By Chase Duffy
When I made this blog, I was amazed at how much effort it took to write about things that I wasn’t passionate about. In its first months of existence, this blog was meant to be my online journalism portfolio. The pieces of writing varied from reviews and interviews to personal essays, but the feeling that I didn’t like this kind of deadline writing persisted. I eventually switched my major from Journalism to English, and mythoughtproject.org went completely dark at the same time. My second semester at Howard was even better than the first. I was finally studying material that excited me in the same amazing environment I had thrived in first semester. My friendships were amazing, and I was blessed to fall head over heels for Tendai Fara Musora, a woman who is even more beautiful and entrancing than her name. And yet throughout all of this life and love, this site remained in the back of my mind. Whenever I thought of it, though, I assured myself that I would take back up the writing as soon as inspiration struck. As time went by and I continued to wait for this inspiration to visit me, I became less and less confident in my own creativity and ability as a writer. Recently I either stopped lying to myself or had an epiphany about “inspiration” and “creativity”. I figured sharing these thoughts as my first post back would be a nice way to return to regularly posting on this site (and motivate myself in the future).
Inspiration: More Like a Pedestrian than an Uber
Finally tired of waiting for inspiration, I went out searching for it. And I found it. What I realized about inspiration is that it’s there, you just have to put in the effort to find it. Inspiration is a fun friend without a car. If you tell them to come over and wait for them to arrive, you’ll be waiting forever. But if you drive over and pick them up, y’all will have the time of your lives. Inspiration is the same way. Whether you’re a writer, painter, musician, producer, photographer or anything else, you often don’t find inspiration by just laying around. But if you get up and CREATE, it’s well within everyone’s grasp. And that’s the other thing about inspiration: it is not exclusive. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you create. Everyone has the originality and substance within themselves to come up with fresh concepts and pieces of art. Now I’m not saying that inspiration is abundant or easily reached. Quite the opposite actually. But if one really WORKS at something, they will find inspiration eventually. And if you don’t love the work, I advise doing what I did and shifting your focus.
Creativity: Another Product of Work
Like inspiration, creativity is another one of those elusive aspects of the process. The thing that sets them apart, at least for myself, is my faith in each as time goes by. The writing slump that I found myself in this last semester was quite long. At different points, as I mentioned, I hoped for inspiration to strike. And yet I never lost any confidence that it would. In that same time period, I saw my creativity go from a character trait I emphasized and identified heavily with to something I wouldn’t even mention to people when getting to know them. I did not see myself as a creative and would have rated my creativity as a one or two out of ten. But now that I’ve started writing and reading recreationally again, I see how wrong I was. Creativity is just like inspiration: you have to put in work to get it. Without effort, these two things hardly ever come to one who wishes to create. To expect creativity and inspiration without the work is like expecting a paycheck without it. They are the fruits of your labor that help creatives to labor better.