(Ok, This article is shorter than my usual articles, but I’m seriously surprised that I forgot to mention any of this in my article about creative blocks.)
It’s easy to look at far more successful writers/artists etc… and either feel jealous of them or to elevate them to some kind of unreachable level of perfection, but the fact is that everyone started out somewhere. Even the artists who inspire you were, themseleves, inspired by artists who they thought were unimaginably brilliant. To use a cliched old phrase everyone is “standing on the shoulders of giants”.
When I talk about inspiration here, I’m not really talking about trying to write or draw in the same style as the creative people who you admire. For starters, they will always be better at their own style than you will be. Likewise, you will be better at your own style than they ever could be. I’ve written before about finding your own narrative voice and your own art style, so I won’t really be going over this particular subject again here. However, I will be talking about how other artists/writers can inspire you in a more indirect way.
Anyway, one of the things which I find to be truly inspirational is reading articles/interviews by or about other artists and writers (not to mention that Youtube is also absolutely filled with interviews with writers, artists, musicians etc… too).
In fact, the thing which inspired this article was actually another article I read a while earlier where Andrew Hussie talks about the creative processes behind his webcomics.
What I found so inspirational was just how fast he is at making comics. I mean, I thought that I worked fairly quickly, but he is truly the master when it comes to this – “Problem Sleuth Adventures” is 1621 pages long and it took him just one year to make it! It took me about three days to read it – I haven’t even thought about attempting to read all of “Homestuck“, which is apparently even longer and more complex.
So, when I’m feeling uninspired about the amount of art and writing I produce, I tend to read things about Andrew Hussie (or any other writer/artist who has a reputation for producing huge amounts of stuff in surprisingly short times). It usually reminds me how cool and satisfying it feels to write and draw lots of stuff on a consistent basis.
Likewise, if I start thinking that my creative work is unimportant or meaningless, then I just look around online for anything related to Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore and I usually quickly remember how much of a truly magical experience creating things can be.
When I’m reading about the creative people who inspire me, it often makes me feel better about my own work. It helps me to feel like I’m part of the same tradition of creativity as they are. This helps me to think of myself as a creative person. And when I think of myself as a creative person, it tends to put me in a more creative kind of mood. And when I’m in a more creative kind of mood, then I tend to create more things. It’s kind of like a chain reaction, I guess.
You see, the trick to feeling inspired is to feel like a creative person . To think about yourself in the same way as you think about the people who inspire you. Once you’re in that kind of mindset, then you’ll want to create things. In short, you’ll start to geek out about your own work and this is always a good sign.
Just remember not to get jealous or bitter about the fact that they’re better at writing/drawing than you are. They’ve just had more practice. Not to mention that, regardless how good you are at something, there will always be someone better at it than you are. It’s a fact of life. If you make peace with this fact, then you’ll feel much more able to learn from the people who inspire you.
Anyway, if you’re feeling uninspired at the moment, then I hope that this is helpful.