Inspiration is easy, it just requires being bored for a little while or reading a novel or realizing you’re going to die someday and be forgotten.
I tried to think of the things that inspire me. Not in the “What a wonderful sentiment!” way. But things that motivate me to actually get work done. Inspiration I get from staring into the abyss. That’s what heroes in stories have had to do since the beginning of time, and stories just explain us to ourselves.
For me, the creative cycle requires a dip into depressing waters. Those waters look a little like this…
- I am going to die never achieving the things I want
- I am mediocre and delusional about what I’m capable of doing
- My last (movie/story/script) was totally average and everyone understands why–except for me
- I should have achieved the things I want to achieve already. It’s a failure I haven’t
- Irrelevance is looming and there is no turning back once that happens
- My failures far outweigh any successes I’ve had
- I will work hard at what I love my entire life but it won’t be enough and it won’t be remembered
- I am on the wrong creative track but a blind spot prevents me from seeing how to fix it
- I’ll realize too late what I should have been doing all along
Dark thoughts. Instead of letting them destroy my creative spark, they motivate me to go prove every single one of them wrong. The abyss is helpful that way.
Today is the last day of September, which means this blog is 13 years old now. When I started, I was typing HTML into Notepad on a Gateway tower. Right now I’m sitting on the couch by my fireplace silently tapping on a iPad. I’ve done a lot with this site that I’m proud of, even if it seems silly now. I had an AvantGo mobile version for Palm V back in 2002. I was able to update the site from my Nokia phone back in 2003. I was sending tweet-like posts before Twitter existed. All of this is cool to look back on.
I’m not sure if what I’ve been doing on this site lately is something I’ll enjoy looking back on.
There’s nothing wrong with it necessarily, but I feel like it has too much of that vibe you get from social media sites. Best foot forward, while pretending the foot stuck in the mud doesn’t exist. Slyly self-promotional in that thought-leadership way that already feels dated and ridiculous. I enjoy writing helpful posts, like the one about selling your digital movie from WordPress, but I’m not sure a post like that defines why I enjoy writing. My most popular post of all time is one where I show how much money I made from a few YouTube videos (not much). I’m having one of those “What if your last blog post headline was written on your tombstone” moments.
I want to do something different. I’m going to go back to being a reporter on my own life. I don’t want to just show off when I’ve done something, but I want to show what I’m thinking about while I’m getting there. I’m not going to ask if there’s an audience for that or what makes it different from a million other “Random Musings” type blogs that were abandoned years ago. I just want to do it. That’s worked for me in the past and maybe I’ll figure out what it all means in the future.
I’ll end with something I wrote still in high school, probably when I was 16 or 17. I cringe a little, but I still understand that kid…