the last time you did something that scared you– told someone you loved them, sang at karaoke night, even went to a new coffee shop? If you can’t remember, then there is one possible reason you are not inspired. My advice is to let go of that control; use your real life and all the inspiration around you which you are choosing to ignore and turn it into something beautiful. The minute I get outside my comfort zone, my hands begin to shake, and the child who could never stop creating, once again, returns.
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” -Pablo Picasso